The Commissioner has developed resources to help support parents, carers and families of WA children and young people.
The Commissioner’s work has regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and acts on the principle that parents, families and communities have the primary role in safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of their children and young people and should be supported in carrying out their role.
The resources provide parents, carers and families with practical tips to use with their children to help make meaningful, real-life improvements to their world.
How can you help your child feel and be safe wherever they are?
Children and young people have the right to be safe, feel safe and be treated with respect wherever they are – at home, school, clubs, churches, sport - everywhere.
Here are three main things you can do to help keep children safe wherever they are:
1. Help children to understand and speak up.
- Teach children about personal safety and their rights, this is just as important as discussing fire, pool or road safety.
- Talk regularly with children about different feelings and practise ‘what if…’ scenarios, this will help them to feel more comfortable and confident to speak to you or another reliable person about anything that worries them.
- Discuss body signals and emotions that help tell them when they feel unsafe – like butterflies in their stomach, wobbly legs or sweaty hands.
- Reinforce they have a right to say no to anyone – other children and young people, adults, even someone they know or trust.
2. Choose organisations carefully and stay involved.
- Make sure the organisation can cater for all the specific needs of your child – physical, cultural, communication and developmental.
- Look around at the physical environment and information available for children and young people, and check the organisation’s website, policies and social media. Drop in to visit the organisation at different times and days.
- Engage with the organisation so you really get to know staff and volunteers and also get a sense of their values and respect for children and young people. Ask any questions you feel are important. How the staff respond to your questions will give you a sense of how they value you and your child.
3. Act appropriately on concerns if a child tells you they are being harmed or feel unsafe.
- Be calm and supportive.
- Listen to what they say, be patient and let them use their own words.
- Listening supportively is more important than what you say. Reassure them it is right they told you and it’s not their fault.
- Respect that the child may only want to reveal some details. Acknowledge their bravery in speaking up.
“[You’ll feel] mixed emotions probably because one part of you might be going, ‘uh oh am I going to get into trouble?’ and the other part might be relief because, ‘thank gosh somebody’s actually doing something about it’.” young person
For more practical tips on how to talk to your children and organisations, including a checklist for parents, download the brochure:
How can you help your child to be engaged in school and learning?
School is an important part of a child’s development, so how can families and carers best support their children to do well?
The Commissioner consulted 1,800 WA school students from Years 3 to 12 on what helps their engagement at school.
Based on their views, here are some ways families and carers can help primary and secondary students:
- Ask children about their school work, what they find interesting and encourage them to just chat about their day at school. Do this often – no matter if they are in Year 1 or Year 12.
- Listen carefully when your child tells you how they feel about school and respect their views and opinions.
- Find out if your child gets the help or support they need to do their school work. Talk to the school about how to improve this if it is a problem for your child.
- Offer help with homework or find someone who can – many students in the consultation said that they would like more help with their homework, with very few saying they did not need this.
- Participate in school activities such as assemblies or sports carnivals when you can. Students highly valued the involvement of parents in their school.
- Encourage your child to be at school every day. A parent or carer’s attitude on school attendance has a strong influence on their children.
- Ask your child about how they get along with friends and other students. Find ways to help them build and maintain positive relationships with friends and other students.
“Families can help encourage children in their learning and social groups. They can talk to students about how they went at school on that day and how they are going with their friends and teachers. They can also ask if the student has any homework or school work that they need help or could be struggling with.”
Download the brochure for more helpful tips: