Kids feeling anxious over the war in Israel? Here are 10 tips from mental health expert Leanne Matlow

Leanne Matlow (Kevin Viner/Elevator Digital photo)

Toronto cognitive behavioural therapy counsellor Leanne Matlow says her phone has been buzzing non-stop ever since the horrific attack by Hamas terrorists on southern Israel on Oct. 7. She’s been hearing from Canadian parents who don’t know how to reassure their children, who are being exposed to gruesome videos and images of blood-stained rooms, wounded Israelis and victims of the massacre—not to mention being nervous because of the ramped-up police and security presence around their schools, community centres and synagogues since the violence began.

Matlow has worked as a school guidance counsellor and now is in private practice specializing in helping anxious young people as her clients. She’s just issued a series of 10 tips for adults (and the children they care for) to help them manage their mental health at this difficult time in Jewish history.

On today’s The CJN Daily, she joins host Ellin Bessner with practical advice that everyone can use.

Leanne Matlow’s 10 Tips

  1. Take care of yourself
  2. Remember your kids are always watching
  3. Set boundaries on the news consumption in your house
  4. Before you talk to your children about anything difficult, make sure they’re well fed
  5. Understand your child’s level of knowledge and comprehension
  6. Reassure your child that they are safe here
  7. It’s okay to say you don’t know the answer sometimes
  8. Be lenient and be reassuring
  9. Take what your kids are worried about and turn it into action-oriented tasks
  10. Ensure your child can talk to you daily 

What we talked about

  • Attend The CJN’s live emergency mental health seminar at Toronto’s Prosserman JCC on Tuesday Oct. 17, 2023. Attendance is free with donations going towards the UJA’s emergency fund for Israel
  • Read more about Leanne Mallow’s work giving hope to anxious young people struggling with their mental health, in The CJN
  • Meet the Canadians evacuees from Israel who arrived home in Toronto this weekend, on The CJN Daily


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer.Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here.