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Monday, May 12, 2014

Bee Real: 6 Smart Strategies for when Kids are Scared Silly

Perhaps this sounds familiar to you too.  You’re outside enjoying the warm sun and cool breeze with your family, throwing a ball or hunting mushrooms, when a shrill scream pierces the air.  Your frantic child is running toward you looking like she saw a ghost.  Did she stumble upon a dead body?  Perhaps a bear is chasing her down?  Nope.  It’s a bee.  20 feet away.  On a flower. 

I have a sister who still reacts to these buzzing creatures in the same way.  I just want to shake my head.  What do we do when irrational fear takes control of our children?  We are trying the following strategies and seeing great success so far:
  1. Knowledge is power.  We have heard that often and for good reason.  When we understand the how and whys of our fears, we take away their control.  To help my daughter understand why bees are so important, we are talking, reading, and watching videos about bees very often.  We’re also learning about why they sting.  A review session previews every trip outside for now.
  2. Let’s pray about it.  Our God is amazing and can help us with anything.  Knowing this, we are praying that He will help us not to fear one of His creatures.  We pray this often throughout the day and always following a “Bees are friends,” review session. 
  3. Recite scripture.  God continually reminds us to trust Him in His Word.  Teach your child to recite a favorite anti-fear verse when scared.  We’re using Isaiah 41:13 NIV, “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”  You may print a FREE chart to aid in memorizing this verse by clicking HERE
  4. Remember when you used to be scared of ________?  Use anything relevant.  Perhaps your child used to not like peas as a baby.  Use it.  A few months ago, a very short-lived fear of ladybugs was tackled in our home.  It lasted for approximately 18 hours.  I remind her often of how smart she is for coping with that fear.  This reinforces that fears can be temporary and that she is very capable of doing it again.
  5. Teach an acceptable response.  Running and screaming is not acceptable when it comes to bees, that goes for you, too, dear sister.  This response tells people that there is a huge danger.  What is okay?  Freeze and pray is acceptable.  Another response is to WALK slowly and quietly away.  Practice this away from the fear many times before trying it with the bees.
  6. Use the tips yourself and be a role model.  Are you scared of bees too?  Maybe there is another fear that you have allowed to rule your life for too long.  Try these tips and master that fear for your children’s benefit.  Talk to them about your trials and “bee” each other’s cheerleaders. 

So far we have been coping with this fear for 5 days, and already she is only screaming and running 1/5 of our visits outside.  I’ll give an update when I no longer see any fear from her. 
What fears have your children coped with recently?  Do you have another strategy worth mentioning?  Please share your stories, favorite anti-fear verses, and questions below, and may God bless you today and everyday!  
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