Thousands of children across Australia have been affected by the devastating impacts of climate change including bushfires, long droughts and flooding rains. Natural disasters can be extremely frightening and upsetting for children. Regardless of whether a child is impacted directly or indirectly, the experience of trauma such as a large-scale natural disaster interrupts their childhood, affecting mental health and emotional well being.
In some cases, children will present as being unaffected, but the trauma can resurface even months down the track. It is important that we provide children with a way to express their feelings by helping them process and make sense of what is happening to them so that they do not develop long term mental health issues.
Encouraging children to 'play out' their experiences is a powerful way of helping children to feel safe and express their feelings. For most, this will help them move past the trauma.
Be Centre has put together the following Assets and Resources to help you support children who have experienced trauma as a result of natural disaster. This video made for the recent bushfires, provides an overview of why the ‘Need to Play’ is so important.
Play is instinctive and it can tap into deep emotions, allowing greater understanding and insight. By playing it out your child is safely expressing feelings such as fear, confusion, sadness and anger.
Play can literally rewire the brain and help your child heal, manage stress and build resilience. The Need to Play Fact Sheet is an excellent tool for helping children cope with all forms of natural disasters.
If you are worried that your child is not coping and needs additional support, please contact either your GP or call Be Centre on 02 99137000.
How you can help!
Donate now and buy a 'Need to Play' therapeutic play bag to give children affected by natural disaster trauma the ability to play out their experiences.
'Need to Play' therapeutic play bags!
Some children have lost everything due to natural disasters. We need your help in giving these children back the power of play.
Our goal is to help as many children as possible. We are currently sourcing funding to supply critically impacted communities with the tools for children to heal. We are supplying communities and equipping parents with ‘Need to Play’ information as well as providing children with ‘Need to Play’ therapeutic play bags. These bags contain specially selected sensory toys and craft items designed to help reduce anxiety in children as they process traumatic experiences.
$30 is the cost of providing a therapeutic 'Need to Play' bag to a child in the most affected areas. Donate now to help give a child the ability to play out their experiences and heal through play.