Sometimes as parents we don’t really know how to handle things such how to talk to your kids about their fears. Those little people didn’t come with a parenting handbook or manual! At least mine didn’t so if you have one, kindly pass it on. All kids have some sort of fears at one point or another, whether it be the boogeyman hiding under his bed, scary Halloween decorations or the loud thunderstorm, how do you discuss their fears with them? Check out my tips for how to talk to you kids about their fears.
Talk to your kids about their fears
What are kids most afraid of?
Movies and tv shows: Even kid shows and movies can be scary. I was a little hesitant to let my daughter watch the movie Goosebumps. I thought for sure I would be called in at all hours of the night with songs of ‘I can’t sleep mommy’. I think we do a pretty good job of telling her during possible scary parts that it is just a movie, she likes to agree with us and give her own explanation as to how is it not scary. Communication is key!
Nightmares and scary dreams: Nothing is scarier than a child who wakes from a nightmare. I have had to deal with this only a handful of times so far and it wasn’t too bad. Dreams can feel so real to any of us, especially children. Talk about their dream or nightmare, validate how that can be scary. My daughter often dreams of losing me or being lost herself and that is very scary to her. I just reassure her that yes that scary but it was only a dream and I am right here with her.
Thunderstorms: this is a fear that I have, and as a mom, I have to keep it in check. I have to try hard to not show my daughter that thunder and lightning scare me. Is this a rational fear? Well, I like to think so, but probably not when you look at the statistics. Loud thunder noises can scare anyone (ever see a dog in a thunderstorm?) Distractions are always good. If it is not bedtime, play a game. Even more fun if you lost power! Card games and board games by candle light! (or battery operated lantern these days I guess). The idea is to let your kids know that the loud booming sounds thunder makes, is nothing to be afraid of. The lightning is just a cool light show!
You have fears too
Whether you think their fear is silly or not, it is real to them. Sometimes I feel like my daughter’s fear of something is a little silly. Just last night she wanted me in the bathroom with her while she brushed her teeth because she was scared. Of what I am not sure, maybe there is some tooth bug monster I never met as a child? I simply told her I would be in there in a minute and to get started without me, she would be fine. And she did.
In my role as a mom for the last 7 years, I have discovered that I am what my child needs to feel safe. There have been many nights where she has been afraid to be alone in bed at night. Simply by having me there (at times, not all the time) she was asleep in no time. She felt safe and secure and no longer feared whatever was scaring her.
Kids are a blank slate, and it is our job as parents to help them grow and face their fears and learn to handle them. A lot of it comes with age; as your child grows, some fears will fade and others may appear. Just be the constant in their life they can depend on and talk to.