Overcoming Childhood Fears: Practical Tips

Right from strangers to bad dreams, children can be scared of anything and everything. Most parents feel helpless when they see their children being afraid of something. They fail to understand why it is such a big deal for the children. 

Some of the things that children can get scared of are:

  • darkness
  • being alone
  • doctors
  • injections
  • masks or costumes

All these things are harmless. But only to the adults. 

Children are not grown-ups looking at the same old world. Nothing is routine to them.

Here are 7 things you can do to help children face what they’re scared of.

  1. Acknowledge their fears.

Don’t ever dismiss anything with words like: “There’s nothing to be scared of!” Or, “It’s nothing!” 

Tell them that you understand that something is bothering them. Once they know that you empathize, they’ll open up to you.

Running away from fears, avoiding things that one is scared of, or denying the existence of fear – none of these things help in overcoming fear.

  1. Share positive experiences.

Even after the things they’re scared of are removed, children continue to feel scared.

Talk to them about the good things that have happened to them and to the family as a whole.

  1. Narrate popular social and cultural examples.

All kinds of fairy tales, mythological stories and folk tales have examples of characters who acted courageously.

If you can’t think of one on the spot, make up one. You can borrow examples from movies and TV series too. Examples from such popular stories help children understand that fear is not something that’s happening to them alone.

  1. Slowly engage them in conversations about fear.
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If they’re scared of masks and mascots, think of how to get to talk to them about it. Assuming you know what they’re scared of, for sure.

In some cases, it takes a long time to figure out what the child is scared of.

  1. Discuss about fear and its effects and how to overcome it.

From the specific situation they’re scared of, move on to the idea of fear itself. Talk to them about fear is. Not just about the thing they are scared of.

The advantage is that they’ll start thinking about applying what they learn to other areas of life. If they’re scared of something at home, learning about overcoming it can help them be less scared for something at school.

  1. Turn negative situations into happy possibilities.

Fear is a negative experience. Turn the things they’re scared of into something positive if you can. 

For example, children are generally scared of vaccinations. Talk to them about the vaccine turning them into superheroes like Hulk or Spiderman. Children will think less about the injection and more about becoming strong.

  1. Help children anticipate the situation they’re scared of.

Children, like grown-ups, are less likely to be scared of what they know and what they’re already familiar with.

Talking to children about the eyedrops you’re going to put in their eyes will help them understand what exactly will be happening.

Tell them what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. They’ll be less scared this way.

Fear is a normal emotion. No parents can wish it away. But they can definitely make a tremendous difference in helping children cope with fear.

See also  Setting Goals with your Children

What is your child scared of? Which of the above situations can you use to help?

Read also:Some of the Fears and anxieties that your kid might be facing 

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