3–6 years old
Preschool and early school-aged children may think they caused the traumatic or stressful event. They may have bad dreams, not want to talk about their experience, act out, or be more emotional.
How to help your 3-6 year old cope:
- Remind them:
- They are safe.
- What happened is not their fault.
- They didn’t do anything wrong.
- Explain the event in simple words that will help your child understand what happened.
- Learn about your child’s feelings through play.
- Play is how children communicate and express their feelings and thoughts.
- Children may re-create the event while they play.
- Let your child lead the play.
- Provide a safe, calm environment for your child to talk about their feelings.
- Keep routines the same so your child knows what to expect each day.
- Reassure your child that their experiences at the hospital will help their body get better, even though it may be difficult or scary.
- Read with your child. Reading can provide a calm environment and physical closeness with you.
A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret Holmes is a helpful book for this age group.