Steps to Trauma-Proof Our Kids Right Now!

Steps to Trauma-Proof Our Kids Right Now!

kids resilience

As a father of two who will be working from home with kids who will also be home, this will be a fall like I’ve certainly never experienced. Part of the benefit of my type of work is that I get to test out the current research in real time. Many of my peers have suggested putting out a training to help with the exact stress of this moment. It’s coming next month but here is a sneak peak of an upcoming resiliency training to help parents, teachers, and care givers better “trauma-proof” our kids. We are certainly in curious times and children are very much feeling the stress of those around them.

The first primary step for building up our kids’ resiliency is through sensory adoption skills. For those kids who are Zooming school, there’s a fair assumption that their connection with their bodies will be lower than ever. Any stress they feel throughout their Zoom day has the potential to get “stuck.” Stress is meant to move through us, and these options can help with that.

1. Make a sensory toolbox – We have a basket near where our kids “go to school” that they are encouraged to engage with during a class or when they need a break. This has items of different sizes, textures, and shapes. These don’t need to be anything store bought but just get creative with them. Our oldest made a homemade glitter snow-globe that helps her calm her breathing if needed.

The important piece of the sensory toolbox is it helps kids (or us) develop a better understanding of how our body deactivates stress or “activation.” That’s where step 2 comes in.

smart kid on computer
happy kid on computer
2. Include the phase, “How does that feel in your body?” – By continually connecting kids experiences to how their body is responding allows the connection of different parts of our brains. Often when kids turn their attentions to their body, the autonomic nervous system can take over and complete it’s job. Also help kids expand their language around this by simply Googling “Sensations Word List” and posting it somewhere. Additionally, at a family connection point of the day such as dinner or bedtime, we can ask our kids to identify 1 pleasant and 1 unpleasant sensation they experienced that day.
3. Learn how your kids get excited and settle  – I’m sure many of you notice behavior patterns that you’d like to go differently. Too often, adults try to transition kids’ (positive or negative) behaviors once it’s too late. We call this the “maximum fun rule.” This says that we attempt to transition kids while they still have a good amount of energy to be able to manage the upcoming change. By having a healthy cap on excitement, kids can leave an experience associating pleasant feelings with it. It’s up to parents and caregivers to make that call though.
unhappy teen not on computer
trauma proof kids

A couple last points:

  • Make it fun.
  • Give choices.
  • Make it a family affair.
  • Most of all, practice.

Lastly, sign up for our newsletter or like us on social media to learn of when we’ll be launching this new initiative to support parents and caregivers.

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