12 Things To Do To Ease Your Childs Fears
It’s safe to say that every child at some point has faced a reoccurring fear. Most of the time, these fears are a normal part of childhood. As their parent, we feel the overwhelming urge to comfort them and ease their fears. However, sometimes this isn’t as easy as a task as it may sound. Sometimes though, we need to fight this primal urge as there are types of “good” fear. We teach our children to be wary of strangers, not run out in front of cars, or touch a hot stove because it will hurt them. This teaches them the fear of a specific result, and is much different from an imaginary fear, like the monster hiding under the bed. Some tactics you can use to help soothe your child in the case of imaginary fears are:
1. Staying calm and focused
It’s very important that you, as the parent and caregiver to your child, stay calm. Children pick up on their parents’ anxiety, fears, anger, disappointment, etc. While they are frightened, the emotion they need to feel from you is love and comfort.
2. Try to explain the situation to them
Sometimes, children just need things explained to them in words and thoughts they understand and from someone that cares about them. Try explaining that the scary monster on TV was just a man in a costume like they wear on Halloween.
3. Be (somewhat) blunt
Don’t deny that the fear they feel is real, or disregard it. Because whether you feel that way, they do. However, be blunt in telling them that there really isn’t anything to be afraid of and that the monster isn’t real, nor can the dark hurt them.
4. Keep your explanations age-appropriate
When your child is young, like a toddler or an in the lowest grades of school, like kindergarten, they need short and easy explanations with a reassurance that you love them and will be there for them. Anything more becomes muddled and a jumble, and they lose focus and go back to their fear. Middle school kids have a lot easier when coming to grips with their fears since they can easily grasp their native language and understand many of the topics being spoken about. For all children of any age, make sure to encourage them to talk about their thoughts and feelings, and let them know you are always there to listen!
5. Make sure to “over” focus on them
Tell them you love them and how special they are to you. Go overboard during their times of fear. Fear is a strong emotion, and just a small pat on the back often isn’t enough.
6. Take the time to talk to your kids
Take the time out of your busy schedule to sit down and talk to your kids. Ask them if anything bothers them, and if something is scaring them, listen and try and work out a solution together.
7. Stay close to your child
Your first instinct will always be to hold and hug your child to comfort them, but don’t leave them once they seem to have calmed down. Some children may or may not wish to continue to have physical contact (and some may be fine and continue on their merry way) but if they seem off still, just being in the same room for a little while longer can help them feel a lot more comfortable, and will help them settle.
8. Limit your child’s TV time
If it’s scary monsters and terrifying dreams that they are frightened of, consider shortening their tv time. Now you may wonder how a child that watches cartoons only may come up with the scary scenarios. Still, all it takes is a flash of something else and remembering a friendly cartoon monster that suddenly becomes not so friendly during the sleep time hours.
9. Keep a normal routine
If your child is suffering from scary dreams and the fear of going to sleep at night, try keeping a normal and constant routine. Sometimes children are just stressed and need the comfort of their normal everyday lives.
10. Spend some special and quality time playing quietly before bedtime
Doing something with you will help ease them, and doing something calming like reading or playing with some toys in soft voices, can help prep your child for bed and make it a lot easier to handle.
11. Make sure you keep an eye on your child’s physical health
When kids aren’t eating or sleeping right or filled with anxiety or stress, it can show itself in many ways. One of which is to develop sometimes irrational fears that they have never experienced before. And if they are currently experiencing any anxiety or fears, sometimes a healthy diet and fresh air and exercise can do them a world of good.
It may go without saying and generally be considered common sense, but it can sometimes be difficult to master. If you yourself have an irrational fear (the fear of clowns is a common one), try and do your best not to project that fear upon your child. Children are very receptive to how their parents feel, and if you are scare of something, their brains teach them that they should be too. After all, we lead by example.
Suppose you have tried everything and tapped all your resources and ideas, and your child still seems to have a deep rooted fear that boarders on or tips into obsession, that has begun to affect their lives. In that case, the best course of action is to make an appointment with your family doctor or pediatrician and seek outside help in doing what’s best for your child.