Mass shootings and everyday gun violence involving young children is heartbreaking and all too common. We share the following resources to help parents and professionals meet the unique needs of infants and young children and address the effects of trauma in early childhood.
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Family and community violence, natural disasters, and traumatic life events touch the lives of even the youngest children. Even when families are not directly involved, they can be affected through media coverage of frightening images and feel a heightened sense of vulnerability and stress.
Caregivers and early childhood professionals play a vital role in helping restore and maintain emotional safety, particularly after trauma. These resources can help guide parents and professionals as they cope with these events themselves, and serve as a buffer for young children.
Child psychologist and ZERO TO THREE Board Member, Dr. Chandra Gosh Ippen, published Once I Was Very, Very Scared to help children and grown-ups (caregivers, teachers, and early childhood professionals) understand how stress can affect children and ways to help them.
Recommended on NPR by Dr. Melissa Brymer of UCLA/Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, she cites how animals throughout the book offer the opportunity for kids to point to different feelings they may have and each animal’s different way of coping with their feelings.
Find more recommended books for families facing tough times.
ZERO TO THREE Resources
A Big Impact on Little Kids: Understanding How Traumatic Experiences Affect Very Young Children
Young children are complex human beings who react to situations in different ways depending on their age, stage of development, and temperament. Your sensitive response can help your child cope during a difficult time.
Little Listeners in an Uncertain World
Tips for understanding what young children are thinking and feeling during times of crisis, and suggestions for how to help them cope during a difficult time.
Helping your Toddler Cope with Grief and Death
As hard and painful as it can be to answer questions about death, it’s an important way that toddlers develops an understanding of what has happened.
Shelter from the Storm: Resources for Early Care and Education Professionals
This comprehensive guide provides detailed resources for helping both adults and children cope with disasters. From understanding physical responses to trauma to responding to a child’s challenging behavior as a result of trauma, these practical tips can help children feel safe and secure. Available in both English and Spanish.
Mindfulness in Early Childhood
For both adults and children, practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress, bolster psychological functioning and assist in a return to wellness following adversity.
Responding To Violence, Disaster and Trauma | Journal Vol34 No2
Early life experiences impact later development and it is urgent to address the needs of very young children and their families who are suffering due to violence, disaster, or trauma. Creating effective systems of support requires comprehensive and accessible approaches to identification and treatment, and public policies that help children and families and protect society.
Psychologist and ZERO TO THREE Board Member Dr. Chandra Ghosh Ippen explains how children may process death differently, and why it’s important to think of yourself as a “catcher” in difficult conversations.
Save the Children’s emergency response experts offer tips to help you talk to children about school shootings.
Sesame Street in Communities provides a variety of tools for children and families directly affected by violence in their own neighborhoods.
Children and families count on caregivers to keep children safe when the unexpected happens. Child Care Aware of America has resources to help adults respond when emergencies arise.
These National Child Trauma Stress Network fact sheets offer strategies for parents and caregivers in coping with trauma, provides insight into common reactions children and families may be experiencing after a mass violence event, and outlines what they can do to take care of themselves.
This booklet by Dr. Joy D. Osofsky, PhD and Howard J. Osofsky, PhD supports parents and children in understanding reactions to trauma and healing from traumatic events.
Children always look to their parents and caregivers for a sense of safety and security — even more so in times of crisis. UNICEF provides eight tips to support and comfort children.