Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Tips for Talking to Your Kids About Current Events

Image of U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Rocio Romo, public affairs specialist at Space Launch Delta 30, spends quality time with her son at Cocheo Park on Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. We celebrate Month of the Military Child in April to celebrate military children whose parents serve the United States. (Photo: U.S. Space Force Airman 1st Class Kadielle Shaw). Click to open a larger version of the image. U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Rocio Romo, public affairs specialist at Space Launch Delta 30, spends quality time with her son at Cocheo Park on Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. We celebrate Month of the Military Child in April to celebrate military children whose parents serve the United States. (Photo: U.S. Space Force Airman 1st Class Kadielle Shaw)

Recommended Content:

Month of the Military Child - Celebrating Military Kids | Children's Health | Psychological Fitness

Military families have a unique connection to war, regardless of when or where it occurs.

For military children – who know that their parents regularly train, prepare, and deploy for military missions as part of their job – current events can cause stress and anxiety. Streams of media images and reports about troubling news events can be outright scary.

Talking to kids openly and honestly about the events they see and hear about can help validate their feelings and make them feel reassured that they are safe and loved, said Air Force Col. (Dr.) Eric Flake, a developmental behavioral pediatrician at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Washington.

During these conversations, he recommends parents:

  • Keep it simple and honest
  • Validate their kids' feelings
  • Express feelings about how the family might be impacted by what's going on
  • Highlight the values and strengths that people demonstrate during hard times

Flake highlighted the importance of military parents explaining to their children that the reason for their military service is to protect children and make them feel safe.

"Everyone, but especially children, like to feel safe and secure," he said.

"Reassurance is key."

An important part of that is reassuring children that feelings of anxiety are normal, the behavioral specialist said. Parents can help externalize or label feelings and remind children that adults get anxious, too. Children need to understand that it's OK to feel scared or anxious.

"It's a healthy response, and we all feel it," said Flake. "Having an emotional response and being sensitive to the suffering of others is healthy and should be supported, not turned off."

It also helps to provide children with the coping skills needed to "ride through" times when anxiety is particularly difficult to manage, he added.

"Do healthy things to help bring down the anxiety levels, like eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep," he added.

He recommends the following resources to ease kids' anxiety:

  • Eat a meal together without distractions
  • Go on walks together and talk about things that interest the child
  • Talk about what is going at the level that the child understands
  • Develop a personal growth mindset and teach children about this concept

Military children face unique anxieties, even in the best of times, for example that their parents will be leaving for a deployment, or that their family will be moving, said Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Kara Garcia, a staff pediatrician at the 96th Medical Group in Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

"Leaving friends, schools, familiar parks, churches, and changing routines can be very disorienting for children," she said.

"It's important as a parent to talk about the certainties and constants: that they are loved, that the adults around them are happy and healthy, that things will turn out OK in the end."

But if a parent feels that their child is excessively anxious, Flake recommends they make an appointment with their primary physician.

"There is also 24/7 help anywhere in the world to address anxiety concerns via Military OneSource, including virtual counseling," he said.

For more information, talk to your health care provider, your local Military & Family Life Counseling Program, or school counselor.

You also may be interested in...

Learning How to 'Stop the Bleed'

Article
5/27/2022
Training students how to pack an injury

In San Antonio, there is an ongoing effort to train as many people as possible on how to control bleeding to increase the chances for victim survival.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Emergency Preparedness and Response | Civil Support

Mental Health Awareness Month highlights resources available for those in need

Article Around MHS
5/27/2022
Military personnel with counselor

As May concludes Mental Health Awareness Month, it serves as a reminder that taking care of your Mental Health year-round is vital to maintaining personal health, and mission readiness. 

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness

TRICARE Answers Your Questions About Baby Formula

Article
5/23/2022
Baby smiling

The shortage of baby formula is having an impact on millions of families including military families. Here are a few questions and answers about the shortage to help.

Recommended Content:

About TRICARE | Children's Health

Baby Smiling

Photo
5/23/2022
Baby Smiling

The shortage of baby formula is having an impact on millions of families, including military families. Learn what TRICARE does and doesn't cover.

