With fantastic entertainment options and great outdoors, raising your kids in California can seem like an ideal situation.
But even in this lovely environment, children can experience the same fears and anxieties that are common at certain ages. Some will fade away over time, but you can also be more involved as they face their fears; here are some common sources of anxiety and how you can help.
Going to the dentist
Can you imagine taking your kid to your family orthodontist in Redwood City for a simple consultation, only to have them resist getting into the car? For adults, visits to the dentist are just another part of a good health routine, but kids don’t always feel the same way.
Fear of the dentist is normal, and there are many ways you can help your child overcome it. Create a positive environment by choosing a pleasant, child-friendly dental practice, and ensure that you don’t display any anxiety of your own. Educate them in simple and direct terms on the importance of good dental hygiene and the role a dentist plays in their health. As these visits become more frequent and positive experiences, your child will learn to let go of their fears.
Much like the dentist, the thought of getting shots can make kids anxious or scared even days ahead of schedule. You may have only dim memories of this childhood experience, but you’ll soon realize that for a little child, those shots can sting, and they happen often.
To help them get through the ordeal, don’t trivialize or laugh at their fear of pain. Acknowledge that there will be pain, but don’t get too descriptive. Explain why needle vaccinations are necessary, in a way that’s easy to understand. While they are getting the shot, maintain eye contact and provide support, but don’t respond to hysterics. Remind them that at some point, they won’t need to get shots anymore.
Going to school
It’s normal for children to be afraid of going to school on the first day or two; separation anxiety is to be expected. But some kids continue to feel scared of school well after that. They may feel ill on school days and exhibit symptoms such as nausea or stomachache, without actually being sick.
There are many factors contributing to school avoidance, including but not limited to social anxiety, fear of failure, or bullying. School avoidance often passes after time as the child adjusts, and you can assist in the process by talking to them, acknowledging any concerns they have, and remaining firm on the need for them to attend school regularly. If the problem persists or worsens, work with the school counselor, teachers, and psychologists to further address underlying issues.
Adults can often underestimate how smart and aware kids can be. But their easy access to information regarding current events and issues these days can expose them to stress-inducing news which they may not be prepared to process.
Be sure not to avoid the issue; instead, take the chance to discuss topics such as climate change or gun safety in a more informative and positive manner. Emphasize a brighter outlook and small actions they can take to make a difference and you can properly channel their concern for a better future, which is a great thing.
Your child will have many fears at an early age, but as they grow up, you can play a significant part in helping them deal with anxiety and overcome the root cause to become resilient young adults.