Communicating with Children; Helping Children in Distress

In times of war, disaster and emergency, children become lost or abandoned, experience deprivation and ill-treatment, and witness violence. Beyond protection, food, healthcare, and a home, children need emotional and psychological support.

This manual does not deal with children’s material necesities, but with their emotional needs. It aims to help those working with children in conflict and emergencies to:

  • develop their helping skills – in particular, skills in listening and communicating;
  • be confident in their ability to gain children’s trust and help them cope with the painful emotions and difficult behaviour they may show when under stress;
  • identify children who need extra help.

This manual was written for those who are developing services or training and supervising others to help children in situations of social crisis or conflict. Such children might be:

  • in refugee camps or transitional accommodation;
  • with their own family or with foster parents;
  • in a children’s home or at school;
  • street children and child workers;
  • in hospital.