Recommended Content:

About TRICARE | Children's Health

Child Vision Awareness Month

Infographic
5/19/2022
Child Vision Awareness Month

June is #ChildrensVisionAwarenessMonth! If you’ve noticed your child is squinting at the SmartBoard in classes or holding their books inches from their face at home, it might be time to take them to an optometrist. Check out @TRICARE for what services might be covered: https://t.co/5M2eOFraNc

Recommended Content:

June | Children's Health

Managing Burnout

Video
5/19/2022
Managing Burnout

Burnout is really a state of extreme exhaustion caused by chronic overwhelming stress. Lt. Col. Catherine Callendar, Air Force Deputy Director of Psychological Health, gives some advice on coping with burnout. Learn more at health.mil/mentalhealth.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Toolkit | Psychological Fitness

Together for Mental Health: May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Article
5/13/2022
Every May is Mental Health Month. If you know someone in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line: 800-273-8255. (Photo: MHS Communications)

Health is wealth, especially when dealing with mental well-being. Growing up, kids are taught if they are hurt physically in any area, to seek help. The same should go for anyone’s mental health.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Toolkit | Psychological Fitness

Fort Riley Summit Tackles Mental Healthcare Shortage

Article Around MHS
5/6/2022
Soldier speaks at podium

Dozen of civilian partners within the local TRICARE network recently collaborated with Fort Riley leadership for an all-day, first-time ever Mental Health Summit April 28. 

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness

MHS Minute | April 2022

Video
5/3/2022
MHS Minute | April 2022

The MHS Minute highlights some of the outstanding work taking place across the Military Health System, including major milestones, events, notable activities, and much more. Help us get the word out about all of the unique, meaningful, and fascinating work taking place across the MHS by watching and sharing the video, which you can download from DVIDs: https://go.usa.gov/xuy7M. This month’s topic is mental health awareness. Check out the entire playlist: https://go.usa.gov/xtAAq

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Toolkit | Psychological Fitness

Helping Your Child to Cope with Grief and Losses Related to COVID-19

Article
4/28/2022
Shirley Lanham Elementary School students perform Taiko drumming during a Month of the Military Child celebration aboard the Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, April 6, 2022. (Photo: Petty Officer 2nd Class Ange-Olivier Clement, Naval Air Facility Atsugi)

Many military children have lost loved ones to COVID-19. How parents can help with the grief.

Recommended Content:

Month of the Military Child - Celebrating Military Kids | Children's Health | Psychological Fitness | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

How to Help Military Children Reconnect After Two Years of the Pandemic

Article
4/25/2022
Airman 1st Class Rocio Romo, Space Launch Delta 30 public affairs specialist, and her son pose for a photo at Cocheo Park on Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, March 25, 2022. During the month of April, we celebrate Month of the Military Child to highlight the sacrifices military children make on the home front while their parents serve the United States. (Photo: Airman Kadielle Shaw, Space Launch Delta 30 Public Affairs)

How parents can help children stressed by more than two years of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Month of the Military Child - Celebrating Military Kids | Children's Health | Psychological Fitness | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

DoD recognizes resilient military children

Article Around MHS
4/22/2022
Military personnel with their kids

Military children are no strangers to challenges and grow to be resilient from the difficulties they experience. April is designated by the Department of Defense as Month of the Military Child to honor and recognize the sacrifices military children face.

Recommended Content:

Month of the Military Child - Celebrating Military Kids

Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Resources Provide Help: You Are Not Alone

Article
4/22/2022
Military personnel posing for a picture

Life is full of ups and downs. But sometimes life events—financial strain, relationships, isolation, emotional or sexual abuse, stress, and misuse or abuse of alcohol or drugs—can lead to depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide for some. It’s important to remember that you are not alone.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Toolkit | Suicide Prevention | Suicide Prevention | Psychological Fitness

Celebrating Military Children

Article Around MHS
4/19/2022
April is Month of the Military Child

April is Month of the Military Child

Recommended Content:

Month of the Military Child - Celebrating Military Kids | Children's Health

Kids' Teeth Grinding Usually Stops Around Age 9 or 10 - But Not Always

Article
4/15/2022
A child receives dental treatment during the “Give Kids a Smile” day event March 9, 2019, held by the 375th Dental Squadron clinic on Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Children registered for the event were given the chance to receive cleanings, fillings, and more at no cost to their parents. (Photo: Airman 1st Class Isaiah Gonzalez, 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs)

Do you ever see or hear your child grinding his or her teeth or clenching his or her jaws during the day or at night while sleeping? That’s a potentially serious health problem. Teeth grinding in kids may require a night guard.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | TRICARE Dental Care
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 10

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.