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Resources for parents and caregivers

Prepare

Emergencies can happen at any time. They can be as large as a bushfire, flood or cyclone or as personal as a death in the family. But the better you prepare for them, the easier it is for you and your family to recover.

It is important to include your children in discussions about emergency plans for your household and family. When children know what to do in an emergency, they are more likely to cope, stay safe and provide meaningful help.

To prepare your child/ren for an emergency, we recommend completing this checklist as a household:

  • All the children in our house know what an emergency is (a serious, dangerous and scary situation where help might be needed).
  • All the children in our house know how to stay calm by ‘breathing with colour’ (slowly breathing in their favourite colour and then slowly exhaling their least favourite colour to regulate their breathing).
  • All the children in our house know how and when to call for help (For guidance visit kids.triplezero.gov.au).
  • We have a safe meeting place outside our house and have practised how to get there.
  • We know who to call if we can’t find each other.
  • We have an emergency kit packed ready to go if we have to leave our house quickly.

Resources for children and parents


A Get ready activity book to help children prepare for emergencies. (Ages 5-8)

A Talking with children before an emergency information sheet that provides guidance on how to include children in discussions around RediPlan.

RediPlan  - Red Cross’ emergency plan.


Recover

Emergencies by their very nature are disruptive and can be very stressful. The recovery process can take time, sometimes months, even years. There are now a number of resources out there to support families in their recovery. They all provide similar information, so we suggest going to a source you trust. Here is a guide to some of the informed resources that are currently out there.

For children and young people


An After the emergency activity book to help children cope with emergencies. (Ages 5-8)

An After the emergency podcast and website to help young people cope with emergencies. (Ages 12-25)


Joel and the Storm A storybook for children who have experienced trauma. (Ages 5-11)

What the? – An informative booklet to help young people understand PTSD, getting help and strategies to help relax and feel more in control. (Ages 12-25)


Birdie’s Tree, from the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health, includes a suite of storybooks and online games to help young children recover from the emotional effects of natural disasters. (Ages 3-5)


The Big Changes video is about being there for one another after big changes. (Ages 3-5)

The Big Feelings  video is about being scared after an emergency. (Ages 3-5)


For telephone (1800 55 1800) and online counselling for children and young people. (Ages 5-25)


Tips for young people on how to cope with the stress of natural disasters

Online and telephone support and counselling for young people, their family and friends (Ages 12-25).

 

For parents and caregivers


Helping children and young people cope with crisis - booklet for parents and caregivers to help understand stress, trauma, the reactions of children and young people (aged 0-25), how to respond to their needs, sleep, the media, looking after yourself and suggested activities.

Parenting: coping with crisis - This booklet provides reflections on and suggestions for parenting during or after a crisis. It includes tips on coping with crisis while parenting, finding your new normal and helpful resources. 


Helping my Children after Trauma - Helping my Children after Trauma – A Guide for Parents to help understand trauma, common problems, PTSD, treatment, seeking help and strategies to help your child relax and feel more in control.


Tip sheets for parents on:

Signs of possible trauma in children and adolescents

Supporting your child’s recovery after trauma

Facing tough times

Disasters, the media and your child

Understanding and managing anniversary reactions


The Emerging Minds Community Trauma Toolkit contains a number of useful resources (short articles, videos, factsheets, podcasts) to help parents and caregivers after a disaster or traumatic event. A summary of the resources can be found here. They include, but aren’t limited to:

Short articles about:

what parents and caregivers can expect during and immediately after a disaster or community trauma| In the short term | In the long term

how parents and caregivers can support children during and immediately after a disaster or community trauma| In the short term | In the long term

A video about re-establishing routines and rules following a disaster or traumatic event.

A video about the importance of story and play for young children following a natural disaster.

A factsheet about traumatic events: anniversaries and other triggers.


Birdie’s Tree, from the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health, includes information and resources for parents and caregivers of babies and young children:

Recovering together after a natural disaster:

Cyclone| Flood | Earthquake | Tsunami | Drought | Fire

Recovering together after a natural disaster in pregnancy and early parenthood: information sheet | booklet

Recovering together after a natural disaster with babies and young children: information sheet | booklet


 

Information for parents about trauma, how children might react, how to help, how to look after yourself and getting further support. (Ages 3-15 years)

Trauma: first response to help children

Trauma: supporting your child in the days and weeks after

Trauma: coping and how to look after yourself

Information and guidance for parents about media exposure to coverage of natural disasters and other distressing news.

Supporting children 2-5 years

Supporting children 6-11 years

Supporting teenagers


Tips for parents with children on the autism spectrum about bushfire emergencies.


Information for people with a disability and families affected by bushfires.


Online and telephone support and counselling for young people, their family and friends.


For relationship support services for individuals, families and communities call 1300 364 277 or visit www.relationships.com.au


Funding acknowledgement

This resource was produced by Australian Red Cross as part of the Strengthening Children and Families project conducted in partnership with the University of Melbourne and generously funding by Gandel Philanthropy, Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, Colliers Charitable Fund and Perpetual 2019 IMPACT Philanthropy.