• 23/07/2024 17:43

Advice from a child psychologist: So that war does not deprive children of laughter


Feb 19, 2024

Svetlana Royz shared with Ukrinform practices and tips, which the harsh reality of the present—air raids, threats of missile attacks, regular stay in shelters and the general stress from the war of the entire society. child psychology Svetlana Roiz collected practices, games and tips that will help them cope with the situation. Of course, with the help of adults, whose closeness and guardianship is now even more important for children.  

« something that will help you take root in life, give you strength, help you cope with fatigue and sometimes despondency. Perhaps such anchors – our intimacy with the child and our hope. What is so characteristic of people – she said in a comment to our agency.

So, the most important thing that all Ukrainians, big and small, need now, especially during and in the first minutes of an enemy attack:

  • Feeling of closeness. Our presence and contact. And all our words and feelings are about one thing, in essence -; I’m with you, we are together, our air defense incredibly protects us.
  • Rather, restoration of the “routine” – usual daily schedule, attention to simple needs is emphasized.
  • Normalization of states: lethargy, agitation, irritability, talkativeness or, conversely, silence, depression – then everything is normal after this. We talk to the children and focus on what was really scary, but we got through it together.
  • Body. Everything we can do now for the body of a loved one, a child – restore the feeling of one’s own boundaries (with hugs, touches, wrapping in a blanket), games need to stretch the muscles, give water and warm food, games stimulate mobility. It is useful to  provide the opportunity to “sound” – in singing, for example.
  • Morning bodily games are important. They are important at any time – both children and adults, – says the psychologist, – but in the morning right now they are simply necessary. For from our “corporality” now it will depend on how we cope with the emotional stress and trauma caused by the enemy attack.

“Children rely on physicality, so hugs – if they are comfortable for the child – give a feeling of security, – says the psychologist. Therefore, if you see that your child is worried, tense or nervous due to a long stay in the shelter, do a few simple things with him suggested by Svetlana Roiz in the UNICEF project “Play and not be afraid”. 

  • Establishing contact with the child – game “Alien”. Imagine yourself as aliens who don’t know how to say hello on Earth. Therefore, they meet and greet by touching elbows, knees, shoulders, little fingers, and only at the end – by the hand.
  • It will help to restore the feeling of grounding and a sense of body boundaries, as well as to calm down game “Funny Animals”. Invite your child to tap his chest like a monkey, jump like a bunny, shake off drops of water like a dog. It is convenient to play such a game to the song “Me and You,” which singer Svetlana Tarabarova and psychologist Svetlana Royz created especially for UNICEF.
  • For games you can use what is exactly at home or even in a shelterFor example, with the help of a colored sock put on your hand, you can represent someone. You can also ask children how they feel, ask riddles, count, learn songs, dance.
  • Use your imagination to control emotions and relax.

Ask your child to imagine that he has a kitten or chick on his hand. Offer your other hand to stroke this imaginary animal, very small and fragile, – therefore touches should be gentle. When you see that your child’s movements have become more relaxed, you can offer to stroke yourself on the head and shoulders the same way he stroked an animal.

  • Use breathing exercises to overcome tension.

Ask the children to imagine that some of them are the wind, and some are – por&inca. The wind blows and swirls, and then the children change roles. Depending on the strength of the blowing, the force of the “whirling” should change. This will help restore a sense of significance and control, actively exhale and release tension.

It is important to remember that now children and adults are unlikely to be able to play games or do any practices with their eyes closed. for now we can try to control all processes.

Advice from a child psychologist: So that the war does not deprive children of laughter

Svetlana Roiz, child psychology a few simple and gop for relieving stress in children

  • «Good morning» – we say in different ways: “Good morning, nose!” Good morning, cheeks! Good morning, ears! Good morning, neck! Good morning, hangers!” – touching different parts of the body (possibly kissing). You need to do this all over the body.
  • Modeling. This – knead the body like dough or plasticine.
  • Kolobok.First, “fall asleep” flour – walk with light movements throughout the body, then “pour” water. We make the dough with ironing movements, and then make a bun – the child sits with his arms wrapped around himself. And we hug her back. We open our hands – “baked” bun.
  • Kisses. “Square”, “triangular”, “oval” – kiss the forehead or cheek with many kisses so that their sequence forms a shape.
  • Drawing.Draw different letters or simple shapes with your finger on the stomach or back, and the child must guess what it is.
  • House. You – house, you have a floor (legs), walls (we touch your whole body), a roof (head). You are in the house (you can put your hand on your heart).
  • Lulechka. You can sit behind the child, hugging him by the back, and rock him.
  • Huggers. Hug me tighter than me.
  • Kangaroo. The child sits with his tummy to our belly and hugs us tightly.
  • Rug. Knock yourself, your whole body, like a rug.
  • Snowman. “Lepimo” with baby snowman. We ask you to tense all your muscles, as if he were frozen. And then “we warm ourselves with a ladybug” – and now the sun has turned out and the snowman is melting. And the child relaxes.
  • Cleaning. A ladybug or water passes (with our touches) along the body from top to bottom – and washes away, illuminates everything that strains, frightens, interferes.
  • You can do a massage like: “Rails, rails, sleepers, sleepers…”

«If the child is stressed, we touch only the parts of the body covered by clothes. Our touches – not superficial, do not tickle, but pass a little. A child may ask to repeat a certain game many times. This means this game is the most therapeutic for her, – says Svetlana Roiz.

Children who grow up during the war remain children. And we – adults – must do everything possible to ensure that the war does not deprive them of the opportunity to laugh and play. Show them your love and support every moment – let smiles shine on the faces of Ukrainian children!

Lyubov Baziv. Kiev </

Photos taken from Svetlana Roiz’s FB


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