Trauma-Responsive Care for Infants and Toddlers

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Vea el Cuidado sensible al trauma para bebés y niños pequeños en español (View the Trauma-Responsive Care for Infants and Toddlers in Spanish)

Infant/toddler caregivers can support infants, toddlers, and their families who have experienced or who are at risk of experiencing trauma through a trauma-responsive, healing-centered approach.

A trauma-responsive approach recognizes and responds to the impact of traumatic stress on children, families, and caregivers by increasing trauma awareness, knowledge, and skills and incorporating these into program policies and practices. This approach also focuses on collaboration to maximize physical and psychological safety and support children’s and families’ ability to thrive. Whether you prefer worksheets, articles, slides, activities, exercises, videos, reflective questions, or graphics, there is a tool for you.

For further support regarding trauma-responsive care, connect with an Infant/Toddler Specialist from the Child Care State Capacity Building Center’s Infant/Toddler Specialist Network; please email [email protected]

iconTrauma-Responsive Care for Babies and Toddlers
This infographic explores trauma-responsive care and how infant/toddler providers can consider using a trauma-responsive approach.

iconChild Development and Trauma Guide
This resource may help caregivers integrate knowledge about infant/toddler development and child abuse and trauma. It highlights typical infant/toddler developmental milestones; possible indicators of trauma to look for along developmental trends; and supports caregivers can provide babies, toddlers, and preschool-aged children.

iconHow Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime Nadine Burke Harris
In this video, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris explains how childhood trauma affects health across a lifespan.

iconWhat Are ACEs? And How Do They Relate to Toxic Stress?
This infographic from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University offers information about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), toxic stress, and trauma.

iconToxic Stress Derails Healthy Development
This video from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University provides an overview of how toxic stress derails healthy development.

iconSupporting Babies and Toddlers on Their Path to Resilience
This infographic explores how infant/toddler providers can promote resilience and healing in babies and toddlers.

iconInBrief: How Resilience Is Built
This video by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University focuses on building resilience in children through supportive relationships with adults.

iconDevereux Early Childhood Assessment for Infants (DECA-I) Infants: 1–18 Months Old
This toolkit contains resources to support the development of infants’ and toddlers’ social-emotional health. The screening and assessment tool focuses on identifying key social-emotional strengths. The planning resources provide caregivers and parents with research-based strategies to promote children’s resilience.

iconDevereux Early Childhood Protective Factors (DECA-T) Toddlers: 18–36 Months Old
The Devereux Early Childhood Assessment for Toddlers (DECA-T) is a behavioral rating scale that is completed by parents or caregivers, or both, that assesses within-child protective factors that are central to social-emotional health and resilience in toddlers ages 18–36 months. This handout outlines a comprehensive list of internal protective factors caregivers can help foster in toddlers 18–36 months old.

iconActivities to Promote Resilience in Infants and Toddlers: Focusing on the Protective Factor of Attachment/Relationships
This resource highlights activities infant/toddler professionals can engage in with toddlers to promote infants’ and toddlers' attachment, initiative, and self-regulation, all protective factors known to support infant/toddler resilience.

iconCARE Reflective Checklists
This resource includes four reflective checklists that can help infant/toddler caregivers support the social-emotional quality of infant/toddler care settings. The reflective checklists will help adults reflect on social-emotional practices in the areas of connecting with families, activities and routines, responsive caregiving, and the caregiving environment.

iconOrdinary Magic: Lessons from Research on Resilience in Human Development
This article features several critical lessons learned from current research on resilience. The lessons learned that are highlighted in this article may guide infant/toddler practices and policies with the goal of promoting positive development among young children who are exposed to considerable risk or adversity

iconServe & Return Interaction Shapes Brain Circuitry
This video by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University focuses on the following: “One of the most essential experiences in shaping the architecture of the developing brain is ‘serve and return’ interactions between children and significant adults in their lives. Young children naturally reach out for interaction through babbling, facial expressions, and gestures, and adults respond with the same kind of vocalizing and gesturing back at them. This back-and-forth process is fundamental to the wiring of the brain, especially in the earliest years.”

iconTrauma-Responsive Care Strategies and Practices
This infographic shows the strategies and practices infant/toddler providers can consider to promote healing in babies and toddlers who are impacted by trauma.

iconEngaging in Meaningful Interactions
One sign of respectful and responsive relationships is that children and caregivers have a variety of meaningful interactions during their time together. This brief discusses ways to engage in meaningful interactions with the infants and toddlers in your care.

iconHow Every Child Can Thrive by Five
This TED Talk focuses on ways caregivers can support healthy brain development to help all kids thrive by the age of five.

