When young children experience a traumatic stressor, their first response is usually to look for reassurance from the adults who care for them. The most important adults in a young child's life are his/her caregivers and relatives. These adults can help reestablish security and stability for children who have experienced trauma by:
When to Seek Help for Your Child
For many young children who have been affected by a traumatic experience, the most effective help is the reassurance and comfort provided by parents and trusted caregivers. However, if the trauma is severe or chronic, if it affects those close to the child, and/or if the child continues to be upset or have symptoms after a month or so has elapsed, it is advisable to seek help for the child.
Parents/caregivers may wish to consult their pediatrician, their child's teacher, and/or their childcare provider for suggestions of professionals who specialize in early childhood mental health. Because of the young age of the child and the importance of the parents/caregivers in the child's life, treatment for the child should actively include those adults. See the section below for a summary of treatments designed especially for young children.