Halloween is a very special time of year, both exciting and scary, so it’s a great time to talk about childhood fears. Even dragons get scared.
At this age, fears are common, like monsters, the dark, loud noises, and unfamiliar people. Some of these fears are real and some are imaginary. Sometimes to adults, they seem baffling. We can understand being afraid of loud noises, separated from parents, and dark rooms but kids can be afraid of ordinary things. For several months, Big Sister was afraid of the sound of toilets flushing. Once, when it was flushed, the toilet plugged up and the water overflowed. This was really scary to her and she associated that fear with the sound.
In the article, Monsters Under the Bed: Understanding Kid Fears at Parents.com, the writer explains that kids are most fearful about 4 to 5 years old. Dreams can be particularly scary. Little Sister explained to me that if I came into her room at night and couldn’t find her, that was because she was in her dream. I would have to call really loud for her to hear me. Dreams and nightmares happen in the dark and it’s so easy to feel disoriented and confused.
While fears are a normal part of childhood, there are things we can do to help kids handle fears. For instance, a spray bottle with some water and food coloring makes monster spray. When kids are scared of monsters, all they have to do is give them a squirt and they melt or disappear. We can show kids how taking a few deep, slow breaths can help.
Sharing books and stories can help too. Dragons are pretty scary creatures, so can a dragon get scared? In the story Dragon’s Halloween by Dav Pilkey, Dragon has a problem. There are only 6 small pumpkins left and none of the other animals find his jack-o-lanterns scary. Instead, they laugh. Dragon piles the carved pumpkins one on top of each other sort of like a jack-o-lantern snowman. With big scary eyes and mouth, and crooked arms made of sticks, it’s so scary Dragon looks and scares himself. Silly Dragon.
Being a little scared is okay but imaginations may be working overtime with ghosts, witches, goblins, and monsters at Halloween. We might need to reassure kids that it’s okay to be afraid. Dragons breathe fire but we show kids how to take a few deep, slow breaths so bodies feel better. How do you deal with childhood fears?