• Deirdre Brandner

Managing children's emotional response to the Bushfire crisis - as seen on ABC News Breakfast

It’s hard not to be moved by the continuing bushfire crisis. As adults whether directly or indirectly impacted this tragedy takes an emotional toll . As the new cycle continues with media images and rolling coverage of the devastation unfolds this may have an impact on our child’s emotions.

Research informs us that even if you weren’t at the stressful event, exposure to coverage surrounding this can impact emotional well being.

Depending on the age of your child it is likely that young children will be impacted by images and video of these events and this will stick in their mind. For some children they worry that this may happen to them.

Managing Children’s Anxiety around the Bushfires

  • Monitor the information they are exposed to, ensure children take a break from the news cycle

  • Listen and encourage them to talk, answer their questions, but try doing this during the day

  • Normalise their feelings, and provide helpful information about what is accurate.

  • Reassure them and stick to the facts, use visuals such as maps to ensure they know they are safe

  • Pay attention to your own reaction

For Families and Children directly impacted

  • Anxiety exists because there has been a loss of safety and stability

  • Some children will be resilient and cope, for others distress presents later

  • Talk with your child about what is being done to support the family

  • Be honest…there are many questions you won’t be able to answer but provide information where possible

  • Try to keep routines and let them have fun where possible

  • Be available…what they need most is reassurance, comfort and love

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