The current bushfire situation is causing the Community a considerable amount of disruption and anxiety.
Whilst our attention is drawn to the ferocity of the fires, there can be a number of cascading impacts that we should be aware of.
Firstly, there is the impact of smoke which extends well beyond the immediate interface with the fire. The NSW Department of Health has information on this, which can be sourced from the following link: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/bushfire-smoke.aspx
The factsheet contains information in respect to health precautions you can take to help you and your children. We also seek to protect the well-being of our staff, who may be similarly affected.
Another impact is the distress that may present itself within the Community. We provide the following information, which was circulated to parents of BDC and reproduced with their permission:
The recent fires across a large part of NSW have affected our students and school in different ways. It is important to recognise that almost all distress or behavioural change following such an event is normal. There is no such thing as a typical reaction.
Children react in different ways depending on age and personality. Some may show much distress or they may ask many questions and appear preoccupied with the event. Some of these reactions may appear immediately but others may not show themselves for weeks or even months later.
Some reactions may include sleep disturbances, regressive behaviour (thumb sucking), nightmares, fear of the dark, clinging to parents/carers, loss or increase in appetite, physical complaints that have no medical basis, aggressive behaviour, competition with sibling for parental attention, withdrawal and/or loss of interest in regular activities.
Children look to the significant adults in their lives for guidance on how to manage their reactions. Parents and teachers can help children cope by remaining calm and reassuring them that they will be all right.
Importantly most children are resilient and return to their previous level of functioning over time.
How you can support your child
· Monitor how much your child is being exposed to television/social media stories regarding the fires; children can be distressed by watching repeated images. Explain to them that news reports will repeat images and stories and it may not be a good idea to keep watching.
· Find out what your child’s understanding of the event is and correct misunderstandings or confusion.
· Include your child in making plans for the future.
· Support your child to stay connected to friends.
· Keep to your regular routines and activities as much as possible
We hope you find this information useful. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the School.
Kelley, Pete and Tim.