Before you start
Find out the details of a trained local counsellor who works with children. If children show signs of distress, stop the activity, comfort them and consider arranging for them to meet with the counsellor.
Idea 1: The safe place
A good place to start with children who have experienced something traumatic is to get them to draw a ‘safe place’. This activity is also useful for children who are becoming anxious.
Encourage the child to close his eyes and imagine a place where he feels very safe. This could be a real or imaginary place. Give him plenty of time to imagine this place; this might be difficult for recently traumatised children. Tell him that only the people he wants are there, and nothing bad can happen to him. Ask questions to help him create an image of the place, such as, ‘Have a look around. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? You are very happy and safe… What are you doing?’ Ask ‘What else?’ to encourage the child to give more details. When the child has finished imagining the place, he could draw or create it with colouring pens, pencils, paints or different materials. Encourage him to remember this place and think of it when he feels afraid or sad.