Talking to Kids About the Refugee Crisis
How do we explain something so filled with trauma to our kids? Save the Children's online video campaign—illustrating what life is like for a child refugee—offers a place to start.
It's hard to talk about the tough stuff with your partner, family, and colleagues—let alone your kids. We don't want to keep our kids in the dark about what's going on in the world, but at the same time, we don't want to expose them to certain subjects that they're far too young to understand. Plus, the Internet makes it easier than ever for anyone, even our kids, to find out anything they want on their own. Take the current refugee crises as people in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq flee conflict, war, and persecution—it's affecting children and adults alike, and it's on the news cycle often. So how do we explain something so filled with trauma to our kids?
Save The Children decided to create an online video campaign tackling this very dilemma. "Most Shocking Second a Day," the first in a series of videos made by the campaign, illustrates what life is like for a refugee child. In the fictional clip, a young girl in the UK named Lily is shown living a normal, happy childhood, but soon, she's on the move when her home becomes a war zone. The clip ends with Lily in what appears to be a refugee camp. The second video of the series, "Still The Most Shocking Second A Day," follows Lily's life two years later as she fights for her life and livelihood. It's hard to watch at moments, but it proves to be something a child could view and absorb at his or her own pace.
We want our kids to have a passion for life and a curiosity to learn, even if that means there are some uncomforable moments. The Internet, for all its faults, can also offer a teachable moment for kids in times like this. If you'd like to teach your child more about what being a refugee means to other kids around the world, show her these videos, then host an open diaglogue; let your child ask any questions on his or her mind about the subject, then break it down as best as you can.
It's tough right now, but hurdling through the big topics when your kids are young starts a healthy stream of communication for the rest of their lives, and that's a great thing for everyone.
Brooke Bunce is an editorial assistant for Parents magazine.