Accident recovery is more than just looking at physical injuries and pain. While adults understand that accidents like car crashes or major breaks to limbs can cause us to mentally have to adjust, little children often need a bit more support.
Helping kids cope following an accident
As parents and caregivers, we all take all measures possible to keep our children safe from accidents and injury. However, even the best safety precautions may not always be sufficient to protect children from disturbing events such as an accident that could cause emotional trauma. Following a traumatic event, showing compassion, support, and reassurance to your child can help them feel protected, negotiate shock or even grief, and recover in a healthy way.
Here’ our top tips to follow these measures to help them calm down.
- Allow them to tremble as a natural recovery mechanism: Your child may well shake following an event that they find traumatic. Did you know it’s a good sign and a natural recovery mechanism to tremble after being involved in an accident? Some experts say trembling allows us to ‘ shake off’ the nervous energy from the adrenaline we get in stressful situations. Adults can process their own shock better if they tremble too.
- Encourage them to express their feelings and reactions: Talking through the event helps kids (and adults) to process the event. Making sure they feel heard and understood is important. But it also helps them verbalise what happened which helps them make sense of it for themselves.
- Stay close as they return to their normal routine to help them feel safe and secure: If your child seems a little more clingy than normal, that’s normal. They might need a few extra hugs and time together while their nervous system calms down.
- Create distractions with fun activities: getting outside in the sun and having a change of scene will help create distractions and get them back to normality.
- Model healthy coping strategies to help them deal with the after-effects of the accident: Sharing your feelings, and showing that you need time for extra sleep and recovery will normalise recovery behaviour. Try talking about how the event made you feel first. Then, get them to share a similar example. Take a nap together or suggest doing something fun for your benefit to share the journey.
We’re here to help with accident recovery
If your child has any signs of injury, don’t hesitate to come in and see us. We can check for signs of injury that might not be obvious like concussion, whiplash or fractures. Our team of specialists are there for ongoing care. Talk to us about our free ACC consultations services for under 14s.