Nutrition and brain development 6 to 12 months

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the introduction of solids for your baby between five and seven months of age.

At this age your baby is interested in their surroundings and what people around them are doing. They may look at food going to your mouth and may drool or grab for it. These are signs of being ready for solid food.  

Your baby’s brain is constantly evaluating the information it receives through the senses. This is a great opportunity to expose your baby to new foods, even ones you don’t like! 

Exploring and experiencing food

Food does not just provide sensation through taste and smell. Babies need to touch, squash, poke and smear the food to get a better idea of what to expect from this new stuff before it gets to their mouth.

Try not to worry about the mess. Babies experiment with pieces of food as they manipulate items from their hands to their mouth. Examples of this could be gripping a piece of bread, squeezing a banana, and grasping a grain of rice between finger and thumb.

All of these experiences teach babies about texture, hardness, slipperiness, softness, stickiness, and dryness. 

Breast and formula milk

Even though solid food is an exciting new experience, brain and body growth is still dependent on breast or formula milk.

Breast milk contains a relatively large proportion of cholesterol and saturated fat. This is fantastic ‘brain food’. Connections made between brain cells, and indeed all cell membranes of the body, depend on cholesterol to ‘insulate’ the nerve fibres so they send messages efficiently. The relatively high amount of fat in breast milk reflects the importance of brain growth in the human baby compared to other mammals. 

What you can do to help

  • Let your baby explore their food, as well as you feeding them. 
  • Look out for foods that are rich in iron after the first few weeks of introducing solids, especially if your baby was premature. 
  • Continue to breastfeed for as long as possible to reap the benefit of the brain building properties of breast milk (WHO recommends breast feeding until about two years of age). 
  • Offer breast or formula feed first then solids. This starts to change at around seven to eight months of age. 
  • Avoid giving your baby ‘low fat’ foods, as all natural fats are great for brain growth. 
  • Monitor your baby’s environment for toxic hazards. Wash all fruit and vegetable skins or remove peel. Avoid toxic cleaning agents, sprays or even air fresheners and stay away from fumes like heavy traffic, smokes, garden sprays. These chemicals can affect your baby more than a fully grown adult. 
  • Watch out for what your baby licks, eats or sucks. Some paint can still contain lead and many plastic baby items contain BPA (Bisphenol A). This is a type of chemical which can disrupt hormones. Buy toys made of natural substances and use chinaware over plastic bowls, spoons and cups. 

Want to know more?

Pregnancy, birth and baby – Baby development 

Pregnancy, birth and baby – Moving on to solids 

Raising Children Network – Babies development 

The importance of play

Playing with your baby helps them learn. And guess what? Their favourite thing to play with is you!   

Play gives your baby the opportunity to use their senses to explore their world in a safe and fun way. Through play your baby’s brain and body develop and learn new skills.

Your baby is learning through ordinary moments with you throughout the day. These are opportunities to help your baby learn about themselves and the world in which they live.

Check out our baby play ideas and find out more about how your baby learns through their senses.  

How do babies play?

Babies play in many ways. Making eye contact, smiling, touching different objects, feeling textures and making exciting sounds all count as play. As your baby starts using their hands and they become more mobile, they will begin to explore the world around them more independently.   

Remember that play time is a great opportunity for your baby to experience a variety of positions and to move freely within a safe play space. This can include lying on their tummy or sitting on a play mat.

As your baby gets older they will want to move. They will enjoy crawling under chairs and will begin to pull themselves up to stand at low tables or the couch. Check out Ngala’s tips for creating a safe play space for your baby.

How do I play with my baby?

Playing with your baby is all about spending time face to face and talking together. When your baby is engaged and having fun, they are learning. As you talk about what they are doing, they are learning what words mean, which lays the foundation for their first spoken words.  

You don’t need expensive toys to help your baby learn about the world, just look around your house for safe objects for your baby to explore. This could be a scarf to play peek-a-boo or a well-sealed home-made shaker made from a bottle filled with rice.

As your baby becomes more mobile, they will love exploring items in the kitchen like plastic containers and safe utensils (spatula or wooden spoon). Discover other homemade toys ideas that you can enjoy with your baby.  

Sharing books with your baby is another great way to play. Check out our article all about the best way to share books with your baby. Remember, your baby learns through repetition, so they will enjoy the same objects, toys, books and activities over and over again.  

