Mum’s Russia explainer goes viral as parents say it’s the perfect analogy for kids

The analogy of the war in Ukraine in a mother’s playground is used by parents to explain the conflict.

Yvette Dawson-Phillips used it to gently reassure her daughter Megan when she called her worried about the invasion.

But when she shared her thoughts on Facebook, his position quickly went viral and won praise from moms and dads who strive to explain how the war happened in a way young people will understand.

In it, she compares World War II to a “big fight on a playground” after which “a lot of popular kids (GLOBAL LEADERS) got together and formed a big gang (NATO), and all the kids in the gang made a pink promise (TREAT) to be kind and respectful and not to fight anymore”.

“That means not entering each other’s (COUNTRY) part of the playground without permission, and not throwing sticks or stones at each other (HEAVY ARTILLERY), and the UK is part of the gang,” said she declared.



A convoy of military trucks parked on a street in Mykolaivka, Donetsk region, the territory controlled by pro-Russian militants, eastern Ukraine

“But then a new kid (UKRAINE) joined the playground, and a big bad bully (RUSSIA) started going after the new kid, all because he’s greedy and bossy and he wanted the new children’s play area for himself, even though he has one of the biggest spaces in the playground.”

She goes on to explain how Ukraine “isn’t in the gang because the big bad bully didn’t want the new kid on the gang” and how we “would be breaking our little promise if one of the gang was helping the new kid fight off the bully’.

Yvette’s post has been shared nearly 10,000 times and picked up by other social media outlets who have shared it as well.

“Thank you for that,” one follower said. “You not only explained it to your 11 year old son, but also to a 35 year old man. I understood a little, but I understand a lot more now after reading this!”

Another added: “What Yvonne has done is make the explanation for this horrible atrocity a little easier for our children to understand. I have grandchildren who are afraid there is a WWlll.

“I tried to explain in the simplest and sweetest way what is happening to the wonderfully brave people of Ukraine. Yvonne found a way to explain the events in a very succinct and age-appropriate way. Thank you Yvonne.”

Here is Yvonne’s message in full:

** Modified. It was my sweet way of reassuring my young daughter that we are safe…for now. But it is important to teach all children that we MUST NOT HATE the people of Russia, Ukraine or anywhere else for fighting together, no matter who started what or why. We are all human beings sharing a beautiful planet drawn into conflict by our rulers. The peoples of Russia and Ukraine also have families, children and loved ones who will sadly be lost in this conflict.

I was at Morrisons shopping today when Megan called me. She was out with her friends and said ‘Mum, one of the boys said Russia is about to come into the UK and start fighting us, so we’re really scared’.

Well, I don’t know what people around me thought of my explanation to a group of 11 year olds about Russia and Ukraine, but it went something like…..

After the last BIG playground fight (WW2), many popular kids (GLOBAL LEADERS) got together and formed a big gang (NATO), and all the kids in the gang made the pink promise (TREATY) to be kind and respectful and not fight anymore.

This means not entering each other’s part of the playground (COUNTRY) without permission, and not throwing sticks or stones at each other (HEAVY ARTILLERY), and the UK is in the gang.

But then a new kid (UKRAINE) joined the playground, and a big bad bully (RUSSIA) started picking on the new kid, all because he’s greedy and bossy and wanted the new space children’s playground for himself, although he has one of the largest spaces in the playground.

But unfortunately, the new kid is not in the gang because the big bad bully didn’t want the new kid to join the gang.

We would break our little promise if one of the gang members helped the new kid off against the bully.



A woman hugs two children at a checkpoint run by local volunteers after arriving from Ukraine, crossing the border at Beregsurany, Hungary

We all told the bully and defended the new kid by hiding the bully’s pocket money until the bully stopped hurting the new kid (SANCTIONS) and that hopefully will prevent the bully from buying more sticks and rocks.

We’ve also given the new kid a lot of our own sticks and rocks to fight off the bully, because that doesn’t break the promise of the little finger!

Even though it’s really, really sad, all we can do now is stand at the edge of the playground and watch and give moral support to the new kid, because we don’t have the right to fight the bully for him, not without breaking the little finger promise.

BUT… if the bully breaks the pinky promise and enters our part of the playground (UK) without permission and throws a stick or a rock at us, then the whole gang (NATO) will come to us help, and we will ALL jump on the bully (RUSSIA) and beat him.

Now don’t worry honey, just go play nice together in the sun and don’t hurt yourself.”

Harold B. McConnell