Help! Tell Me What to Say to the Children


One of the most challenging aspects of parenting is knowing what to say to children during difficult situations. It is crucial to find the right words to help them understand complex issues and guide them through life with kindness, compassion, and wisdom. This article aims to provide parents and caregivers with guidance on how to communicate effectively with children in various circumstances.

Understanding Your Child’s Perspective

First and foremost, it’s essential to take a step back and consider your child’s perspective when discussing sensitive topics. Remember that their understanding of certain situations may differ from yours, and it’s essential to approach things at an age-appropriate level.

1. Illness or death in the family

When a family member falls ill or passes away, it can be overwhelming for both adults and children. Begin by explaining the situation gently while using age-appropriate language. Encourage your child to ask questions and express their feelings. Reassure them that it’s normal to feel sad or confused, and provide comfort through physical touch such as hugs.

2. Divorce or separation

Explaining divorce or separation to children requires sensitivity, as it can be a challenging concept for them to grasp. Be honest about the situation without placing blame on either party. Focus on reassurance by emphasizing that the change is not because of their actions or behavior and that both parents will continue to love them unconditionally.

3. Bullying

If your child is experiencing bullying, listen intently and validate their feelings. Encourage open communication by asking how they feel about the situation and discussing potential solutions together. Provide support by offering resources for coping with bullying and involve school officials if necessary.

4. World events or crises

Children are exposed to information about world events through various sources, including television, social media, and friends. It’s crucial to initiate a conversation with your child about these events in an age-appropriate manner. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings, answer their questions honestly, and reassure them about their safety.

5. Personal identity

As children grow, they may experience confusion or concern about aspects of their personal identity, such as gender, race, and culture. Engage in open conversations that acknowledge their curiosity and support their exploration of identity. Provide resources to help them understand and appreciate their background and promote a sense of pride in who they are.

Tips for Effective Communication

1. Choose the right time: Select a quiet moment when your child is relaxed and receptive for discussions on sensitive topics.

2. Be attentive: Reflect on your child’s body language and emotions during conversations, adjusting your approach accordingly.

3. Encourage dialogue: Elicit questions from your child by asking how they feel about a particular topic or if they need any clarification on specific points.

4. Use relatable language: Communicate complexities in language that is age-appropriate and easy for your child to understand.

5. Offer reassurance: Validate your child’s fears or concerns while providing comfort through words or physical touch.


Effective communication with children is essential in navigating challenging situations successfully. Always be mindful of your child’s perspective and provide reassurance, encouragement, and understanding as you guide them through difficult emotions or life experiences. Ultimately, being present, empathetic, and open-hearted will build trust between you and your child, fostering a loving connection that will last a lifetime.

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