Fun with food

As your baby begins to eat solid foods, this is a great time for fun and exploration. Mealtimes are all about letting your baby explore through touch, taste and smell in a relaxed and fun way. Remember, initially they will only get a little bit in their mouth, but the important thing is that they’re having fun! 

Great ideas for fun with food are: 

  • Yoghurt finger painting 
  • Stewed fruit and steamed vegie finger foods 
  • Allowing your baby to suck food from their own fingers 
  • Putting food in a fresh food feeder 
  • Offering foods with a variety of flavours and textures

Crawling and exploring

Once your baby starts to move they won’t want to stop! Playtime for older babies is all about being active and learning to sit, roll, crawl and discover the world around them.

Giving your baby the freedom to move helps them develop their physical skills, learn how to use their hands together to manipulate objects, and explore a variety of textures in a safe way.

Here are some great ways you can encourage your child to move and explore: 

  • Put your baby’s favourite toys slightly out of reach to encourage them to move 
  • Use large cardboard boxes to make tunnels for your crawling baby 
  • Pile cushions on top of one another to make a simple obstacle course 
  • Hide interesting objects such as scarves, shakers and textured balls inside tissue boxes 
  • Let your baby explore their reflection in the mirror

Remember that play time is all about getting down on the floor with your baby and having fun together!  

Want to know more? 

The Raising Children Network – Babies play and learning 

Talkable – Play with your baby today 

Screen time

Screens are all around us. From phones to the TV, tablets to computers, modern children are exposed to screens from a very young age.

Although children are often entertained by programs they see on these devices, screen time for very young children does not help them learn. 

Babies

Babies are wired from birth to seek out their caregivers face. It is your face that your baby will respond to and learn the most from – emotions, self-regulation and their place in the world.

Research shows that children under two years of age do not get any benefit from screen time, even from programs that are made for kids. The brains of children under two years of age have not developed enough to interpret abstract images they see on screen.

Babies learn best through real-life interactions with you and other people in their environment. 

Toddlers

Research is now showing that the more screen time a child experiences, the more likely they are to have a delay in language development. Children over two years of age can learn from watching the TV and interactive technology; however, the greatest benefits happen when the screen time is shared with an adult.  

The amount of screen time your toddler watches with you should be very limited. The content should be high-quality and appropriate for their age. 

Sit with your child if they are looking at a video or playing a game on a device. Talk about what they are doing and what they can see. Relate their learning to experiences they have had in real-life. For example, if your child is watching dogs running around on the TV, talk about your own dog or a dog you have seen at the park recently. Talk about the sound a dog makes, what they look and feel like and how they act. 

Older children

It is important that screen time for older children is also limited. This gives them time for other types of play which will allow them to use their imagination and be creative. It also gives them time to be active and play outside. 

Children can often be frightened or confused by what they see on TV, so they will benefit most if you watch with them. Always make sure that your child is watching programs that are made for children and appropriate for their age. 

How much screen time should my child have?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following: 

  • No screen time for children under two years of age (except for video-chatting with people they know well). 
  • Screen time should always be shared with an adult. 
  • Children two to five years of age should watch a maximum of one hour per day. Screen time should be high-quality children’s programming and shared with an adult. 
  • Children over five years of age should have strict limits on the amount of screen time they watch. Content should always be age appropriate. 

Other ways to play and learn 

If you are stuck for ways to keep your child busy and away from the screen then check out the following articles for better ways to help your child learn: 

Key points to remember

  • Children under two years of age do not learn from screen time. 
  • Children should only watch small amounts of quality children’s programs. 
  • Always watch with your child and share the experience. 
  • Always make sure that what your child is viewing is appropriate for their age. 
  • Balance screen time with green time (outdoor play). 

Want to know more?

The Raising Children Network – Screen time 

The Hanen Centre – Creating safe(r) screen time for your child 

Talkable – Screen time and language development 

Out and about with your toddler

Toddlers are creatures of habit. They do best in places that are familiar, on schedules that are routine, and in situations where they aren’t expected to behave well for very long. However, there will be days when you do have to go out and about. 

Toddlers can take only so much “behaving” in a stimulating environment before they have had enough. Going out with your toddler will be a lot easier if you understand exactly how much they can handle. Try and adjust your schedule accordingly. 

It’s all about preparation

If your toddler can’t deal with an hour-long trek through a crowded shopping centre, then get in, get what you need most, and leave.  

Don’t prolong the experience by trying to fit in too many things – it usually ends in tears. 