iconSupporting the Development of Self-Regulation in Young Children: Tips for Practitioners Working with Infants in Classroom Settings
This resource focuses on infants and provides tips to help caregivers use coregulation to support early development of self-regulation skills in infants in child care settings. This is one of four early childhood practitioner tip sheets.

iconSupporting the Development of Self-Regulation in Young Children: Tips for Practitioners Working with Toddlers in Classroom Settings
This resource focusing on toddlers, provides tips to help caregivers use co-regulation to support early development of self-regulation skills in toddlers in childcare settings. This is one of four early childhood practitioner tip sheets.


iconInfant/Toddler Modules: Promoting Social and Emotional Competence
This inventory of practices for promoting infants’ and toddlers’ social-emotional competence, from the Pyramid Model, is designed as a reflective series of tools for individuals or teams to use to recognize effective practices, identify ongoing professional development needs, and plan a course of action to address those needs related to five target areas. It can help you think about the strategies to use to support emotional literacy, promote your relationships, and set up safe environments.

iconBooks About Feelings for Babies and Toddlers
Books have the potential to offer healing and therapeutic support for toddlers who have experienced trauma. This resource from Zero to Three offers a list of books that are appropriate for very young children.

iconChecklist of Early Childhood Practices That Support Social Emotional Development and Trauma-Informed Care
This checklist includes practices that will help guide your thinking about how to support the social-emotional development of young children who have experienced trauma.

icon123 Care Toolkit
The 1-2-3 Care Toolkit is intended to support caregivers on their journey toward trauma sensitivity. This resource is organized by topic, each offering a brief overview, specific tools you can use with children, and where to find more information.

iconPartnering with Families to Build Their Resilience
This infographic shows how infant/toddler providers can help build resilience in families impacted by trauma.

iconTrauma and Families: Fact Sheet for Providers
This fact sheet from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network is an informational tool for providers. It covers the impact of trauma on family relationships and explores how to support families in their access to family-informed trauma treatments

iconStrengthening Families and the Protective Factors Framework
This resource offers a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. It is based on engaging families, programs, and communities in building five key protective factors.

iconRelationship-Based Competencies to Support Family Engagement: Professional Development Assessment for Teachers and Child Care Providers
This resource is a professional development assessment tool that can support family engagement efforts and enhance professional knowledge, skills, and practices for teachers and child care providers.

iconThe Program for Infant/Toddler Care's (PITC) Six Essential Program Practices for Relationship-Based Care: Culturally Responsive Care
This resource provides a rationale for the practice—and the role—that culturally responsive care for infants and toddlers plays in helping promote positive child outcomes.

iconFamily Engagement and Cultural Perspectives: Applying Strengths-Based Attitudes
This resource explores how understanding the cultural perspectives of families can positively impact relationship-building and family engagement efforts.

iconPreparing for Challenging Conversations with Families
This resource shows that knowing how to discuss a challenging topic with a family can be a way to strengthen relationships and build trust.

iconRelationships Matter: Strengthening and Supporting Families
This video explores the layers of trust and relationships that need to be in place for primary prevention to work. Use the film to start conversations within your program and your community about how to create the types of environments that open doors, foster trusting relationships, and build supportive communities for families

iconParental Resilience: Protective & Promotive Factors
This action sheet provides key strategies that play a role in parental resilience. Parental resilience is a process that all parents need to effectively manage stressful situations and help ensure healthy and positive family outcomes.

iconBuild Relationships with Families
This video shows how educators can use various strategies to build strong relationships with families. A child’s social, emotional, cognitive, and academic development is strengthened when educators and families work together.

iconFostering Infant/Toddler Caregiver Resilience
This infographic explores infant/toddler caregiver protective factors and resilience.

iconNefertiti’s Top 5 Favorite Resilience-Building Strategies for Adults
This one-page resource highlights five resilience-building strategies for adults.

iconDevereux Adult Resilience Survey (DARS): An Introduction
This survey was created to support adults as they reflect on how to promote their own capacity for resilience.

iconCaring for Yourself in the Face of Difficult Work
This resource may help caregivers focus on themselves, as it lists 10 things to do each day and offers ways to focus on developing empathy.

iconThe Importance of Self-Care for Early Care and Education Professionals
This video features individuals from a variety of helping professions who describe why taking care of your own needs is so critical for preventing burn-out and ensuring long-term effectiveness. You can get ideas for taking care of yourself, both at home and at work.

iconKid President's Letter to a Person on Their First Day Here
This video offers some words of wisdom and encouragement to a person on their first day. Caregivers may use some of the messages shared to keep them smiling and as reminders of things to keep with them each and every day.