Parent support to help children move from surviving to thriving

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday
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The launch of Camp Australia’s first-ever Parent Insight Series aims to offer support for families in guiding the social and emotional health of their children.

The first free virtual titled From Surviving to Thriving: Moments that Matter for Children’s Emotional and Social Wellbeing is scheduled for Tuesday, 14 May, at 7PM (AEST) and parents, carers, and guardians of primary school-aged children are invited to register.

Dr Kaylene Henderson – a medically trained child psychiatrist and one of Australia’s leading parenting experts – will lead the series.

“Children who feel good about themselves are known to be better learners,” Dr Henderson told EducationDaily.

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“Of course, their behaviour generally benefits too. After all, we’re all more likely to DO good when we FEEL good – I’m sure parents can relate to this too.”

Children’s mental health is a critical challenge

The Insight Series for Parents is a new Camp Australia initiative responding to feedback from families interested in ways to better support their children. Parent feedback supports the concerns of school Principals, with more than 70 per cent of respondents to Camp Australia’s School Leader Survey identifying children’s mental health and well-being as the top challenge in schools today. 

“With over 30 years-experience, operating over 520 out of school hours care services across the country and caring for over 15,000 children every week, Camp Australia has an unparalleled insight into the well-being of, and issues facing children aged five-12 and their families. In our commitment to guiding children’s growth, the Insight Series has been created to empower families with useful insights and tools to support the challenges of parenthood” says Warren Jacobson, Camp Australia CEO. 

During the one-hour online event, Dr Henderson will share research-based practical tips for parenting approaches to interactions that significantly influence children’s wellbeing. Topics covered will include fostering self-esteem, managing emotional challenges, and building resilience. The session aims to address the top concerns expressed by families and to empower parents for the key moments that can enhance their children’s emotional and social health.

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Helping children nurture resilience and self-esteem is vital for positive development and Dre Henderson says one of the most impactful ways parents can help foster this positive self-image in their children is “just by delighting in their kids”.

“Delight is communicated non-verbally – it’s the way your eyes light up, your face lights up and your body turns towards them when you spot your child across the schoolyard at pick up time, or when they’re in your company at home, the grocery store…anywhere at all! When your child sees that they don’t have to DO anything for us to delight in them; that we’re simply delighted that they exist, this fosters an internalised sense of self-worth within your child. It’s quick and easy to do yet immensely powerful,” she told EducationDaily.

Dr Kaylene Henderson will lead Camp Australia’s free virtual Parent Insight series and share practical strategies to help parents support their children’s mental health.

Resilience is built, not born

Resilience, Dr Henderson says, refers to our ability to bounce back, adapt and keep going when faced with the setbacks, stress and tough times that inevitably come our way in life.

“None of us are born with this ability. Resilience isn’t an innate trait that children have in varying degrees from birth. We actually have to actively build resilience in our kids, and I think the pandemic probably got in the way of that process,” she told EducationDaily.

“Some of those resilience building experiences were simply harder to come across while we were hidden inside our homes. And since their defences are down, it makes sense that we’re now seeing a rise in issues like anxiety among our kids.”

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Dr Henderson says that she thinks it’s reassuring when we realise that resilience is built because that tells us that we can help our children catch up – “and by learning about the types of interactions and experiences to target, parents and teachers are perfectly placed to do just that”.

Research supports the powerful role parents play, Dr Henderson says, “with the daily interactions we have influencing a whole range of children’s short- and long-term outcomes, including their social and emotional well-being”.

“Yet as parents, we’re not taught about the kind of interactions and responses that make the biggest impact – How do we help our children develop healthy self-esteem? How do we respond when they’re upset? How do we deal with those anxious moments that often arise? And how do we foster greater resilience in our children?”

Well-being matters

As a mother herself, Dr Henderson says she is a firm believer in “taking out the guesswork – especially when it comes to our children’s well-being”.

“It’s just too important. We all want to make sure we’re on track to bring out the best in our kids so I’m delighted that Camp Australia are bringing us together for this special one-hour session so that parents can hear about those ‘moments that matter’,” she told EducationDaily.

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“I’ll be focusing on practical tips that are research-based yet doable, even for the busiest of families. I’m sure that parents will come away feeling more confident and encouraged.”

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]