Our research shows children play an important role in recovery, helping their families and the wider community. We found that children understand more readily than adults that there will be future floods, and recognise the need for adaptation. Children want to have a role in developing flood prevention and preparedness in their communities. Current flood policy either ignores children or positions them in a group marked ‘vulnerable’. This patronises and disenfranchises children. Understanding their perspectives and capacities could inform more effective policy, enhance resilience and reduce the impact of future emergencies. Children have the right to be heard and actively participate in matters that affect them, in particular flood management.