feelings

Helping Kids Through Fear

This week I am focusing on helping kids with their fears.⠀

In yesterdays post, I shared how to model deep breathing for your child. ⠀

Today, I will share two tips for helping kids with their fears.⠀

Mindful Ninja Mom Tip #1: Normalize the Fear⠀

One of the most difficult things about fear, is that it makes you feel like you are the only one who is experiencing the fear. Because fear can be very isolating, it is important to let children know that their fears are normal.⠀

When my children share a fear with me, one of the first things that I do is share a time when I have experienced a similar fear. For example, my daughter went through a phase where she was terrified of throwing up after two bouts of sickness. It helped her to hear my personal stories of times that I vomited and how I felt scared too. She would ask for me to tell her the same one or two stories over and over again. That can feel overwhelming as a parent, but it is actually very normal child behavior. My daughter was making sense of her own experience by hearing my story. ⠀

Mindful Ninja Mom Tip #2: Don’t Avoid the Fear⠀

It is natural to want to avoid the things that we children are afraid of. Last year on our trip to Costa Rica, our daughter was afraid of the ocean waves. She didn’t want to go to the beach or play in the ocean. ⠀

Instead of avoiding the ocean altogether, I supported her in a way that felt safe. She told me that she would be okay going in the ocean if my husband or I was holding her. We started with one of us carrying her in the ocean. Gradually, she wanted to hold our hands so that she could jump in the waves. By the end of our trip, she was running through the water and feeling much more courageous about the ocean waves.⠀

Helping children face their fears in a supportive and safe way will help them build self confidence as they continue to walk through new challenges. ⠀

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Feelings Are Always Okay ...

Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen teaches children that feelings are always okay, but what children do with those feelings is not always okay. ⠀

I recently shared how to make an Angry Wheel of Choice with your child. ⠀

The Angry Wheel of Choice gives children options for processing their anger. Making it with your child, invites a conversation around what appropriate ways to express anger are. ⠀

I made my first Angry Wheel of Choice with our son when he was three-years-old. We created it because he started hitting me when he was angry. ⠀

Working with his wheel, I would reiterate that his feelings of anger were okay, but hitting was never okay. ⠀

When he would hit me, I would simply state, “I don’t deserve to be treated that way” and walk away if I needed to or offer him a hug if he was in a state to receive one (remember, Nelsen also teaches that behind every misbehaving child is a discouraged child). ⠀

My son quickly learned new ways to express his anger and his hitting ceased. ⠀

You can learn more parenting tips on my website www.mindfulninjamom.com⠀

Check out my free parenting webinar by clicking the link in my Instagram bio ✨

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