If you absolutely need to stay longer, find a quiet corner so that you all have a break from the noise and the crowd. Have a drink and a snack. 

Pack the essentials

  • Nappies and wipes 
  • Lightweight, spare clothing which you can easily roll up – think about whether you need a whole outfit change
  • Small toddler toys or books 
  • Disposable bibs for messy mealtimes 
  • Toddler snacks such as small tubs of cooked fruit, cheese sticks or raisins and water 
  • A cup with a non-spill lid 
  • Hat and sunscreen 
  • Toddler-friendly cutlery if you’re planning on eating out (not all restaurants offer this) 
  • If you’re potty-training or newly toilet-trained, consider taking a pop-up travel potty – bring spare trousers and pants, along with plastic bags to store damp clothes 
  • Make sure you have your toddlers favourite music for the car journey in case you are stuck in a traffic jam. 

Want to know more?

Essential baby – Tips for going out with a baby and a toddler 

Successful toileting

Did you know that learning to use the toilet is a developmental and self-care skill? During early childhood, learning this skill gives children more independence than almost any other skill they will learn during the early years. 

Toilet education

In theory, children could be ready for toilet education as early as two years of age. Most children of this age recognise the urge to urinate or defecate and can control the sphincter muscles that facilitate waste elimination. Before this time, infants are simply unable to physiologically monitor and to control waste removal from their bodies. 

The average age for successful toilet education is three years of age. 

If your child is experiencing a significant change to the family environment, such as a new baby arriving, moving house, or starting child care, try and delay commencing toilet education. Staying dry all night may also take some extra time.

Signs of readiness

Your child might be ready to begin toilet education if: 

  • their nappy is staying dry for longer periods (about 2 hours at a time) 
  • they are aware that they have had a bowel motion in their nappy 
  • they are aware that they are uncomfortable when wet or dirty 
  • they have an interest in the toilet, and tries to copy other’s behaviour 
  • they can label some of their body parts 
  • they have a bowel motion at a similar time each day 
  • their bowel motions are generally of a firm consistency 
  • they can sit still for short periods of time 
  • they are able to follow simple instructions  

Every child is unique, it is not a race! 

Toilet education is a part of your child’s learning and developmental journey.  

What you can do to help

  • Prepare the environment. Is the toilet too far away from the play or living area? Is there enough light? Some children are fearful if the toilet is very dim.  
  • Decide whether you will be using a potty, or the toilet. If you are using the toilet you may need a small step (this can be purchased at any baby shop or department store). 
  • Reading a book together on using the toilet can be a helpful reference for your child and helps to take some pressure off them. 
  • Ensure your child is wearing clothes that are easy to remove. Being able to remove clothing quickly is essential as they are usually in a hurry to go. 
  • Explain in simple words to your child what they need to do. How much paper to use and how to wipe themselves. Flush the toilet and wash their hands after each time. 
  • Purchase “grown up” undies and lots of them! Make it a special and exciting shopping trip together.
  • Children learn new tasks in small steps and each step can be praised. Don’t wait until they can do the whole task properly before praising them. 
  • Remember as part of toilet education, your child should be encouraged to practice good hygiene. Remind your child to wash and dry their hands each time they use the toilet – this should still be completed if you have not had a success.  

Toilet education takes time and patience

Being positive for your child is the most helpful thing you can do for them at this stage.

Coach, praise and encourage. Saying “Did you know you could do that?” or “You look very happy that you did that!” conveys a sense of achievement and self-satisfaction.

Your child needs to be praised when they accomplish successful toileting, but they should also be encouraged for trying. Recognise their efforts – “Well done for trying to get to your potty”  – even if they are a bit late.

If you are constantly battling to get your child on the toilet, they are simply not ready. If that is the case, stop everything and try again in a few months.  

Want to know more?

Raising Children Network – Toddler daily care: Toileting 

Pregnancy Birth and Baby – Toilet training 

Sharing books with toddlers

Sharing books together is the single most important thing that you will do to help your child learn to read. As you share books with your toddler, they are learning that reading is fun. They are also learning new words and early reading skills like how to hold a book and turn the pages.   

In the beginning, your toddler will find it hard to sit and listen to the story. It’s okay if your story time sessions only last a few minutes. Don’t despair! Over time, as you sit together sharing books, your toddler will be able to pay attention for longer periods.  

