Here are some resources that you may find useful in supporting young children living with substance abuse and their families. Please share your own finds, too!
Early Childhood Professionals Resources from the National Association for Children of Alcoholics
This page includes a number of downloadable PDFs, including a manual that offers solid information about ways teachers can support the young children in their care who may be living with substance abuse. Of special interest might be tips for talking with children about addiction AND ways to address the family’s needs. There is also a parent handout on how to build resilience.
How Social and Emotional Learning Improves School Climate and Achievement
This is a well-written summary about social and emotional learning; it’s on the website of PATHS (Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies), a commercial program which helps teachers promote social and emotional learning in their classrooms.
Devereux Center for Resilient Children
Devereux has been working with children with social and emotional challenges for decades; the focus is now on assessing and building resilience. This website is loaded with resources and information for those who want to delve more deeply into resilience and how to promote it.
Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning
This website is a repository for research, practical strategies and training materials that support social and emotional learning for ALL young children. Such strategies are especially important for young COAs who may be getting inconsistent social and emotional messages at home.
SAMHSA Early Childhood Materials Page
SAMHSA is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, an office of the Federal government. Their website is filled with many links and resources for a wide variety of related issues. This link offers info on resources relevant to early childhood.
Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills with Children from Infancy to Adolescence
We know that executive function skills and self-regulation are often impacted by family substance use disorder and other trauma, AND that these skills can be protective factors against later mental health and academic challenges. This practical, readable guide from Harvard’s Center for the Developing Child is a jewel of a resource for parents and teachers. As it states on the website, “Executive function and self-regulation (EF/SR) skills provide critical supports for learning and development, and while we aren’t born with these skills, we are born with the potential to develop them through interactions and practice. This 16-page guide (available for download, below), describes a variety of activities and games that represent age-appropriate ways for adults to support and strengthen various components of EF/SR in children.
Each chapter of this guide contains activities suitable for a different age group, from infants to teenagers. The guide may be read in its entirety (which includes the introduction and references) or in discrete sections geared to specific age groups.” Scroll down the webpage linked above for specific pdfs for each age group!
Pennsylvania Recovery and Resiliency
This page has, literally, hundreds of links to a wide variety of resources related to Early Childhood Mental Health. While it is designed to support children, families and teachers in Pennsylvania, the majority of resources are relevant to anyone interested in social and emotional development in young children.
Of special interest might be the long list of available (and free to download) Focus on Early Childhood Mental Health handouts on topics ranging from aggression, to resilience, to attachment to play. Short and accessible, these can be printed and included in parent newsletters, or used to promote staff discussion. Here’s an example: Stress, Trauma and Early Brain Development.