Ewwww! Yuck! That’s a child’s usual internal reaction to bugs and insects. However, some children can have a completely different reaction, which may often be fear. It could come from a previous bad experience such as being bitten by a bug, or from any other number of reasons. If your child is afraid of bugs, there are several steps to dealing with this issue.
Acknowledge Your Child’s Fear
One of the first things you can do is to acknowledge that the fear is real. However, you don’t need to condone the undesirable behaviors created by that fear. Tell your child that you understand he or she fears those insects, but screaming and running around the room isn’t an acceptable reaction. Instead, tell them to simply walk away from the bugs.
Use Yourself as a Model
Show your children through your own actions that bugs aren’t scary. Don’t jump up or scream when you see a bug. Say something that will allay the fears, such as “Oh my, a spider. Let me tell you a rhyme or story about spiders.” You can also capture the bug and relocate it to the outdoors.
This can also become an educational opportunity to talk about how insects can actually be good for the environment. Continue with the teaching aspect of reducing the fear and purchase a bug exploration kit. Most of these kits have a net, a magnifying glass, containers, and other supplies to let your child capture and examine insects up close.
If your child has some trepidation about such a personal look at insects, don’t force the issue. Instead, use it yourself and invite your child to participate just by observing.
Get them involved the next time you have a pest inspection professional visit your home. Have the inspector explain what he does, and how pests aren’t anything to be afraid of. You can also use this visit to reassure your child that you’re doing everything you can to eliminate those insects and bugs from your home.
Make up Stories or Songs
Make bugs and insects appear more whimsical and less frightening by reciting or making up songs or stories about them. When you see your child becoming scared of a bug, remind him or her about the song or story. Recite the story, which should take his or her mind off the fear by concentrating on the lines of the story.
Above All Else, Be Patient
While having your child exhibit this fear may sometimes be frustrating, you need to remain calm and patient. Remember that they really don’t understand their fears, nor do they really have any control over it. You’re going to have to be the one who helps them along by facing their fears in a safe and comfortable way.
Using these simple steps will help you and your child overcome his or her fears. This will allow them to explore the great outdoors feeling calm and safe. What other steps would you recommend for lowering kids’ fear levels when it comes to insects?