Believe it or not, approximately 7.1% of children between the ages of 3 and 17 have been diagnosed with anxiety.
While physical conditions and personality play a role, one of the primary causes of anxiety is trauma experiences in childhood. They can have a tremendous impact on the mental health of children.
However, the right care can help you to mitigate the effects of adverse childhood experiences and provide a child with a healthy outlook on life.
Here is how you can help.
Identifying a Child With Trauma Experiences
You may be fostering or teaching a child with a traumatic past. This can be a challenging but rewarding experience.
Children who have suffered trauma may be clingy or easily startled. If they are in school, they may lack self-confidence or be unable to make friends. The child may cry a lot or have a poor appetite.
Young people who have memory problems or difficulty focusing may have experienced past trauma. Helping a child recover is critical to their long-term pediatric mental health as well as their academic progress.
Be a Calm Presence
Children who have experienced a painful past may simply need a listening ear. By talking in a calm tone of voice, listening patiently, and not losing your cool, you can become the strong adult presence they desperately need.
It’s important to be honest with these children and set limits in an even tone. If your child does act out, you will need to establish consequences without raising your voice. Rewarding steps toward good behavior can also be quite helpful.
If the child brings up past experiences or expresses a desire to talk, carefully allow them to speak out. You want them to know that you can be trusted, and they shouldn’t be ashamed of what they have been through.
Most kids thrive on routines, but they are especially important for young people with a traumatic past. Make sure that the time they spend with you includes regular procedures they can count on.
Your kiddos should eat and go to bed at the same time each day. If they enjoy certain comfort foods or enjoy a cup of tea in the morning, make sure it’s something they can look forward to.
Read to children or allow them to read to themselves for a certain amount of time each day. The experience can be soothing and help them develop healthy habits.
Children who are well-rested and well-fed will be much better able to cope in a world where they experience frightening emotions. Make sure your children know that their needs will always be met properly.
Free playtime can help children to develop resilience and imagination.
If they express an interest in going to the park, tossing a ball, or playing with friends, be sure to encourage their recreation. It can provide them with a welcome distraction and a much-needed sense of normalcy.
Trauma experiences can have a long-term impact on a child’s life. With the right approach, you can help a young person to regain a healthy outlook and positive perspective.
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