Young Children and Trauma

Our hearts hurt over the tragic shooting of so many innocent children and teachers in Texas. Head Start has provided information about trauma and children to help our children and families through this difficult time and resources to help you take action on gun violence. Click below to read more.

“Although no words can alleviate the tremendous grief the families, educators, and staff of the Robb Elementary School community are experiencing, NHSA conveys our sincerest condolences to those impacted by this horrific, numbing, and senseless act of gun violence.”
– NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci

Trauma and Young Children
The world can be a confusing, frightening place to young children. More than ever, the Head Start community needs accurate information and practical guidance for helping children and families through this difficult time.

This webinar features Ellen Galinsky, author of Mind in the Making and Chief Science Officer of the Bezos Family Foundation, for a discussion about trauma and young children. It covers:

  • How to care for your own well being
  • What trauma is, what causes it, and its potential effects on the brain and learning
  • How children and families might be thinking and feeling
  • Why your relationships with children and families are critical to promoting healing

Trauma happens when we are in a situation that is beyond our control and resources to handle it. Parts of our brain pump adrenaline and cortisol through our body to get us to respond: fight, flight, freeze, or fawn. These chemicals released in our body inhibit our ability to think clearly. But we can learn tools to manage. In the webinar, Ellen provides the following tips:

  • Be curious about yourself and your reactions; this moves us toward healing
  • Be curious about others; ask questions and think about how others think and feel
  • Look for support and, as Fred Rogers says, look for the helpers
  • Answer children’s questions according to their level of understanding
  • Assure children you are doing everything you can to keep them safe

Resources for Action:
NHSA mourns deeply for Uvalde, which has heartbreakingly been added to the list alongside Buffalo, Parkland, Newtown, and far too many other tragedies. It is our profound hope the outpouring of outrage and support brings both strength to the survivors and desperately needed change to our country.

  • Participate in the We Wear Orange campaign on June 3-5
  • Volunteer with Moms Demand Action
  • Read the NAACP’s Gun Violence Prevention brief
  • Read the League of Women Voters Gun Safety brief and visit their VOTE441 page to learn about elections happening near you
  • Read the PBS Kids and Fred Rogers Institute guides to help navigate talking with children
  • Find your local National Alliance on Mental Illness affiliate.

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