How to share books with your toddler

Most toddlers are very busy little beings and finding time when they are ready to sit quietly can be tricky. Find times when your child is relaxed, or perhaps even a little sleepy, and cuddle together as you share a book. Try to sit so that you can see both your child’s face and the book. This helps you talk about what they are focusing on.   

Try to make sharing books a part of your everyday routine. Often reading before bedtime is a great way to relax your child and get them ready for sleep. It is also great to pack books in your nappy bag, in the car and in the bottom of the pram. This means that whenever your child is looking for some fun, there is an opportunity to share a well-loved book. Did you know that you can even get waterproof books that you can share in the bath?  

Your toddler will enjoy hearing the same books over and over again as they learn to anticipate what will happen next. And it’s okay if they just want to look at the pictures with you rather than listen to the story. In fact, there are some great books for toddlers that don’t have any words at all!

The important thing is that your child is enjoying sharing books with you and that you are talking together.   

Books toddlers love

Your toddler will enjoy short books with engaging pictures. They will enjoy stories about everyday activities like having a bath or going to the park.

It is a great idea to choose ‘board’ books. These are made out of thick cardboard and are very durable. Your little one can hold the book and turn the pages of these books without any fear of destruction!  

Choose books that: 

  • have characters a similar age to your child 
  • engage your child through a shared interest or captivating illustrations 
  • include animals and the sounds they make 
  • are durable – thick cardboard, cloth or plastic 
  • have flaps, textures and pop-up elements  
Five great books for toddlers
  1. I went walking by Sue Williams & Julie Vivas 
  2. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell 
  3. Dig Dig Digging by Margaret Mayo & Alex Ayliffe 
  4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle 
  5. Grandpa and Thomas by Pamela Allen  

Explore more fantastic books to share with your toddler  

Top ten tips for sharing books with toddlers

  1. Help your child choose the book. 
  2. Let your child hold the book and turn the pages. 
  3. Sit so you can see your child’s face and the book. 
  4. Talk about the pictures together. 
  5. Don’t worry about reading all the words. Focus on what your child is interested in. 
  6. Read the same books over and over. 
  7. Visit the library and enjoy story time with your toddler. 
  8. Take books with you everywhere you go. 
  9. Never force your child to listen to a story. If they’re not interested, try again later. 
  10. Find a quiet place to share books together. Turn off your phone, the TV and the radio so there are no distractions.  

Want to know more?

The Hanen Centre – Sharing books with toddlers  

Zero to Three – How to Introduce toddlers and babies to books 

The Raising Children Network – Reading with toddlers  

The little big book club – Books for toddlers 

Road safety awareness

Are you concerned about your child’s safety in the car, around traffic, or in driveways and car parks?

School Drug Education and Road Aware (SDERA)

SDERA has a range of road safety education programs that target children and young people from birth to 18 years of age, and their parents and carers. These programs are funded by the Road Safety Commission and contribute to the road safety strategy in Western Australia.  

The SDERA website and resources cover the latest in car restraint information, fun ways to engage children with road safety messages, and how to make play environments safe for young children. They focus on the importance of considering the safety of passengers, drivers and pedestrians in everyday life situations. 

Smart Steps

Smart Steps: Making safer choices is a road safety program for educators of young children under eight years of age. It supports a partnership between early childhood educators and parents and carers to guide young children’s learning in becoming safe and independent road users of the future.  

Want to know more?

Smart Steps: A road safety booklet for parents and carers of young children 

SDERA – Professional learning (for educators working with children and young people and their parents) 

SDERA: educating for smarter choices

Promoting literacy everyday

Literacy is the ability to read and write. There are many times during the day when we rely on good literacy skills such as when reading or writing a text message, writing a shopping list, reading an email or looking up an address on your GPS or street map.

Just like learning to talk, literacy is a skill that develops over time and begins from birth.  

Important literacy skills for your child to learn

As you play and share books together your child is learning the foundations for reading and writing. This includes: 

  • Learning how to hold a book and turn the pages 
  • Learning to enjoy and pay attention to stories 
  • Learning about words and letters 
  • Beginning to hold a pen and scribble or draw 
  • Beginning to recognise letters and the sounds they make 
  • Recognising words in the environment like on signs, in catalogues, maps, packaging, technology buttons 
  • Listening to rhyme or words that ‘sound the same’ 
  • Recognising the sound that words start or end with 
  • Breaking words into smaller parts or syllables  

These skills will be critical when they start school and learn to read and write in a more structured way.   

