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Children Exposed to Violence: Tips for Early Childhood Providers

NCJ Number
Date Published
3 pages
After explaining the importance of early childhood providers being prepared to identify and respond effectively to young children who have been exposed to violence, warning signs that such trauma has been experienced are outlined for various early-childhood age groups, and recommendations are presented for ways that early-childhood care and education providers can address this issue.
Early-childhood providers are among the first observers and receptors of children's verbal and nonverbal behaviors outside of their families. Given that early recognition and intervention for such trauma is critical in preventing or reducing its long-term adverse effects, it is important that early-childhood providers recognize the warning signs of such trauma. This paper outlines warning signs of exposure to violence for the following age groups: infants birth to 12 months, toddlers 13-16 months old, and preschoolers 1 1/2-5 years old. Seven recommendations are offered to guide early-childhood care and education providers. First, provide consistent routines and clear expectations for children's behavior. Second, learn about children by observing their daily routines and behavior to detect any changes. Third, help children identify, label, and express feelings. Fourth, help them feel they have control over their lives by providing opportunities for praise and achievement. Fifth, encourage and model nonviolent ways to interact with other children. Sixth, limit children's exposure to violent media. Seventh, learn to deal with difficult behavior such as fear of separation, breaking the rules, nightmares, and regression. In addition, advice is offered on when professional help is recommended for each of the early-childhood stages of development. 4 resource listings

Date Published: January 1, 2011