The world is full of unpleasantness, and as parents we do our best to shelter our children from the horrors of the world. But what do we do when the news becomes so widespread our children start asking questions? Thankfully, the word is quickly spreading about the atrocities happening to the Palestinians. But should we tell our children what’s going on? And if we do, how on earth do we talk to children about Palestine?
Why should we talk to children about Palestine?
As home educators, we spend most of our days answering questions, researching and seeking teachable moments for our children. We have a number of different goals when educating our children; one is to prepare them for the world (as horrible as it might be), another is to raise them to be compassionate, moral-driven adults.
By keeping our children informed of certain worldly situations, it can develop their understanding of the world, enhance their critical thinking skills and nurture their feelings of empathy for their fellow human beings.
How to talk to children about Palestine?
When approaching the difficult topic of unpleasant news stories with your children, follow these tips to help the conversation go smoothly:
1. Find out what they already know
Children are incredibly intuitive and their ears and minds absorb a lot of what’s around them. You may find that by hearing conversations and seeing some of the news on TV, they may have already picked up on what’s happening, albeit a fragmented idea. Start the conversation by asking them what they already know about the situation.
2. Create a safe and calm environment
Don’t try to have this conversation when you may have to rush off somewhere straight after or if your children are busy and playing. Find a moment when things are calm such as during dinner, after reading or whilst sat in the garden. Give them the tranquility and surrounding peace to absorb and process what you’re telling them.
3. Provide something for their hands
Depending on your child’s age, they may want to keep their hands busy whilst you speak to them. Just because they are playing with Lego or colouring in a picture does not mean they aren’t listening to you. Often, keeping their fingers busy actually helps children of different ages process what they are hearing. It is especially helpful if the conversation might make them feel sad or uncomfortable. Keeping their hands busy will help them process things properly.
4. Focus on positives
As adults, we may find it hard to find positives in such a bleak situation, but help your children see that all is not lost. There ARE things they can do. Come up with some ideas together of how they can help. Whether it’s raising money for Palestine, an art or research project to raise awareness or even the power of du’a (prayer). Help your children understand they are not powerless and even a small act from them can make a difference.
5. Cuddles and reassurance
Palestine and the horrors occurring there can be upsetting even for the biggest grown-up. For children who already hold such empathy in their hearts, hearing the reality of what Palestinian children are experiencing can be unsettling. Provide plenty of cuddles and reassurance by reminding them Who is the Most Powerful. Use this as an opportunity to remind them of God and our ultimate purpose on this earth.
Project: All About Palestine
If your children are inspired and ready to learn more about Palestine, here are some beautiful books to add to your collection:
BABA, WHAT DOES MY NAME MEAN? A Journey to Palestine
Read this beautiful story about a young Palestinian refugee who learns all about her homeland when she tries to find out what her name means.
Palestine on a Plate: Memories From My Mother’s Kitchen
This book not only has some wonderful recipes, but it is filled with beautiful images and photographs from Palestine. You can show your children the beauty of Palestine at peace and try some of the Palestinian recipes the next time you and your children are in the kitchen together.
Olive Harvest in Palestine: A Story of Childhood Memories
Palestine is also known for it’s incredible olives. This educational book is filled with the wonders of Palestine as well as an educational journey from how olives are grown to how they end up as oil in a bottle for us to use.
A Little Piece of Ground
This book is for older readers (ages 9-12) and tells the story of a little boy who just wants to be a child, but Israeli forces and restrictions make it difficult and dangerous.
Support Palestinian products
Donations for Palestine
If you and your children want to raise money for the Palestinian cause and aid, check out the following charity campaigns.
- Provide food directly to Palestinians
- Provide hospital & medical support
- Working directly within Palestine
- Providing medical care, supplies, food, medicines, and other aid
- Working within Palestine
- Providing meals to homes
- Provides jobs to women for financial stability. Soon to run an all-women restaurant
- Providing meals to refugee camps
- Runs a “Small Business Development Program” to help Palestinians achieve economic independence & implement sustainable upgrades
Keep spreading the word
We’ve seen this process a few times: Palestinians are attacked, outrage pours onto social media, the dust settles, the world moves on. Don’t let that happen. Keep spreading the word, keep sharing the wonders of the Palestinian land, keep Palestine in your hearts and prayers.
P.S. Sometimes mothers need a little time out and comfort, as well. Check out this post for tips on how to press ‘pause’ when you’re feeling the strain: