Christchurch 15 March 2019

This is a really tough time for New Zealanders and it’s critical our children and young people get the support and care they need as they return to schools and other learning institutions. The events in Christchurch can confuse and frighten anyone who may feel unsafe or worried that their friends or loved-ones are at risk. They will look to others for information, guidance and support.

Parents and teachers can help children and young people feel safe by:

Be guided by their questions, be factual and age appropriate with your response. Children and young people do not always talk about their feelings readily – ask them if they are feeling worried.

Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate:

Observe children’s emotional state

Changes in behaviour, appetite, and sleep patterns can also indicate a child’s level of anxiety or discomfort.

In most children, these symptoms will ease with reassurance and time. However, some children may be at risk for more intense reactions, particularly those who have experienced difficulties and change. Parents and teachers, seek support through your school pastoral care system or your GP.

Further information links from the Ministry of Education

Resources to help with mental distress after Christchurch incident — Ministry of Health website 

How to talk to your kids about: Trauma - The Parenting Place website

Helping children deal with trauma – Ministry of Health website

Talking to children about terrorism and trauma — Children’s Commissioner NZ Facebook page

Phone Counselling Service for those affected by Christchurch Incident — Ministry of Health website