Building Resilience


  • Allow for reenactment play with puppets or "dress ups”
  • Encourage drawing, painting, and expressive arts
  • Help children make memory books to work through grief and loss
  • Read age-appropriate books with healing themes aloud
  • Encourage children to participate in making wreaths or cards for family
  • In the aftermath of a natural disaster, the class can work on a mural of what happened, and later draw the rebuilding of the community
  • Preschool-age children can participate in simple mourning rituals in school such as placing a flower in the deceased student’s spot or desk.
  • Preschool children can and should be offered a discussion time similar to a debriefing, but the time frame will be short and the steps simplified. For example, going around in a circle sharing what you heard, and secondly, what you felt or thought, will likely be all that they can attend to. They do need information about typical trauma reactions put in a framework that they can understand, as many of them will have trauma related symptoms and need reassurance that their experience is normal (nightmares, flashbacks, startle responses, etc.). Preschool-age children may need to work on activities as they talk (drawing, play dough, etc.).