ACEs Aware Self-Care Tool for Pediatrics
When a child or teen has experienced significant Adverse Childhood Experiences
(ACEs), their body may make more or less hormones than is healthy. This can lead
to problems with a child s physical and/or mental health, such as asthma, poor
growth, depression, or behavior problems. Safe, stable, and nurturing relationships
and environments where children feel safe emotionally and physically can
protect children s brains and bodies from the harmful effects of stress. You can
help your child be healthier by managing your own stress response and helping
your child do the same. Healthy nutrition, regular exercise, restful sleep, practicing
mindfulness, building social connections, and getting mental health support can
help to decrease stress hormones and prevent health problems. Here are some
goals your family can set together to support your child s health. [Check the goals
that you are picking for yourself and your family!]
Healthy relationships. We ve set a goal of...
Using respectful communication even when we are upset or angry
Spending more high-quality time together as a family, such as:
Having regular family meals together
Having regular no electronics time for us to talk and/or play
Talking, reading, and/or singing together every day
Making time to see friends to create a healthy support system for
myself and our family
Connecting regularly with members of our community to build social
Asking for help if a relationship or environment feels physically or
emotionally unsafe
The National Domestic Violence hotline is 800-799-SAFE (7233)
The National Sexual Assault hotline is 800-656-HOPE (4673)
To reach a crisis text line, text HOME to 741-741
Create your own goal: ______________________________________
Updated 08-25-2020
Exercise. We ve set a goal of...
Limiting screen time to less than one hour per day
Walking at least 20 minutes every day
Finding a type of exercise that we enjoy and doing it together as a
Getting my child involved in a sport, dance class, or other form of
regular exercise
Create your own goal: ______________________________________
Nutrition. We ve set a goal of...
Eating a healthy breakfast daily (with protein, whole grains, and/or
Drinking water instead of juice or soda
Eating at least 5 vegetables and/or fruits every day
Choosing whole wheat bread and brown rice instead of white bread
or rice
Create your own goal: ______________________________________
Sleep. We ve set a goal of...
Turning off screens 30 minutes before bedtime
Helping my child go to bed at the same time every night
Making a routine of reading a book to my child before bed (or, if older,
letting my child read to me)
Creating a calm place for sleep
Using mindfulness or other stress reduction tools if worry is keeping my
child up at night
Create your own goal: ______________________________________
Updated 08-25-2020
Mindfulness. We ve set a goal of...
Taking moments throughout the day to notice how we re feeling, both
physically and emotionally
Finding at least one thing to be thankful for each day
Practicing mindful breathing or other calming technique(s) during
stressful situations
Creating a regular routine of prayer, meditation, and/or yoga
Downloading a mindfulness app and doing a mindfulness activity
every day
Create your own goal: ______________________________________
Mental health. We ve set a goal of...
Having a conversation as a family about emotional and mental health
Learning more about mental health treatment options (e.g.,
counseling, therapy, psychiatric services)
Identifying a local mental health professional
Scheduling an appointment with a mental health professional or
keeping regular appointments
If I am feeling like I or my child is in crisis, I will get help
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-TALK (8255)
To reach a crisis text line, text HOME to 741-741
Create your own goal: ______________________________________
Updated 08-25-2020
Remember, the most important ingredient for healthy kids is a healthy caregiver.
Here are some other goals that you can set for yourself to help your whole family
be healthier.
Self-Care. I ve set a goal of...
Making a plan for what to do when I m feeling stressed out, angry, or
Planning with my partner, friends, or family to get the support I need
Seeking help if I am not emotionally or physically safe
Making regular appointments with my medical provider(s), including
for preventive care
Getting my ACE score and talking to my medical provider about how
to improve my health
Identifying my strengths and learning more about building resilience
Create your own goal: ______________________________________
For more information, please visit:
From First 5 California:
From the American Academy of Pediatrics:
From ACEs Aware:
Mental Health:
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):
o 1-800-950-NAMI (6264); Crisis Text Line Text NAMI to 741-741
Updated 08-25-2020