4 Key Steps to Helping Kids Feel Safer After Traumatic Events

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As parents it’s hard to know how to discuss traumatic news events with children. The pediatric experts at Associated Physicians offer these key steps to helping kids feel safer.


“When it comes to traumatic events, listening to your kids is one of the most important things to do,” explains Dr. Katy Cahill, Pediatric Medicine Specialist at Associated Physicians. “Listening during a time when there aren’t a lot of other stressful things going on in the house is ideal. And really just hearing your children and hearing their concerns. Validate what they’re saying and then figure out ways to offer them support. For violent things that have happened in schools and other places, one of the most important things you can do to help your kids feel better is to let them know that we adults are looking out for them and that we adults are doing everything we can to keep them safe. But most importantly listen to your kids.”


“I think that we as adults like to over explain,” Dr. Cahill said. “Little kids really need concrete information like letting them know that they’re safe and that their parents and their loved ones and teachers are looking out for them. That’s something that makes them feel a lot better. Going to too many words can sometimes make them feel a little less comfortable. So trying to limit how much information you provide to them about certain traumatic situations can be helpful.”


“The other thing that can be very helpful for kids is limiting the flow of information into your house. We are all in a place where we have the TV on, and watching what’s happening can be a way that we as adults get information. For children, especially little kids, seeing images of schools and guns and fires and earthquakes can be really distressing for them so limiting how much TV exposure your kids have during times of traumatic events can really help them feel more comfortable and safer.”


“Many parents don’t know where to turn for information when traumatic events come up. One of my favorite websites is actually the sesame street website. They have wonderful cartoons, handouts resources and a lot of great information for parents to look through that gives them age appropriate guidance for how to address trauma that may be in their community and schools and just the world in general. The American Academy of Pediatrics also has a lot of great information on their website about how to address trauma with kids.”

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