It’s normal for kids to feel anxious. Of course, a lot of this anxiety comes along with new experiences. Doing something for the first time is intimidating and your child might not know what to expect. However, you do know. Identify common firsts that give kids anxiety and find ways to help them work through it.
Getting a Haircut
Having their hair cut can be a little frightening for kids. This is especially true because they may not know what’s going on. They have someone holding scissors very close to their head and even the word “cut” can sound harsh. When preparing your kids for a haircut, make sure you schedule outside of naptime, snack time, etc. Using more gentle language like “trim” can help ease their fears. During the haircut, try to keep them busy with their favorite toys or other distractions. There are many places to get haircuts that are specifically designed for kids and they aim to create an engaging and fun environment. At the end, consider rewarding your child with a treat to help round out the experience with something positive.
Going to the Dentist
The dentist is an unfamiliar place. Unfortunately, your child may be exposed to the stereotype that the dentist is scary, bad place by their friends or even the media. First of all, you need to discuss the fears that they may have and then provide them with a more positive explanation. Tell them that they’re going so they can have healthy, strong teeth. Another way to help deal with the anxiety your child has is to visit a pediatric dentist instead of your regular dentist.
A pediatric dentist is specially trained to work with kids and calm their anxieties. Also, their offices are usually designed to be kid friendly and engaging. If your child is especially anxious, you can even call ahead to let the dentist know.
The first day of school is something every child will encounter eventually. This day can be scary for many reasons. First of all, it’s a new and unfamiliar situation. This alone can be scary. School is typically when kids are first separated from their parents for long periods of time. It can be difficult to make this change. To help your child feel less anxious, try to prepare together. You can read picture books about the first day of school to give them an idea of what it’s like. Some schools also offer the option to visit the classroom beforehand. To help ease the separation, you can also send them with a family picture or comfort object.
If your child is feeling anxious, do your best to first acknowledge and validate their anxieties. Then you can begin working with them to help them overcome them. This process is easier if you already know some common sources of anxiety they may face.
Love podcasts? Check out our Confident Kids podcast!