Children and Families

A new reference for parents who work as first responders has been produced by Emerging Minds to help parents who respond to disasters and face the additional burden of worrying about their children who are understandably anxious about their mum or dad at work.

Phoenix Australia have developed a series of fact sheets and booklets (downloadable as PDFs) about families, children and trauma.  This includes fact sheets about Trauma and children; Helping children after a traumatic event; Helping a friend or family member after a traumatic event and booklets including Recovery after trauma; Harry and the storm – a storybook for children who have experienced trauma; Dealing with Trauma – a guide for young people who have experienced trauma; Helping my children after trauma – a guide for parents.

If you or someone in your family has been through a traumatic event, the whole household can band together to continue or create rituals to help them get back to normal life. Fortem Australia have created a booklet called Family Rituals: how rituals can help trauma recovery a guide for First Responder Families.  This booklet helps explain what family rituals are, why they are important and how to create them to bring meaning and safety into your life, especially when your family is going through a tough time.

Children can be impacted by a traumatic experience in different ways. It could be through direct exposure to a traumatic incident, witnessing someone they love being harmed, or any kind of meaningful loss. Each child copes differently in response to a trauma. In this booklet called Helping Children Through Trauma: a Guide for First Responders, Fortem Australia offer 20 tips for helping parents and caregivers provide support for children and young people through a time of stress.

If your partner is a first responder, they may work some night shifts. Eating alone can affect your diet, and eating well benefits your physical and mental health, and reduces your risk of developing a range of health problems.  This  brochure by Fortem Australia looks at how to create healthy eating habits when your partner works night shifts.

Positive mental health resources for young emergency service volunteers have been developed by the CRC Tactical Research Fund project, Positive Mental Health in Young Adult Emergency Services Personnel. The project team have create a valid, practical and useable framework and several reliable resources to support positive mental health and wellbeing in young adult (16-25 year old) fire and emergency service volunteers. These can be utilised at an individual, local and organisation-wide level, in order to minimise the short and long term impacts of exposure to potentially traumatising events, and maintain and promote mental health and wellbeing more generally. 

This fact sheet by US-based SAMSHA offers tips families can use to help disaster response workers return home and adjust to daily life. It describes things to keep in mind while adjusting to the return of a loved one, signs of stress, and when to seek help.

This website by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention gives parents information to help children of different ages cope in an emergency.  It recognises that some children react right away, while others may show signs of difficulty much later. How a child reacts, and the common signs of distress can vary according to the child’s age, previous experiences, and how the child typically copes with stress.