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How to Help Children Process a Traumatic Event
Anissa Keyes, MA, LMFT, LICSW
- Help them feel safe. Children may have nightmares and worrisome thoughts of something bad happening again.
Regularly remind them they are safe.
- Remain regulated. Children reflect the emotions of the adults around them.
Provide them with a calm, reliable adult presence.
- Give them space to process. Allow children to share how they feel.
They may want to talk about their feelings over and over again. Let them.
- Limit their exposure to news coverage.
Children may become overloaded and overwhelmed if they’re repeatedly exposed to traumatic content.
- Be open to differences in how children cope and process. Every child is different.
Let them release and manage their trauma however they need to.
- Try to keep things the same. A child who has experienced a disruptive traumatic incident needs normalcy and routine.
Try to get back to their regular schedule.
- Reassure children that the traumatic event is being addressed.
Children may become consumed with not being able to control an outcome. Let them know it’s being worked on.
Arubah Emotional Health Services, PA