Childhood trauma occurs much more frequently than most people think. More than one in six of the adults polled said they had at least one childhood trauma before turning 18, and about six out of ten said they had four or more.(1) Here are some ways to help your child heal from childhood trauma.
1. Share the information about the traumatic event
It is best for kids to get information about a traumatic event from a responsible adult like their parents. Allow kids to ask questions and keep your answers succinct and honest. Don’t assume that children worry about the same issues that adults do.
2. Avoid blaming.
Finding the cause of your child’s trauma can occasionally be complicated. To prevent your youngster from feeling guilty, suppress any negative feelings or behaviors you may have. Even if the experience was beyond their control, children might blame themselves for it. Inform them that they are not to blame or liable.
3. Make your child feel safe and secure.
From infants to teenagers, all kids will benefit from your touch as a parent, whether it is extra cuddling, hugs, or just a comforting pat on the back. It gives them a sense of security, which is crucial following a frightening or upsetting event.
4. Promote self-esteem.
Positive experiences can help your child feel better about themselves and promote independence, progress, and a sense of belonging. Children who learn to complete tasks independently feel better about themselves.
If your child wants to talk, be there to listen. If they’re not ready, don’t press the issue. During discussions of challenging subjects or conversations, reassure them and accept their feelings.
6. Follow a routine.
Establish a regular schedule at home and school. Try to maintain consistent bedtimes and mealtimes. Routines reassure kids that life will get back to normal even in the midst of chaos and change.
7. Be persistent.
Some kids recover more quickly from other children’s trauma. Recovery from childhood trauma is not always smooth; there may be many peaks and valleys along the road. Avoid pushing your child. Give them your time and a lot of love and comfort.
8. Look for hints.
Children may find it challenging to articulate their thoughts. After a traumatic experience, watch for behavioral changes. These could be signs that your youngster is struggling. Some frequent alterations to look out for include:
- More or less food than usual.
- Having problems or needing more sleep than average.
- Regression (such as a potty-trained preschooler having accidents again or a toddler who slept through the night now waking frequently).
- Grumpiness and irritability.
- Concern over being separated from others, especially in younger children.
9. Deal with the situation calmly.
Children seek comfort from adults after experiencing traumatic events. Children are quick to pick up on anxiety, so avoid discussing your worries with them or around them, and be mindful of the tone of your voice.
10. Ask a mental health professional for assistance.
Seek the advice of trained behavioral health or mental health professional. When necessary, they can aid in the transition from trauma to healing by helping kids and families deal with the effects of upsetting incidents and circumstances. Ask your healthcare provider about Remote Patient Monitoring if your child is eligible.
Caregiving for a child who has endured trauma may leave you feeling paralyzed by all the potential consequences. It’s important to stress that those outcomes aren’t set in stone. You can act as a parent or caregiver to lower your child’s hazards.
- “Help Youth At Risk for ACEs |Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC.” Help Youth At Risk for ACEs |Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC, 6 Apr. 2022, www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/help-youth-at-risk.html.