Helping Children Cope

Thoughtful about the recent Australia Day tragedy, Mr Anthony Ingram from Carey Harrisdale’s Primary School, offers some helpful thoughts for parents of children that may be concerned about the event: 

Witnessing a frightening event, or even repeated exposure to events through the media can be overwhelming for children. The tragic seaplane crash witnessed by many on Australia Day and subsequently repeated exposure to video footage of this accident through the media is an example of such an event that can significantly impact children.

I imagine many of our Carey kids were present at the foreshore or may have watched the videos which in turn may cause you concern. In my work as a Psychologist, I have had many worried mums and dads meet with me on how they can help their child cope to varying degrees of anxiety. The Australia Day tragedy has been on my mind as I prepare for 2017 school year and I am keen to equip parents with the tools to build resilient and healthy children.

Here’s something you may like to consider as we look at this topic:

  • Many children will be fine and not show any reactions at all
  • Sleeping difficulties, becoming clingy, asking questions, feeling unsafe and challenging behaviours are all common reactions

Time, understanding, patience and support from parents and caregivers is the most helpful way to assist children to recover. Some children will grow from this experience and acquire new coping strategies and strengths.

How parents cope can be the strongest indicator of how well children manage. Your conversations with other adults or about the tragedy can often rub off on your children; so be mindful that they can mimic what you do too.

A great tool I have found on children’s reactions and assisting children cope is one by The Red Cross; check it out by clicking this link.

To all our wonderful students who will be joining us this year, I look forward to seeing you in the playground!

Mr Ingram
Primary School Assistant Principal – Pastoral Care
Carey Baptist College Harrisdale


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