Five ways to ease your child’s worries and fears
Reverse the roles
Fear of masks, or anyone in a costume – when someone is not what they seem – is common and unpredictable. So, if daddy in a Halloween mask produces a scream, have dad take it off, then let your child touch it, explore it then put it on to spook you both.
Talk about it
Good listening skills are essential. Sit down and chat during the day, so it’s not odd to talk about your child’s worries.
Look for tell-tale signs
Some children won’t want to let on what they are afraid of, in case it worries you. Sleeplessness, tummy pains, headaches and nightmares might all be clues. (See five childhood anxieties and how to banish them)
Set an example
Anxiety can be infectious and even runs in families, so if you wear your fears on your sleeve your child may pick up on how you respond to fears and anxiety. To break the cycle, don’t pretend that you never have fears, worries and concerns. Instead, set a good example by showing your child how you face up to your fear by dealing with it rather than avoiding it.
Praise and attention are one of the most effective ways to influence a child’s behaviours. Giving simple rewards – making cakes together for instance – are a good way to show how well they have done when reaching specific goals.