Putting The Monsters To Bed: 5 Ways To Help Address Your Child's Fears
Fear is never fun, but all children will experience this spine-tingling sensation at some point in their lives. Thankfully, there are plenty of strategies parents can use to teach their little ones how to deal with this overwhelming emotion. I’m giving you my five fantastic fear-busting tips!
Fear is never fun, but all children will experience this spine-tingling sensation at some point in their lives. Thankfully, there are plenty of strategies parents can use to teach their little ones how to deal with this overwhelming emotion. The earlier you address these fears, the more likely your child will feel in control of his or her emotional life.
Keep reading to discover my five fantastic fear-busting tips!
Find the Origin of Your Child's Stress
Whenever you notice your child may be on edge, put on your detective gear and try to figure out what exactly is causing these fearful reactions. Discovering what sparked your child's anxiety will make it easier to address whatever is on their mind. Figuring out the root cause of their fears will also help them make a clear connection between the stressful event and their distressing emotions.
Be sure to ask your child if he or she can remember when or how these fears started. You could also ask your child to draw a picture if they're struggling to express their fear with words.
Use Reason to Soothe Those Shivers
Once you've discovered the root cause of your child's worries, you should provide a clear & logical explanation for their fears. Even if you don't have the exact answers to their questions, the simple act of talking through it can be incredibly soothing for them.
Just be careful not to belittle your child's fears as you attempt to rationalize them! While you may have the urge to point out how most of these fears are irrational, you also want to validate your little one’s emotions.
One great way to gently weaken kiddos’ fears is to provide them with a few specific examples. For instance, if your child is afraid you won't come back after putting them to bed, then remind them of all the nights you've left them before and returned the next morning! This will help them associate happiness with this feeling instead of fear.
Create A Judgment-Free “Safe Space”
As your little one opens up about his or her fears, remind them that they are in a safe space when talking to you. Your child should ALWAYS feel unashamed when sharing what's on their mind. Whatever your child expresses, be sure to affirm his or her experience as real and natural. This will help to create a beautiful foundation of trust between you and your baby!
When children feel judged, it's far less likely they will fully express their emotions. Indeed, some children might mistakenly believe their fears are something to be ashamed of and could end up repressing these emotions in the future. By creating a safe space, you greatly reduce the risk your child will hide their feelings from you.
Tailor Your Advice to Your Child’s Age
Of course, how you work through fearful emotions will differ depending on your child's age. Try your best to use age-appropriate language, especially when dealing with complex issues like events in the news. Always take into account what your child should and should not know and how to best phrase your answers.
Reassure Your Child You Will Always Be There
Whatever is upsetting your child, always offer them your undivided attention and support. Also, let your child know that fear is perfectly normal and nothing to ever be ashamed of. Reassuring your baby that everything will be OK will take a massive weight off of their little shoulders and create feelings of happiness and calmness - which is exactly where you want them to be.