5 ways to help Children after a Traumatic Event

News March 2022

5 ways to help children following a traumatic event

Watching a traumatic event can trigger strong emotional responses in us – feelings of helplessness and worry. We also worry about how our children are affected and what we can do to support them and ourselves. With so much happening across the world right now and in our own country, its important to turn off the TV when you have young children around.

Original, full article: Five Things to Help our Children (and Ourselves) after a Traumatic Event by Gretchen Schmelzer 


Read 5 tips from trauma specialist Gretchen Schmelzer. Although the author is based in America, the content is globally relevant through our experiences of natural disasters, pandemics and conflict.

1. Turn off your television

Do not reinforce the traumatic experience at the emotional or neurological level. Our visual systems are highly connected to our amygdalas –the fear centers of our brain. Constant watching of traumatic images helps strengthen a neural pathway for a frightening event. News is 24 hours and the event already happened….read more

2. Offer reassurance

Trauma shatters our experience of safety so we all seek some reassurance that our loved ones are okay, and we want to believe that this will never happen to us. While you can’t promise them that nothing bad will ever happen to you or to them, you can reassure them that you will do everything in your power to protect yourselves and them…read more

3. Keep a routine

Trauma shatters our sense of trust and stability. The antidote to this is to attend to your routines. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Bath, books, bedtime. Consistent routine help all people, not just children, feel more solid and secure…read more 

4. Be active. Reach out. Help.

The hallmark of trauma is helplessness. At the moment of trauma we are rendered helpless to protect ourselves and others. Often this experience of helplessness is the most significant symptom. One of the greatest antidotes to trauma and the experience of helplessness is to help. Be active. Reach out. Especially for children it can be very healing to be able to do something to help. I know most people think, “What can children do?” But they can do a lot….read more

5. Bring a little more light and a little more love

Let’s resolve each day to bring a little more light and a little more love: smile more, let the person in front of you pull in to traffic, pay someone’s toll or coffee, offer to get up and let someone who looks tired sit down, bring dinner to a friend or neighbor in need…read more

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