Understanding Traumatic Stress in Children
Traumatic events can leave people feeling overwhelmed and unsafe. Children may be especially vulnerable and require adults and caregivers to help them re-establish a sense of safety. Though recovering may take time, it is possible, especially with support from family, friends, and significant others.
In 2006, The National Center on Family Homelessness, now an affiliate of AIR, developed a resource, Understanding Traumatic Stress in Children, to help. This guide describes the most common developmental effects of trauma on children and suggests ways for caregivers to help children heal. Strategies covered include establishing safety, creating and maintaining a routine, recognizing triggers, identifying safe people, connecting with the child's support network, and referring to appropriate community agencies for additional support. Family members, caregivers and service providers can all play roles in helping children feel safe and secure and deal with this traumatic event.