All children end up with fears at some stage. How you address them at this stage can help them to cope with the world not just today, but for the rest of their lives, and as such it is important to consider your actions before you take them so as to ensure they have the best possible impact.
One important thing to remember is that mocking or trivialising your child’s fear will not help them to deal with it. It only shows them that they are unable to come to you for help coping with things that frighten and daunt them, which is obviously the opposite of what you want to achieve. Listening carefully, even if you’ve heard the same story a million times before, will help them feel that you are a trusted ally in this problem.
That said, there is no reason to go too far. Be firm; these issues are not going to harm your child in the slightest, no matter what. They need to know that you are able to provide them with safety and protection from whatever it is they fear; this is the foundation of tackling these fears at all, and lies at the very core of your child’s ability to rise above their worries.
It can be frustrating when your child calls you up for the fifth time to talk about monsters under the bed, but don’t be tempted not to respond at all. Once again, they need to know they have your support. A calm response is also indispensable because your excitement tells them that there is something to be afraid of – even if you are simply angrily telling them to go to sleep. Being relaxed and calm is of the essence if you seek to transfer those feelings to your child.
Building a kit to repel whatever your child is afraid of is an excellent way to hand them the tools to cope with their fears themselves. Buy a child-sized flashlight and glue on some sparkles or stick on some stickers – customise it to suit your child, in other words. Mix some glitter with a small amount of sand and fill a salt shaker with it (all available from hobby and craft stores). With a little label you can designate this to be Monster-B-Gone or any other repellent, and then you can set up the routine.
Every evening, your child can sprinkle a small amount of Monster-B-Gone near likely monster entry-points – windows, doors and similar – in their room. The flashlight can stay on their bedside table, with the understanding that it is only to be used if they are willing to make any monsters completely disappear.
With a very small amount of money spent you can provide your child with the necessities required to face their fears well-equipped, which can easily help them regain their courage and put their concerns to bed.