Perhaps your child, or another child whom you’re close to, has recently suffered through a traumatic event. Maybe they lost a parent, dealt with a serious illness, or witnessed violence or a natural disaster.

No matter what happened, they need extra support as they heal. Children are particularly vulnerable in many ways, and this is especially true when it comes to facing trauma. Without treatment and lots of support from the adults in their lives, they can struggle with the lifelong effects of past trauma.

You do not need to be a mental health expert yourself to help your child recover from trauma, but it will require a higher level of involvement on your part. Here are a few things you can do to help your child heal, as well as advice on getting professional help for your child.

Let Them Grieve

First, it’s important to let your child feel whatever they are feeling. They might be sad, angry, scared, frustrated, or irritated—and they need the opportunity to process these emotions without judgment.

Be patient with your child and let them share what’s on their mind. You can also help your child find healthy outlets for these feelings. They might be able to express themselves through drawing, writing, or another art form.

Predictable Routines

Trauma can destabilize your child’s life. The unpredictable nature of trauma can leave your child on edge, wondering when things are about to change again. They might feel like they can never truly relax because if they let their guard down, something bad might happen.

To counteract this, you can establish stable routines in your household that give your child a sense of structure in their day-to-day life. This could mean setting a bedtime, keeping meals around the same time each day, and eating dinner together as a family whenever possible.

Be a Good Listener

Your child probably has a lot on their mind right now. It’s your job to listen. If your child opens up to you about their feelings, focus your complete attention on them.

Answer their questions with compassion. They are confused and scared, and they need you more than ever. When you listen, it shows them you care, and they will feel like they can truly trust you.

Setting Boundaries Together

Children have every right to set boundaries. After living through trauma, they might feel like their boundaries were violated in some way. Even if they wouldn’t use the same terms as an adult to describe this concept, the feeling that might still linger.

Talk to your child about setting boundaries in kid-friendly terms. Learning how to establish boundaries can be very empowering for people of all ages, and this includes young children! Let them know that they do not have to tolerate mistreatment or disrespect, no matter their age.

Age-Appropriate Therapy

If your child has gone through trauma, it is crucial to reach out for professional help at the earliest available opportunity. Therapy is not just for adults! There are plenty of therapists who specialize in working with young children. You could also consider pursuing family therapy, in which you and your child would attend most sessions together while potentially going to some sessions as individuals.

For children, therapy often revolves less around talking and more around age-appropriate activities. Your therapist might want to engage your child in art therapy or play therapy so that they can explore their emotions through their creativity.

Are you trying to help your child recover from trauma? Therapy can help. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session.

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