News from The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children
Here we are in the season of wishes. For traumatized children, and indeed for all, there are some very special hopes that are dearer to their hearts than any other gift.
Today, we focus on 3 Wishes of Wounded Kids:
1) Notice me – Often a child’s biggest worry is feeling alone after having been through a trauma. Check in with them often, say a random “I love you”, and give daily doses of quality connection time. Make frequent eye contact, and find those “meaning moments” throughout the day.
2) Understand me – Remember that to be understanding, we don’t have to understand exactly what the child is going through. Be willing to listen, acknowledge, and affirm that they are having a hard time, and create learning space for them to “teach” you what life is like for them. Invite them to share with you and help them feel safe to do so.
3) Soothe me – Create opportunities to engage their senses in soothing activities. This means using sensory descriptive words, physical affection that engages the instinctual part of the brain, and even fun activities with soothing scents, sights, and sounds. Use music, soft blankets, and “quiet lights”, especially at bedtime.
Kids who have experienced trauma want nothing more than to feel safe and establish a new sense of normalcy in their worlds. The above reminders can help, and you will have given them a gift that will last them forever – confidence, connection, and hope. Be well on your journeys and best wishes to you all during this holiday season! ~ Cherie Spehar