The Effects of Trauma on Young Children and Ways to Support Resilience

Plenary Session

The Effects of Trauma on Young Children and Ways to Support Resilience

Speaker(s): Joy Osofsky
Tue, Jun 25, 2024 | 9:30 - 10:30am CDT

About this session

Young children continue far too often to be exposed to ongoing traumas of abuse and neglect, exposure to domestic violence and substance use. In the past three years, the additional traumas from COVID-19 including death of parents or caregivers, financial hardship, and increased stress in families have contributed to more child distress.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been estimated that in the United States, more than 240,000 children lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19. In comparison with natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many more losses without needed support. These losses can be devastating for development and long-term well-being of young children leading to emotional and behavioral dysregulation, regression in sleeping, eating, toileting, difficulties with attachment and separations, and mental health issues that may increase over time without supportive interventions. Racial and ethnic disparities in caregiver loss have also been identified.  Relationships with caring adults are very important to support resilience.  Support for caregivers and children accompanied by positive early childhood and community settings can play key roles in supporting resilience by being present, emotionally available, and listening to the children.  

Learning objectives

  1. Participants will learn about the effects of trauma on young children including the significant impact of losses during the COVID-19 pandemic including the inequities in losses
  2. Listeners will gain more information about how trauma can impact on young children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.
  3. Participants will understand more about strategies that can be implemented to support resilience in young children and families.