Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Troubled Child: How To Help Children with Trauma or Grief

The children in our classrooms often have experienced trauma or grief in their young lives. I met one child who replayed traumatic events through violent activities with dolls at school. Through creating a supportive environment and giving her independent tasks she could feel proud of, she gradually improved. 

Often, we as educators don't know the details of traumatic events however clues are often revealed through play, challenging behaviors such as aggression, regression, and anxiety or social isolation.We can best help and support our students with these 6 steps. 

Environment- Establish a secure and predictable environment though repetitive routines, calm transitions, and clear limits.

Communication- Be extra vigilant to provide one-on-one conversation and emotional support but be aware of triggers such as a sensitivity to touch or sound and find other avenues for connection. 

Inner Resources- Help children build their inner resilience through incorporating stress releasing tools such as Yoga, Mindfulness activities, and emotional literacy games.

Safe Space- Make sure to provide a place of sanctuary in your classroom for children to feel comforted.

Peers- Communicate with and model for the other children in the classroom to have them best provide support. Promote peer interaction, provide reassurance and explanations if necessary.

Self Care- Dealing with grief and trauma is difficult for caregivers as well. Make sure to take care of yourself through healthy habits, sleep, and meditation so that you can navigate the challenges that the children are experiencing with focus, wisdom, and calm.

How have you helped children experiencing trauma and grief in your classroom? 
Do you have questions? I would love to hear from you so please email Monica Levy 

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