We are watching a beautiful movie with our children; we went on the safe side by choosing a film suitable for the whole family. But suddenly a strange character appears on the screen and the child is afraid. What to do?
We know that it is only a film and that what the child sees is not real. His understanding of the world and his reasoning skills, however, are not yet fully developed. For this reason it can be very helpful to explain that what you see or hear in the film is fiction, so it does not pose a real threat.
Now, suppose that as much as we explain to the child that what he saw is not real, he continues to be afraid. What to do? We could stop watching, for example. But let’s not forget that fear could settle, consciously or unconsciously, in his mind.
We used the example of a film, but the fears of children are many. It is common for them to show up in the evening and at night, in the dark, when our children have to sleep alone. And we could continue with the fear of strangers, of leaving the house … They are varied according to the personality of the child.
What to do if the child is afraid
Childhood fears are common, but little ones need to feel protected. This way they will have more self-confidence and easily overcome unmotivated fears. To this end, the work of parents, family members, teachers and educators is crucial.
Avoid unmotivated fears
First, what we avoid unnecessarily frightening the child, by telling him, for example, that if he does not go to sleep, the black man will take him away. Let us explain clearly that the characters of a story, a film or a cartoon are nothing more than this: fictional figures who have no contact with the real world, or at least not in that sense.
Is the child afraid? Let’s not underestimate it
Let’s remember empathy. We cannot think that the child uses the same faculties as adults to interpret the world. We must be understanding, do not underestimate the problem and, above all, do not make fun of the child if he is terrified of a situation that seems trivial to us.
Do not increase the child’s fears
If the child is afraid, it is important to give him confidence. It is best not to ignore his fears or lie to him. Sincerity and honesty will help him not to suffer. As far as possible, one must confront his fear with reality, so that he can see that it is not as terrible as it seems.
Don’t force him to face his fears
When the child is afraid of something, forcing him to face it is not the best solution. We could, in fact, have the opposite effect and make the situation worse. So let’s not force him to see a movie he doesn’t want to see, to pet a dog, ride a roller coaster or listen to a scary story, to give some typical examples.
Don’t pass on your fears to children
It is equally important that the fears of the parents remain such. If you think that the child can easily inherit them, you will have to deal with them to reduce them and avoid suffering from them.
Do not scold the child who is afraid
When we see that the child is afraid of something we consider nonsense, we may fall into the error of calling him a “coward”, “child”. It’s not a good idea. Not only does it not help him, but it will make him feel more alone and misunderstood.
Don’t leave him alone
It is not good for the child to face his fear alone. Being alone in the dark in his bedroom only increases his anxiety and perpetuates his fears.
Don’t exaggerate the fear
It is not fair even to exaggerate his fears. He must feel understood, but exaggerated expressions or excesses will lead him to believe that the danger is greater than you think.
Don’t ignore the child who is afraid
Obviously, don’t ignore the baby. Use understanding, look for the most logical way to explain the situation to him, help him deal with the problem. We can judge what he feels as a threat, but not his fear (which is perfectly reasonable compared to his perception).
How to help him?
What to do when the child is afraid? Here are some tips to put into practice, to complete what we have already said.
- Understanding : It is important to speak frankly with the child, showing that it is not wrong to be afraid, but that fear can be overcome.
- Support. Offer your support and help him as you can.
- Rationalize through dialogue.
- Calm down. By keeping it, you will also help the baby to calm down.
- Proximity. It is time to be closer to him than ever, he must know that you will always be there in the most difficult moments.
These steps will help you react correctly when your child is feeling scared. If the situation persists, it may be helpful to seek advice from a specialist.