Disaster guide helps children

Amanda Castle and Phyllis Billin are sending books to flood victims.
Amanda Castle and Phyllis Billin are sending books to flood victims. John Gass

FROM the devastating Queensland floods to the earthquake-savaged streets of Christchurch, natural disasters have plagued the beginning of 2011.

Children have been faced with confronting news coverage and worry for their own family and friends in the affected areas.

Parents and teachers alike faced the challenging job of helping students to make sense of the tragedy and have found ways to sort through the recent chaos.

Tweed Heads Public School included a guide entitled Help Your Children Make Sense of Natural Disasters on their website by one of Australia’s leading parenting educators, Michael Grose.

The information encouraged parents to reassure children that they were safe, helped children process what they saw and heard through the media and helped children find a legitimate course of action if they wished.

Tweed Heads Public School principal Jacquie McAllum said it was important for parents to make their children aware of the difference between news and movie footage.

“We need to show the students the difference between what they see in TVs and what they see in the movies, they may not fully understand the enormity of the situation,” Ms McAllum said.

“All our teachers have been discussing these things in the classrooms with their students.

“Discussions have stemmed from things like the flood appeals and Maroon For A Day where students were asked to bring a gold coin donation.”

Tweed Public School students were sending library books to the flood-affected town of Grantham.

“The students are sending books to Grantham, that’s one of the ways we help the students to realise what has happened,” Ms McAllum said.


  • Reassure children that they are safe
  • Support children’s concerns for others
  • Let them explore feelings beyond fear
  • Avoid keeping the television on all the time
  • Be available to talk to your children
  • Help children process what they see on television


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