Most kids get excited about Halloween. Who wouldn’t with free sweets? And dressing-up is always fun. But even with the fun costumes or the trick-or-treat, there are some kids who are afraid of the holiday because of the boogeyman and other childhood monsters. This can ruin the festivities. Instead of enjoying the holiday, kids end up getting anxious and fearful.
How You Can Help
The five tips enumerated here are among the most effective. These are believed to help kids gradually overcome whatever it is that they are afraid of without having to force them to do so.
1. Let kids express their fears. Crying, screaming, and even getting angry are usual ways to release distress. If your child manifests any of these because of fear, scolding or reprimanding will not do any good. It will just heighten the emotions. This is how your child wants to express his fears, so allow him to do so. More often than not your child will feel a lot calmer and less scared afterwards. And after the fear has subsided that the child would be more willing to listen and agree with you when you try to explain what’s going on.
2. Talk about it. When you and your child are spending time together, encourage a pleasant conversation about what they are afraid of. Listen carefully and be patient. Don’t interrupt and try to keep the conversation going. Just like adults, talking about something can help determine what’s causing the anxiety.
3. Be honest with your child. When they are scared of something, children often want honest answers from you. They need to feel safe and secure about their fears. We often get tempted to just lie to them and make them feel better. But the best and most effective way that they can successfully overcome what scares them is for us to be honest with them. Tell them the truth. If they are scared of dogs, tell them that some dogs do bite and are quite scary, but other dogs are friendly.
4. Don’t indulge their fears. Allowing your child to express fear doesn’t mean you should indulge it. Give you child a few minutes and talk it over. Give time to release the tension as caused by fear, then gently but firmly tell them to stop. Doing so will let them know that you understand how they’re feeling but that it’s not healthy to dwell and focus on it. Talk to them about it or distract them with a fun activity.
5. Teach your child to be rational. I have highlighted the importance of talking things over with your child. When doing so, teach your child to think rationally. Don’t just tell them; teach them. You can ask probing questions to help find out the root of the fear, and figure out a solution together. You can also ask questions that help come up with a rational conclusion about their fears. Talk about simple solutions and things that they can do so they wouldn’t be scared anymore.
It’s not much about removing the fear; it’s about teaching them a healthy way of dealing with it. More so, doing this will not only help them in dealing with monsters and aliens but also prepare them in facing “scary” or challenging things as they grow older.
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Ryan Rivera is the founder and publisher of calmclinic.com. He is an anxiety survivor who spends his time helping people with anxiety deal with the condition the natural and easy way.