CDSBEO releases guide for supporting children

by Christopher Smith - EAP
CDSBEO releases guide for supporting children
The CDSBEO is advising parents on how to guide their children through distressing world events. (Photo : file)

In the face of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) has released a list of guidelines for talking with children through distressing world events.

The CDSBEO has released a list of tips and guidelines for speaking with children about distressing world events. Children look to adults for direction on how to react to things, so knowing what to do and say is important for keeping them calm.

“As the events continue to unfold in Israel and Gaza, we will remember to hold in our hearts and prayers, those impacted by the attacks over the weekend and by the ongoing violence in the region,” the CDSBEO said on its website. “Your children may hear information or see unsettling images on the news and/or through social media channels. Any high-profile act of mass violence can confuse and frighten children and youth, and they will look to adults for information and guidance. Therefore, we are providing resources should you wish to speak to the children and youth you care about and explain the current events taking place.”


When speaking with children and youth about distressing world events, the CDSBEO recommends that adults remain calm, as their reaction will set the tone for them, and reassure them that they’re safe and protected. Let them know that it’s okay to talk about how they feel, and that adults will make time to do so. However, be sure to keep the explanations age-appropriate.

Outside of speaking with them, the CDSBEO recommends that adults keep an eye out for changes in their childrens’ behaviour, appetite, sleep patterns, and emotional state. These changes can point to underlying issues and a need for more support. Maintaining routines and predictability is key to supporting a positive attitude.

Parents should limit exposure to graphic or disturbing images and messaging, perhaps by establishing family time and other activities to provide a positive distraction. During this, adults should remember to examine and reflect on their own feelings as well; focusing too much on other people can compromise your own mental health.

Finally, remember that help is there if you need it. There is no need to go through this alone.

Resist Bigotry

“Additionally, we must remain vigilant in standing together against acts and messages of hate towards the affected communities at a time when they need our compassion most,” the CDSBEO said. “We must also take the time to recognize that these attacks coincide with increasing antisemitism and Islamophobia throughout the world. We must be intentional about maintaining open minds and open hearts to see all members of our community through eyes of acceptance.”

The CDSBEO included a list of resources and support hotlines if the situation becomes too much for individuals to handle. Kids Help Phone is available online, by phone at 1-800-6686868, or by texting CONNECT to 686868. 1 Call 1 Click and can help connect families to community support services. Finally, School Mental Health Ontario (SMHO) has released two document on Ways to Help Students in Response to World Events and Supportive Conversations with Students During Challenging World Events which expands and adds to the list above.

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