Developing literacy also relies on other skills like: 

  • Understanding and using words 
  • Listening and paying attention 
  • Fine motor skills (using your fingers and hands)  

In order for your child to learn these skills, they need plenty of practice as they play with you every day.  

Supporting your child’s literacy skills

You can help your child develop literacy skills simply through sharing books and playing together.  

  • Talk to your child and show them what words mean. It is important that your child understands what words mean as they will then later make the link to written words. 
  • Read to your child every day and show them that reading is fun. Check out these great book ideas for different ages. 
  • Draw and scribble with your child. Help your child have fun practicing these fine motor skills. If they are interested, begin to write and trace letters together. 
  • Play games and activities with your child that encourage their fine motor skills. For example, rolling, pinching and squeezing while playing with playdough or helping your child do up their buttons when they get dressed. 
  • Sing songs and rhymes with your child. This helps them learn the meaning of words and also helps them learn to listen to words that sound the same or ‘rhyme’. Explore a range of songs and rhymes for kids here. 
  • Talk about letters and the sounds they make. Start with the first sound in your child’s name. For example “Your name starts with ‘O’, just like orange and octopus”. Focus on the sound a letter makes rather than the letter name. 
  • Point out letters and the sounds they make when you are out and about. “See that letter P? That word says post. Post starts with ‘p-uh’, just like pool.”  

Five great ways to promote literacy everyday

Share books
  • Sharing books together is the most important thing that you can do to help your child learn to read. Try to make reading books part of your everyday routine. 
  • With your older child, search for letters as you are reading stories together. Use phrases such as “Here is the letter B. It makes the sound b-uh. Can you find one the same? Fantastic, that’s another B”. Remember not to play this game every time you read together. It is important for your child to also have time to focus on the story you are reading to them. 
Sound and letter walk
  • Go on a walk to the park with your child. Choose a sound and point out objects that start with this sound. For example “let’s be on the lookout for words that start with the sound ‘ssss’. I can see the sky, and a scooter and a sign”. 
  • Look at the signs as you walk. Point out the letters that you can see. Relate them to letters in your child’s or other people’s names. For example “I can see a ‘D’ for daddy. It makes a d-uh sound. See if you can find another letter ‘D’” 
Playdough
  • Make letters using playdough. Talk about the sounds these letters make. This gives your child a tactile experience and helps them to also understand how letters are formed.
  • Your child may begin to notice the similarities between letters such as d, p, b and q – these letters will often be confused as your child is learning. Be patient and name these letters for your child as many times as they need. 
Magnetic letters
  • Have magnetic letters on your fridge. Allow your child the time and freedom to play with them independently. Help them spell words that are motivating for them (for example their own name or words like ‘mum’, ‘dad’, ‘dog’, ‘cat’ etc). Name the letters for your child and talk about the sounds they make. 
Surprise bag  
  • Take turns hiding items from around the house inside a bag or pillowcase. Talk about the initial sound of the object as you pull one out of the bag. For example, “fork starts with the ffff sound”. You could also use this activity to clap out the ‘beats’ or syllables in the word.  

Explore other great literacy activities for children.  

Want to know more? 

The Raising Children Network – Developing Literacy 

Zero to Three – Early Literacy 

Promoting numeracy every day

Numeracy is all about understanding and working with numbers. It is the ability to apply different maths concepts as needed throughout your everyday life.

Just like with reading and writing, numeracy is a skill that develops overtime and begins from birth.  

Examples of numeracy include: 

  • Being able to calculate how much four items will cost 
  • Making informed decisions about value for money 
  • Understanding how long it is until your appointment 
  • Estimating how much a tank of petrol will cost  

Important numeracy skills and concepts

As you interact and play with your child everyday, they are learning the foundations of numeracy that will be essential when they start school and learn more formal maths. This includes: 

  • counting and one to one correspondence 
  • beginning to recognise numbers 
  • learning shapes and what they look like 
  • noticing and making patterns  

Numeracy skills also rely on your child understanding concepts such as: 

  • same/different 
  • more/less/equal 
  • many/few 
  • altogether 
  • big/small 
  • full/empty 
  • heavy/light 
  • long/short 
  • whole/half/quarter

In order for your child to learn these concepts, they need you to show them what they mean over and over again every day.  

Supporting your child’s numeracy skills

You can help your child develop numeracy skills simply through your everyday play.  

