Gaensbauer suggest that play therapy may be useful. Caregivers can use dolls, play materials and toy airplanes to create a scene that helps the child to conceptualize and develop a narrative around what happened.
Over and above providing reassurance and empathy, caregivers need to help children understand that the experience was unique, "so they're not living with this undercurrent of anxiety that no matter where I am, suddenly, for reasons I don't understand, something terrible can happen, and someone can come along and hurt me."
It's important to make the unconscious conscious, within the bounds of children's understanding, says Gaensbauer. At age 2, a child does not understand what happened, but with the wisdom, care and support of his loved ones, over time, he will.