With the country experiencing yet another traumatic event, we all need to ensure that our children are protected and grow emotionally strong. But as parents, care givers and teachers:

How do we take care of the children? 

How do we protect them from the impact these events can have on them?

The very first thing is to be there for the child; understand what is happening to the child by observing and listening.

Here are 10 ways you can help your children say what’s on their mind:

  1. Engage the child in imaginative play with toys and figures, storytelling or    drawing.
  2. Don’t lead the child.  Follow the child’s directions.
  3. If you are playing with the child, ask the child what you are supposed to be saying or doing.
  4. If the child is telling a story, ask open ended questions to guide the child along.
  5. If the child is drawing, observe quietly, listening to what the child is saying while drawing.
  6. Don’t react to the child or interpret what the child is doing or saying through the eyes of an adult.
  7. Reassure the child and suggest to the child something that the two of you (or more) can do together for fun.
  8. Make sure the child’s routine continues
  9. Let the child know what to expect during the course of the day
  10. Answer the child’s questions with minimum information necessary or say, “I don’t know, maybe we could find out together.”

You know your children best and have a sense when something isn’t quite right.  It is important then to always be there for them in a supportive and reassuring way.  It is also important to remember that you are always there as the child’s parent, care giver or teacher.  You shouldn’t become the child’s therapist.  If your child is experiencing or communicating something you feel is beyond your capabilities, it is in your child’s best interest to seek professional help.

 

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