Creative Child

Dealing with a child fears

by Sarah Lyons

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Teach coping skills

Each time your child is afraid, give a wide variety of options they can use to overcome their fears. A child may be able to calm down by singing a song, hugging a stuffed animal, telling a joke, or declaring that monsters aren’t real. Giving your child the tools they need to face their fears while also reassuring them you are always there to help them allows them to try handle their fear on their own knowing that you have their back if it doesn’t work out. Stephanie Loux, mom of three, says “I also keep the wins in my back pocket to remind them of past successes. It encourages them try new things because they remember how well it worked out in the past.” This technique works great for scary situations such as trying a roller coaster, speaking in front of a crowd, or trying a new extracurricular activity.

Reward for bravery

As you see your child overcome fears or at least make efforts to face the things that scare them, reward them for their bravery. Giving positive feedback and acknowledging their efforts will encourage your child to keep trying to confront the things that cause them fear and anxiety. A parent’s praise can really build a child’s confidence so they are prepared to face a variety of challenges.

As you work these steps with your child, continue to be patient and supportive. “When our kids are scared we let them know Mommy and Daddy are bigger and tougher than anything scary. And we will always protect them.” says Amy Cameron, Olathe mother of three “We have defeated monsters in the dark by reassuring them that as parents, we make the rules and there are no monsters allowed in our house.” It is normal to have fears and it is appropriate to explain this to your child. As scary situations arise, encourage your children to share their feelings with you so that you can deal with them together.

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Books to Help Kids Face Their Fears

  • Scaredies Away! A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Worry and Anxiety (Made Simple) by Stacy Fiorile
  • Chicken Lily by Lori Mortensen
  • Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson
  • There’s an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer
  • First Day Jitters by Julie Danneburg
  • The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone
  • The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
  • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams
  • Curious George Goes to the Hospital by H. A. Rey
  • The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright

Sarah Lyons is a stay at home wife and mother of six children, including 18 month old triplets. Using creative consequences with her kids has improved their behavior and encourages healthy relationships with each other.

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