How to Support Ukraine

I was recently contacted by Kaitlin Kulpa Welsh a Ukrainian American child life specialist who wanted to do everything she could to support her community. She is collaborating with disaster relief with plans for potential deployment and support of arriving refugees. She has also connected with Sts. Peter & Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church from Ludlow, MA. They created an Amazon Wishlist and have already shipped 300 large moving boxes to medical facilities and orphanages in Ukraine and Poland.

If you would like to support their efforts, click here to make a purchase from their Amazon Wishlist 

How to talk to kids about the war

Provide age-appropriate, honest information, and help to clarify misconceptions. It’s okay to say that you don’t know. Model coping skills for your own feelings and compassion for others. Limit exposure to social media and news outlets, replaying events is not helpful. Speak up for Ukrainians by sharing vetted information and sharing important facts about their country and its contributions to the world. Provide clarification that people from either country aren’t “bad” or “enemies,” this is about one leader who we can refer to as a bully as children can relate to that concept.

Children who have immigrated from or have strong ties to either country may have guilt about playing, going to school, and participating in activities. Provide reassurance that it’s okay and important to keep their normal routines.

A little more about Kaitlin Kulpa Welsh, Child Life Specialist

As a little girl, my Ukrainian grandmother would sing beautiful Ukrainian lullabies to me and tell me stories in Ukrainian at bedtime. We would run around in her garden and sing Ukrainian nursery rhymes as we fed the birds. Sometimes while rocking babies at work I’ll soothe them by singing the same songs to them. They don’t know what I’m saying to them but they smile anyway. By sharing parts of my heritage, I’m able to honor my family and share how special Ukraine and its people are. The world has watched as the Ukrainian people have suffered at the hands of the Russian government during this horrific invasion and have come together to support them.

It’s important to understand that the trauma of this war runs deep for many families within our community. There is a strong history of conflict in this region of the world and the war is reopening a lot of wounds. My great grandfather was arrested and executed during World War 2 for refusing to concede the power of the capital city of Kiev. My grandmother, her younger sister, and her mother were transported to a concentration camp in Germany and were allowed to live if they were willing to work as translators. I grew up hearing stories from my grandmother and have made it a priority to share the beautiful Ukrainian culture, share information about the Holocaust, and aid refugees from all countries.

The Ukrainian people have a strong fighting spirit and deep pride in their country.

Pictured is a quilt my grandmother made to display her love for her country.

How to Talk to Kids About Trauma, Loss, and Illness

Should you talk to a child, teen, or even a young adult about chronic illness? Are you allowed to use the words illness, sick, dying, and death when talking to kids? How young is too young to tell the absolute truth about these life difficult topics?
 
These are hard conversations, but they are important to have. I was honored to be part of The Chronic Connection Podcast and share strategies for parents and caregivers. Take a listen below.

“Where are you Lydie?” Spotlight and Giveaway

Grief and loss is a journey that many families face, but how do we support young children with a sibling loss? As a child life specialist, I’m always incorporating books, play, and creative arts to help kids process their loss and find outlets for expression. The loss of a sibling through miscarriage, stillbirth, or even as a child can be difficult to understand.

I’m delighted to share a beautiful story written by a bereaved mother, Emma Poore in the honor of her daughter, Lydie.

Images copyright Emma Poore
Guest Blogger, Emma Poore

“Where are you Lydie?” is a special picture book, sensitively written and illustrated for children between 3 and 7 years old. It is a facilitative story and guide for young children and their parents to explore death and bereavement together and to start those difficult conversations or explore the questions that may come up after the death of a baby in a safe and inspiring space. Grandparents, Teachers, Caring Support Professionals, and friends can also share the story as a platform for exploration too.

 SANDS – stillbirth and neonatal death charity in the UK has endorsed this “Where are you Lydie?”

Images copyright Emma Poore
Where to Purchase

You can purchase “Where are you Lydie?” directly from Emma’s website.

Testimonials

“Warm and beautifully illustrated picture book for children about sibling loss and bereavement to support families through the grief of baby loss.” Child Bereavement UK

“A beautifully illustrated storybook for children who have been affected by the loss of a sibling. It’s an honest, sensitive and comforting story about two brothers trying to decide what to do, on what would have been their sister Lydie’s first birthday. A beautiful, engaging and sensitive book, to help make something so hard to talk to children about a little easier – and which would bring comfort to adults reading it too.” The Miscarriage Association

Images copyright Emma Poore
Author Bio

Emma Poore is a children’s author and illustrator with a diverse background in Theatre and Events. Honoring her daughter Lydie and her family’s bereavement journey through the eyes of her young sons, George and Henry, “Where are you Lydie?” is an illustrated picture book for young bereaved siblings affected by the death of a baby brother or sister. Endorsed by Sands – stillbirth and neonatal death charity and recommended by a growing number of bereavement charities and healthcare professionals, Emma’s book continues to be well received by many bereaved families worldwide.

Emma has written and talked about her family’s experience of child grief and sibling loss for The Telegraph, The Independent and various other publications and podcasts. To read her blog, more reviews, and find out more visit www.emmapoore.co.uk.  Be sure to follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Images copyright Emma Poore

We will be giving away a copy of “Where are you Lydie?” to one lucky winner.

Choose one or more ways to enter:

  1. Sign up for email notifications at ChildLifeMommy.com and leave a comment below.
  2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy and tag a friend.
  3. Facebook: Follow @EmmaPooreAuthor
  4. Instagram: Follow @ChildLifeMommy and @EmmaPooreAuthor and tag two friends in the post.
  5. Twitter: Follow, Like, and RT the post to @ChildLifeMommy and @EmmaPoore4

Good luck, the winner will be chosen by 1/30/21.

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“I wish that mommy never dies.” How we helped our preschooler cope with grief