Helping Kids Cope with Traumatic Events

  • October 16, 2018
  • |Quartz
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Update: Additional resources have been added to the bottom of this blog. (August 7, 2019)

In the world today, we face many disasters, violence and traumatic events. The daily news and social media are full of stories that can be terrifying to all of us, especially children.

These events can have great mental impact on your child, even if they are not directly involved. Your child can have a range of emotions, such as anger, frustration and sadness. Your child can react in many ways, which can happen right away or be delayed over time.

Talk to your child

Talking about the event with your child can decrease their fears. It is important to explain the event in words they can understand, and in a way that will not overwhelm them. As a parent, this gives you a chance to help your child feel more secure and know the world in which they live.

Common reactions to traumatic events 

There are many physical symptoms that are common after a traumatic event. These are largely, normal responses. Physical symptoms may include –

  • Unable to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • Lack of energy or always feeling tired
  • Feeling sad
  • Having stomachaches or headaches
  • Feeling hyperactive or overly energetic
  • Feeling very irritable or angry — fighting with friends or family for no reason
  • Having trouble focusing on schoolwork

Be sure to talk with your primary care provider if these symptoms persist or cause problems with relationships or performance at home or school.

Resources –

National Child Traumatic Stress Network — Catastrophic Violence

Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress

Behavioral Health Care Resources

Interactive Health and Wellness Tools


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