The Parenting Post: Child Fears + Feeling Brave

Do you have a parenting hurdle you’re working through? If so, “The Parenting Post” is for you! One of our writers, Albiona, has been answering all of YOUR parenting questions over on IG, and we’ve turned her series into blog posts on our website as well. We just can’t get enough of her helpful advice, and we thought you’d appreciate it, too!

Her videos cover a wide variety of parenting questions–honestly, anything and everything! If it’s something you’re wondering, there’s a really good chance that another parent in our community is struggling with it, too. And Albiona is here to help!

This week, she’s focusing on our kids’ fears. Specifically–fears around monsters. It’s something that can feel so real to kids, and we need to validate how they feel while also reminding them that they are safe.

How do I help my child work through their fears around monsters?

Fears become more prevalent in kids as they start to move through the toddler phase into the preschool/early elementary phase. This happens simply because they know more. And, they are starting to understand more. They’re connecting more dots, and realizing that things could go wrong or backfire. Once they start to recognize these things, they start to become more fearful.

Also, kids aren’t always clear on what’s real and what’s not real in the same way that an adult is. So for them, monsters can feel very real depending on what experience they’ve had with it–did they see it in a show? Or, was a sibling or friend talking about it?

The difficult thing with this, as a parent, is that we don’t really know exactly what it is that they’re conjuring up in terms of what “monster” means. But, we know we want to really, really be there for them and hear them out.

Don’t  be nonchalant about it–instead, validate.

Sometimes, parents might be nonchalant about their child’s fear of monsters, or they might brush it off a bit like it’s not a big deal. But the truth is this: to our kids, it’s a big, real fear. So, we want to validate it–without supporting the realness of it. We want to be there for our kids, and listen to what their fear is. But we don’t want to say that we’re scared of monsters too, or that it’s a scary thing.

We need to be a little more careful in how we talk to our kids about this because the truth is, it’s not real. And we want to show them exactly that. This can be something as simple as saying, “Monsters aren’t real, but fear is real. It’s good that you came and talked to me about this, because we can come up with a plan to help us so that we can work through it!”

Perform a bedtime monster check!

Fear is real, but the thing your child might be afraid of is not quite so real. So, one idea is to perform a monster check at night, before bedtime. Give your child a flashlight, and together, you can search the whole house (or wherever they want to search), letting them take the lead. Allow them to look anywhere and everywhere that they want to, turn their flashlight on, and check for monsters.

Usually, kids will look under everyone’s bed. Or the closet. Maybe a kitchen cabinet. You can have a good laugh with it and make it playful and silly. Eventually, they’ll start to feel playful and silly with it too, and that fear that they had will start to lose its hold on them.

Ask your child what they need.

You can also simply ask your child what they need. Do they want a lamp in their room that emits more light than a night light? If it’s not too distracting, go ahead and plug one in. Would a dream catcher help them with bad dreams? Make one together. Do they have a favorite stuffed animal? Remind them to look at it every time they’re scared.

It’s also important to remind your child of all the things that YOU will do to make sure that they are safe. Remind them that you lock the doors, and that you practice really good safety rules. Tell them that your job is to keep them safe, and that you are always aware and doing that.

They might also want a flashlight to keep in bed next to them at night. A lot of times, having it there empowers kids to feel like they can check at any moment if something is going on. And once they work thought it enough nights in a row, enough times in a row, and they start to see that it’s really not there, they feel seen and heard. And they’ll feel better.

Fear is a natural thing as kids get older. Even though it doesn’t always feel tangible or realistic to talk about the fear they might have, we have to remember that it is very real to them. So we want to handle it in a very real way.

Do you have more parenting questions for Albiona? Leave them below so she can possibly answer them for you. To learn more, you can follow Albiona on Instagram. Or, subscribe to her weekly newsletter and download her free guide for teaching parents how to get their kids to listen.

Looking for more parenting advice? Our previous Parenting Post blog post covered how to create an optimal sleep environment for your child!


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