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Childhood fears

How to teach children to overcome their fears

Fear is a natural and beneficial feeling for anyone, whether child or adult. We, adults and especially those of us who are parents, should not ignore or fail to address the fears of our little ones. Our children’s fears, apart from worrying us excessively, should help us predict a certain degree of maturity in them, the awareness that has occurred in them, through their experience and their memories, of certain unpleasant events.

Being afraid is common in children. Fear is one of the most basic human emotions. Children’s fears are evolutionary, that is, they change according to the age of the child. The key is to learn to overcome them each at the time and at the age at which they appear, preventing them from becoming stagnant and preventing the child from accumulating fears throughout his or her growth.

Normally we talk about the appearance of childhood fears at the age of two, because at this age the fantasy and imagination of children take center stage; But that doesn’t mean that children don’t have fears before.

At one year old, most of their fears have to do with fear of being abandoned, fear of strangers or strangers, and sudden shocks.

Between the ages of two and four, fear of animals, darkness, masks and costumes, and losing sight of parents predominate.

Between the ages of four and six, the fear of darkness and animals persists, and fears of catastrophes, pain, blood, and imaginary beings appear.

Adults tend to avoid “fears” out of overprotection, this is an ill-advised attitude, because if fear is avoided, the issue is put aside and strategies are never created to overcome it. Therefore, we cannot allow children to avoid the situation of fear, we have to face them little by little, giving them resources, giving them small techniques, with an adult by their side, who serves as a reference, who offers them security.

Here are some strategies:

  • It is essential not to scold them or force them to change their attitude.
  • Downplay them but without ignoring them.
  • Transmit affection, protection, tranquility and trust.
  • Face the problem with your child. When he is not able to do something alone, try doing it with him so he can check that nothing is happening. If, for example, he doesn’t want to enter his room in the dark, shake his hand and go in with him.
  • When your child is going through a scary situation, try to distract him with games, but always tell him the truth. Sometimes it is the unknown and the lack of information that causes your child’s fears. If he gets scared by stories about ogres, witches, etc., tell him that all the characters do not exist in reality and that they only live in stories and movies.
  • Help him evaluate his level of fear himself and provide him with strategies so that, little by little, he can overcome it (breathe deeply, think about pleasant things, remember why he is out of danger, etc.).

At School we work on emotions, so that they know how to recognize them and through motivating activities and resources, such as stories, theaters, recreational material related to the topic, we help them channel them in a positive way. To finish this article I tell you one of the activities we do in the classroom. We have created “the box of fears”, with which we play to guess sounds, somewhat peculiar objects and in a fun way we try to help them overcome everyday fears.

Marisa Serralta Martinez

Pedagogical Coordinator

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