  • Talk to your child about numbers and count with them. 
  • Use your fingers to provide your child with a visual cue about “how many”. 
  • Talk about the numeracy choices your child makes. For example “you want five grapes, that’s more then you had yesterday. Yesterday you only had three”. Or “you have chosen the biggest biscuit. All of the others are smaller”. 
  • Show your child what maths concepts mean in your play. For example “We are all going to play beetle. How many leaves do we need? One for each person. One, two, three, four.” 
  • Share books about counting and numbers. 
  • Sing songs about counting and numbers. 
  • Talk about the time and show your child numbers on a digital or analogue clock. Talk about how much longer it is to wait. 
  • Show your child numbers in their everyday life. For example on letter boxes, speed signs, in catalogues, on clocks, on your phone, the remote control, clothing tags, receipts, the microwave etc.  

Six great ways to promote numeracy everyday 

Take a number walk
  • As you walk together, point out the different numbers on letterboxes. Talk about the numbers together. For example “That house is number four. That’s the same as you. You’re four. Let’s count to four on our fingers. One, two, three, four”.  
  • Estimate the number of steps or jumps or skips to the next light pole. Count together as you move. 
  • Count as you push your child on the swing. Tell them ‘how many more’. 
  • Look at shapes on the play equipment. Notice objects that make triangles, circles, squares. 
  • Write numbers in the sand. 
  • Sort gumnuts into groups of one, two, three, four etc. 
  • Count the number of rungs on the ladder. Talk about which ladder has more rungs. Point out that it is taller. 
Shopping
  • When shopping for fruit and vegies together ask your child to count out the fruit. For example you might say “we need 8 oranges”. Encourage your child to count as they place them in the bag. Use words like “more” or “too many”. Talk to your child about how many more are needed. For example “We have six oranges. That means we need two more. Six and two makes eight.” 
Cooking
  • Let your child measure the ingredients. 
  • Weigh items on the scales and talk about the numbers. 
  • Talk about concepts like more and less, heavy, light, too many, altogether.  
  • Count as you measure spoonfuls into the mixture 
  • Set the time on the oven together. Talk about the numbers.  
Bath time
  • Bath time is a great time to talk about maths concepts such as full/empty, heavy/light, more/less. It is also a great time to talk about dividing. For example, pour water into cups. Talk about which has more and which has less. Use words like equal as well. 
Setting the table
  • Setting the table is an activity that needs to be done most days. Involve your child by asking them to count how many people are coming to dinner. Talk about how many plates, cups, knives, forks etc. are needed. Help your child count them out. Use words like ‘each’, ‘altogether’, ‘same’ and ‘different’. 
  • Help your child pour water in each glass. Talk about empty and full, more and less. 
Teddy bear’s picnic
  • Pack everything you need for your teddy bear’s picnic. How many toys will be coming along? Count them together. Pack a cup and bowl for each toy.
  • Make a cake out of playdough and divide it between the animals. Talk about how many pieces are needed. Talk about the size of the pieces. Which teddy got more and who got less?  

Want to know more?

The Raising Children Network – Developing early numeracy skills 

Zero to Three – Let’s Talk about Math: Early math video series 

Talking about traumatic events

As adults, it is hard not to be upset by media coverage of unfolding disasters and tragedies. It is even harder to cope with if you are a small child.

When young children are exposed to a traumatic experience, their first response is usually to look for reassurance from the people closest to them. 

Helping children cope with trauma

The most important adults in a young child’s life are their parents or carers.

You can provide security and stability for children by: 

  • answering questions in words they understand;  
  • helping them develop an understanding of the events;  
  • helping children expand their “feelings” vocabulary;  
  • reassuring them that they are safe;  
  • showing love and affection;  
  • keeping things as normal as possible; and
  • directing them to an activity that you enjoy together

Keep an eye on their emotional reactions to things for a little while. 

If you are concerned, seek further support or advice.

Want to know more?

KidsMatter – Trauma: Suggestions for families and staff 

Australian Child & Adolescent Trauma, Loss & Grief Network – Talking to children and young people about trauma  

The Raising Children Network – Preschoolers: coping with trauma and School age: coping with trauma  

To speak to someone about helping young children cope with trauma, call the Ngala Parenting Line on 9368 9368 or Country Access 1800 111 546 from 8.00am to 8.00pm, Monday to Sunday. You can also request a call from the Ngala Parenting Line online.