Supporting children

Children of police officers can face unique challenges when it comes to understanding their parent’s job.  They may worry about their safety or wonder why they are not able to attend family events.

We recommend speaking to your child, being sure to tailor it to suit their level of understanding, so they gain an understanding of the role of a police officer, being sensitive to any specific concerns they have expressed.  These conversations can be tough, but necessary for the mental health and stability of your child.


Here are some topics you might want to cover:

The role of a police officer: 

  • Explain the sort of things a police officer does.

  • Highlight what a typical day looks like, with examples of how they keep the community safe.

  • Let them know that police officers help people, protect them and stop people from hurting each other.

  • Relate examples to their own life and practical ways in which they help others.


Missing events such as birthdays, Christmas and school events and other important milestones: 

  • Be honest about why and when they will have to miss certain events.

  • Try not to make promises they will be able to be there, because this could lead to disappointment if they’re unexpectedly unable to make it.

  • Encourage quality time with the child one on one when off duty.  This will help enhance their relationship and build a sense of connection.

  • Explain why the work they are doing is so important.

  • Give purpose to their absence.


Explain the dangers of the job:

  • Children might worry about safety, especially as they get older and have a better understanding of what being a police officer involves.

  • Reassure them that there are safety precautions in place, like wearing a protective vest and training.

  • Clarify there is no way to guarantee their safety, but they have all the tools they need to keep safe.

  • Show the child the uniform, vest and belt.

  • Explain that they are part of a team and the team look out for each other and keep each other safe, just like a family.

  • Tell them who their teammates are and what they do to keep each other safe.  It might even help to meet them so your child can picture the people they work with each day.


If a child is feeling distressed or not coping, it is recommended you seek further advice, counselling or support.