Talking with Children About War and Other Humanitarian Crises
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2023
3:30 - 5:00 p.m. PT
[Find your local time zone here]
On Monday, November 20, 2023, we’re offering a special session led by Dr. David Schonfeld, director of the National Center for School Crisis & Bereavement, to enhance our skills in supporting children. We offer this session during a season in which many families are gathering and discussions of charged issues can be challenging.
Current and ongoing wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, coupled with a wide range of humanitarian and other major crises in the U.S. and abroad, pose numerous challenges to children and adults alike. Educators and caregivers may not feel prepared to explain such complex, evolving crises, especially when they are associated with strong emotions and differing opinions.
This session will provide information on how children understand – and misunderstand – crises and how best to explain it to them in order to promote their understanding and adjustment. Group discussions (such as within classrooms) pose unique challenges; advice on how to address anger and blame in group settings will be discussed.
Dr. Schonfeld will offer 45 minutes of training followed by a 45 minute interactive workshop for participants to debrief, process, peer resource, and discuss how to integrate these practices.
Free resources, including guidance documents for parents/caregivers and websites with related information on supporting children in the aftermath of crisis and loss, will be shared. Ample time will be provided for questions and discussion.
1.5 continuing education credits are available at no cost through full participation in this training.
By participating in the session, participants will be able to:
- Identify 1-3 approaches for how to talk with children about wars and other humanitarian crises.
- Understand some of the causes of ineffective communication, whether due to the source (e.g., media) or recipient (i.e., the child) of the information.
- Identify 1-3 strategies to address anger and blame during group discussions with children in the aftermath of a humanitarian crisis.
This event is open to all mental health and school mental health professionals, including counselors, psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and mental health program administrators.
- PBS NEWS HOUR, How to talk to kids about the Israel-Hamas war, PBS
- Talking to Children and Teens About the War in Ukraine, National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement
- How to Talk With Your Child About the Israel-Gaza War - HealthyChildren.org
- A parent’s guide to talking with kids about the Ukraine war, Carter County Times
- Talking to Children about War, The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- How to Talk With Kids About the War in Gaza and Israel, Greater Good Science Center Magazine
- How to Talk to Young Children About War, Zero to Three
- How to Talk with Kids About Violence, Crime, and War, Common Sense Media
Meet Our Faculty
David J Schonfeld, MD, FAAP established and directs the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement (www.schoolcrisiscenter.org), located at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He is Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine. Prior faculty positions have been in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine; Head of the Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; and Pediatrician-in-Chief at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and Chair of Pediatrics at Drexel University School of Medicine.
For over 30 years, he has provided consultation and training to schools on supporting students and staff at times of crisis and loss in the aftermath of numerous school crisis events and disasters within the United States and abroad, including the COVID-19 pandemic (2020); terrorist attacks of the World Trade Center (2001); school and community shootings and stabbings in Santa Clarita, CA (2019); Parkland, FL (2018); Newtown, CT (2012); Benton, KY (2018); Las Vegas, NV (2017); Thousand Oaks, CA (2018); Floresville, TX (Sutherland Springs church) (2017); Marysville, WA (2014); Osaka, Japan (2001); Corning, CA (2017); Aurora, CO (2012); Platte Canyon, CO (2006); Chardon, OH (2012); and Townville, South Carolina (2016); flooding from hurricanes Maria in San Juan (2017), Sandy in NY and NJ (2012), Katrina in New Orleans (2005), and Ike in Galveston, Texas (2008); tornadoes in Joplin, MO (2011) and AL (2011); wildfires in Maui, HI (2023); Butte County, CA (2018); Sonoma County, CA (2017) and in the Great Smoky Mountains in Sevierville, TN (2016); and the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan, China (2008).
Dr. Schonfeld frequently speaks on the topics of crisis and loss and has authored more than 150 scholarly articles, book chapters, and books (including the Grieving Student: A Guide for Schools (2nd edition)). He has conducted school-based research (funded by NICHD, NIMH, NIDA, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, William T Grant Foundation, and other foundations) involving children’s understanding of and adjustment to serious illness and death and school-based interventions to promote adjustment and risk prevention. Dr. Schonfeld is Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters and a member of the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Children and Disasters. He served as a Commissioner for both the National Commission on Children and Disasters and the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission in CT and was a member of the National Biodefense Science Board. Dr. Schonfeld served as President of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics from 2006-7.