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What do you tell the kids?

Copenhagen, Denmark
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6 posts
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What do you tell the kids?

Hi all.

Newt week we (my boyfriend, my son age 7 and I), intend to travel to Israel. We are keeping a close eye on the situation, but so far, we are still wanting to go. If only us adults, I wouldn't be as worried. But it can be very difficult for at kid age 7, with a lively fantasy, living in the very peaceful Scandinavia to deal with sirens due to rocket threats.

So I am wondering what to tell him in case of sirens? I am all for the truth...but I am not sure what purpose it would serve in this case. I think his imagination would run wild, and he would be scared on the trip, since he is still not able to have a more rational approach to things. I know taht this is every day life for kids in Israel. But it shouldn't have to be.

I guess, this would be an argument for not going, I am just so sorry if we would miss the opportunity to show him this great country this summer. He is SO looking forward to it.

He knows the sirens from back home. One sits on his school, and every month they do 'drill', where the siren goes of. (the sirens are used in case of fire in the city, to tell people to go inside). So I am considering just telling him, that it is the same thing. He does not speak english.

Any thoughts or personal experience on how to handle the situation?

Best regards

israel
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv, Galilee, Israel
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1. Re: What do you tell the kids?

There is reason to believe that hostilities will end this week so you might miss the opportunity to show him life in other places. Telling him it is a drill like the one he is used to is not wise as he will see people running for shelter. If you start your trip in the north by the time you get to Tel Aviv/Jerusalem it will most probably be over. How long is your trip?

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Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv District, Israel
Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: What do you tell the kids?

I told my children what was happening (age 7&9). I kept things factual and simplistic and without any emotion. I told them that Hamas was shooting rockets into Israel and I explained about the Iron Dome. I told them that the IDF was shooting back into Gaza. My 9 year old asked why and we talked a bit about the history. We arrived in Tel Aviv on Wednesday and there have only been about 2 sirens a day. We are mostly near the beach so we simply go inside for 10 minutes and then continue our day. Earlier last week we were in the south away from any targeted areas and it was quiet, so it depends where you go. If you go to the Golan and the Kinneret or to the Dead Sea area you probably won't hear any sirens.

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Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv District, Israel
Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
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216 reviews
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3. Re: What do you tell the kids?

Disclaimer: I don't have kids so I don't give much advice on parenting. :-)

But I was a child once, and I have a lot of children in my life who are very important to me. I err on the side of always being truthful. Each answer to a child is a test: Will my parent be truthful with me? Can I trust what he or she is saying? When a parent is caught lying, that undermines trust in the future -- on far more important things.

I love Remi2000's answer. Be truthful, be calm, and be reassuring. Your child will take your cue from how you react. And good luck.

Douglas Duckett

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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4. Re: What do you tell the kids?

As I read your question, I thought--tell her to read Remi's posts. I am so glad Remi that you are taking time from your vacation to come here and help calm people. What you are doing has tremendous value.

Switzerland
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5. Re: What do you tell the kids?

Here you find trip reports:

Is Israel safe now (#60: what is it like to be a tourist in Israel right now? 10.07.2014 / #81: Report Tel Aviv 12.07.2014 / #95: Report Jerusalem 12.07.2014): tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g293977-i1733-k6…

Update from a tourist in Israel re: Safety, 11.07.2014 (Reports of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, 12.07.2014 / #8. excursion to the park with children): tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g293977-i1733-k7…

I hope it helps to make a decision

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Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv District, Israel
Copenhagen, Denmark
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6. Re: What do you tell the kids?

I really appreciate your answers. Thank you very much. I completely understand your arguments for telling the truth. As I wrote - I would normally also opt for the truth. I will think about how to talk to him about it in a factual way.

We will start in Jerusalem, then go to Eilat and then end up in Tel Aviv - 14 days in total. I am keeping an eye out for the reports people are nice enough to post in this forum. But right now, we are still planning to go. Look soo much forward to the trip.

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Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv District, Israel
Oslo, Norway
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7. Re: What do you tell the kids?

MssCPH: As a fellow Scandinavian I understand your apprehension. Our trip to Israel has been booked for weeks and we would have lost all our money had we not gone, so it was with a lot of apprehension and worry (from my side) that we went ahead. We arrived yesterday at Ben Gurion, we arrived during shabbat so everything was quieter than normal. We spent quite some time working out the details regarding the rental car as well as the apartment and as we settled into the apartment, the siren went off. We immediately went to the safe room. My daughter who is 9 and not a tough cookie at all got very scared, so did I. We waited for ten minutes inside the safe rom before we ventured out and for us, it was a huge help in going out. We saw people in the streets going about their lives and as shabbat came to an end, shops opened and the city came to life in such a wonderful way. (we are staying in Jerusalem) We had a nice time browsing the shops at Mamilla mall and walking around a little bit in the old city. Loads of tourists are out and about, enjoying their time. Today we have spent most of our time in Agrippas and the market there after a lovely lunch at Rimonim. No sirens as of yet today so we have all lowered our shoulders a little... But I have to say, I do dread it. We have been very open with our kids (we also have a 6 year old boy) and we answer all of their questions as good as we can. I wouldn't pretend that the siren was a fire drill in case of the unlikely event that the rocket should make a close impact, but you know your child the best and only you can decide on the strategy you will use. Tomorrow we plan on going out to the Dead Sea and as far as I can gather from all the other answers on this forum, that area has hardly heard a siren so fingers crossed. It really is business as usual around here, but you do have to keep in mind that a siren might sound and you need to know what to do if. Things might change, for the better or for the worse, only time will tell but for now, it's pretty quiet.

Oslo, Norway
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8. Re: What do you tell the kids?

Yes, Rdglady has a very good point. The posts written by Remi2000 has really been comforting to read, so thank you Remi2000. Thank you all who write here, so glad I found this forum! :)

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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39,327 posts
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9. Re: What do you tell the kids?

Linn--you are right up there with Remi. May the two of you continue to have fantastic experiences and thank you for being on the ground tourist reporters!

Los Angeles...
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10. Re: What do you tell the kids?

Thank you so much for your posts Linn and Remi. I have a flight scheduled in a week to meet my son In Jerusalem and have been agonizing whether I should go or not. It's comforting to read that things are going on as usual (with extra caution) and that you and your families are continuing with your holidays . I hope a cease-fire will be achieved and tensions calm down for everyone's sake.

Safe and pleasant travels