• Deirdre Brandner

My child is anxious about the Bushfires

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.

Children may display symptoms of anxiety such as irritability, being teary, anger outbursts or present as withdrawn. Here are some strategies to manage children's emotions when our nation is experiencing a traumatic event.

  • Acknowledge their worries and explain that it is normal to feel sad and helpless

  • Limit their exposure to media coverage and ensure your child hears and sees positive news stories surrounding this event e.g. communities coming together to help families and wildlife

  • Understand what they are thinking by having them make a list of their worry thoughts. Go through this list with your child and discuss if they are logical thoughts or anxious thoughts.

  • Use accurate maps of the fires to support the fact that they are safe

  • Help them understand the facts and information that they can use to talk back to their worries

  • Practice helpful thinking, “I am safe”, “There are people to help ”, “Grown ups are in charge of keeping me safe”, “Australians know about bushfires and there are plans about what to do”

  • Ensure your child is engaged in calming and engaging activities that distract them

  • When overwhelmed use deep breathing and relaxation strategies

  • Avoid discussing worries at night, provide a sense of safety and comfort

  • Ensure you manage your own emotions surrounding this event, and avoid discussing your own concerns in front of children

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