Saturday, April 2, 2011

Traumatized children

Trauma is one of those subjective entities, what negatively affects one person another doesn't give it much thought past the incident. Children can be the same, but how they respond to a traumatizing incident can affect them very deeply. And adversely affects their future behaviour and choices.
Children outside of Japan have seen news footage reporting on the recent earthquakes & tsunami in Japan. Unlike adults, young children cannot differentiate between a reality in their personal world and someone else's reality thousands of kilometers/miles way.
Dan Hodgins, a early childhood education specialist, offers some suggestions on helping your (or any child you have contact with) cope with disasters:
  • Let children speak freely about what scares them or puzzles them.
  • Encourage children to act out their fears through dramatic play [this is very important, as they play out their fears instead of talking about them]
  • If they ask, “Are we going to have an earthquake?” Say,“You are scared that an earthquake is going to happen to you? It is not happening right now”. Keep it in present tense.
  • Let children practice where to go in case a disaster was to occur, even if the chances are slim that it will not occur in your area. Children believe it is going to happen. So getting under tables, in door frames, all add to a sense of safety for them.
  • Maintain consistent routines, it makes children feel safe
  • Point out the acts of recovery rather than the gloom. A dog was found and given food, people are in the hospital getting better, the helicopters are ļ¬nding people, etc.
  • Remind them if there was an earthquake or other disaster that you, teacher, grandparent, etc. are there to help them.
  • Keep the talk among adults away from children’s ears.
  • Remind them if there was an earthquake or other disaster that you, teacher, grandparent, etc. are there to help them. (danieljhodgins.com)

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