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Reading Tips For Parents & Educators

Find expert reading strategies and useful tips to help introduce children to the wonderful world of reading on their own with I Can Read!

4 Ways to Help Your Child Face Their Fears

As children grow and develop, it’s normal for them to feel nervous or scared, especially in new situations. Even the bravest of us sometimes wish we had a bit more nerve. But bravery can be a tough thing to teach. Perhaps the best thing you can do as a parent is to lead by example. Here are a few ways in which you can help your child face their fears:

Read stories featuring brave characters.

One of the many benefits of reading with your child is that books help them to identify and process emotions. Reading teaches them compassion and also lets them know that they aren’t alone in their feelings. Reading stories about characters who conquer their fears is a great way to help them understand that fear is normal and that courage can pay off in the end. A great pick for young children is Pinkalicious and the Amazing Sled Run. Small children will love hearing about Pinkalicious’ little brother Peter, who must overcome his nerves to enjoy a day of sledding. And older children will enjoy reading it all by themselves — or aloud to a parent.

Show your child examples of bravery.

There are many ways in which you can do this. You can read them stories like Pinkalicious and the Amazing Sled, or Frog and Toad’s “Dragons and Giants.” You could also tell them about a time when you overcame your own fears. You might be surprised by how much they enjoy hearing about what goes on in your life when they aren’t around, particularly if they can relate to the way you felt at the time. Knowing that others have been in the same boat will reassure them.

Allow your child to take risks.

The world can be a scary place for both children and adults, so it’s easy to feel overprotective. But research suggests that there are benefits to letting kids manage risky outdoor play on their own. You can start small. For example, letting a slightly older child sled down a hill alone probably offers more reward than risk. Of course, we all have to use our best judgment, but allowing them to take risks will make them become more creative, more resilient, and more confident. It may even help you become a bit braver in the process!

Encourage them to try new things.

Allowing your child to try an array of activities will help them figure out what it is they excel at, and enjoy, the most. In winter months, take them to a free skate or sign them up for ice skating lessons. You could also take them to a local ski hill for a day and sign them up for a short lesson to see if they enjoy it. Giving them a challenge and praising them when they succeed — or even just for trying something new — instills courage in an organic way. Plus, they may find some new things to love in the process!

How do you help your children overcome their fears? We’d love to know!

You can find more I Can Read! content on our Parents and Educators page.