There are so many things in life that can be scary when you are a small child. Things that are new, big, fast, loud…you get the idea. Part of my job is to help children work through their fears, and while I can’t always predict what might frighten a child, there are some constants among children.
I’m not going to go over a whole list, you already know what they are. Just think for a moment about the why…just for a minute. Sometimes, a child is startled by an unexpected stimulus, has an experience that led to a negative association, and sometimes fear is learned from the child’s environment. By environment, I include their physical surroundings as well as the social surroundings like parents and caregivers.
You may wonder where I’m going with this…it’s simple: be thoughtful about how you respond to “scary things”. My favorite example of this is a thunderstorm…a beautiful natural phenomenon that can be frightening or magical. So here’s the favor: teach your children to love the thunderstorm.
When we were kids, my mom would all call us outside to the porch to watch the rain careen down the street (we lived on a hill). We would wrap up in blankets and sit on the porch floor with our backs against the house. Sometimes, she would make us popcorn to eat while we watched the lightening and listened for the thunder. It was a wonderful routine that still conjures fond memories…I can still hear one of her favorite songs that she’d play after the storm. Check it out here!