A highly distressing event can cause severe trauma to your child if left unaddressed. If your little one is suffering from traumatic stress, here are a few ways to help them heal and move on from the horrifying incident.
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Watch out for trauma symptoms
Every child processes trauma differently, and your little one may react in a manner that you least expect. Remember that your child’s reaction depends on their age, the event’s severity, developmental stage, environment, family setting, and personality.
Some symptoms of child-traumatic stress include frequent crying, difficulty sleeping, losing weight, separation anxiety, inability to concentrate, engaging in self-harming behaviors, and recurrent nightmares. Some children may seem unaffected at the outset but will exhibit symptoms as time passes, so being patient and vigilant is essential.
Encourage your child to talk
While you must give your child enough space and time to heal, you must talk to them and acknowledge the scarring incident. Your child needs to feel that it is wonderful to discuss what happened and that their feelings are normal and valid. Let them know that you’re always free to listen and that you value their concerns.
Talk to your child in a manner they understand without upsetting them. Communicating with your little one can also prevent them from making negative assumptions that can worsen their condition.
Maintain their routines
Children thrive on routines, so continuing with their schedules can give them a sense of normalcy and structure during this challenging time. Stick to their daily tasks and avoid making drastic changes. Make it a point to eat together during family mealtimes and continue with your usual family rituals. Adhering to their established routines can help them feel safer and more relaxed.
Nourish them with healthy food
Your child’s diet significantly affects their overall well-being, so nourishing them with healthy meals is necessary. Ensure to provide them with a wide range of healthy food options and avoid giving them processed products. Restrict their fried food and stimulants such as chocolates and sugary beverages. If possible, avoid buying take-out meals and feed your family home-cooked meals.
Explore all possible treatment options
If your child doesn’t show any improvements or their symptoms worsen, it would be best to seek professional help. Consult their doctor or an EMDR therapist on the best treatment for your child. Getting help from a mental health professional can help your little one address their trauma more efficiently and prevent them from inflicting harm on others and themselves.
Limit their social media access
While social media has tremendous benefits, too much exposure can make your child more vulnerable and anxious. If they often use social media, limit their screen time and be mindful of the content they absorb. For the time being, consider keeping them off social media altogether to prevent your child from regressing and ensure they fully recover.
Parenting your child after a traumatic event can be challenging. Allow your little one to grieve, and never rush the healing process.