How to Help Your Child Manage Fear

How to Help Your Child Manage Fear
Nikki Hurst

When interacting with Moxie, your child will be encouraged to open up about their feelings and introduced to tools to manage their emotions. You can continue the learning your child is doing with Moxie and support them at home when they are feeling afraid by:

Talking About Feelings

Create a safe space for your child to open up about their feelings. Here are some things to keep in mind when talking to your child about their fears:

  • Children don’t always have the words to explain how they are feeling, and not being able to communicate their feelings can lead to meltdowns. If you notice that your child is feeling afraid, try saying “It looks like you are feeling afraid right now. Do you want to tell me about it?”. Help your child learn the language to communicate their feelings and to ask for help. 
  • Ask your child specific questions in order to understand what is making them feel afraid. This can help with coming up with a plan to help with their fears. For example, if your child is afraid of the dark, ask questions such as “what makes the dark scary to you?”
  • Take your child’s fears seriously, even if they don’t seem scary to you. Use language such as “Wow, that sounds like you felt very afraid” vs “That’s not even scary.”

Using Helpful Tools

Here are some tools that you can use to help your child when they are feeling afraid:

  • Make a Happy Ending: Moxie uses a strategy called “Make a Happy Ending”. In this strategy, your child imagines a good outcome happening during a situation that makes them feel afraid. This strategy also works well if your child has nightmares, have them come up with a new happy ending to their dream. 

  • Imagine a Place: This is an activity your child can do with Moxie! To request this activity, say “Moxie, let’s imagine a place.” In this activity your child pictures a happy place in their mind, and thinks about how this place looks, smells, and feels. In the future if they ever feel afraid, they can think about this happy place in their minds. 
    • Animal Breathing: Your child has already done Animal Breathing with Moxie!
      Ask your child to show you one of the animal breaths, or just say, “Moxie, let’s do Animal Breathing.” Good animal breaths for fear are bee breaths or kitten breaths.
  • Get the Facts: If your child’s fear centers around something such as going to the doctor or dentist, it can be helpful to walk them through what to expect. Talk factually about what will happen during their visit so that they feel prepared. 
    • Say an Affirmation: Your child has done affirmations with Moxie! These are short, positive phrases that they can say to help increase their confidence or to help feel more calm. Good affirmations for fear are: “I can do this”, “I will be okay”, and “I am brave”. 
    • Read a Book: There are a lot of great books about fear that can be helpful to read with your child! One book that we recommend is Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes. 

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