Hi there, I am hoping you can help me. All of a sudden my 5 yr old is afraid of Bees & Bugs, he is constantly asking if there is a bug on him, or a bee in the house. He will even ask if there are bees outside yet. I am trying to be considerate with him, but he will not even play outside at this point. He will be soon starting outside soccer and I am afraid of what this will be like. I don't know what to do- please help me, any suggestions would be great ! - Sherry
Oh boy, do I feel for you! I have been in your shoes. My son had a fear of bees at the same age. I'm guessing that you read my post about childhood fears? Here's the good news: this is a fairly common childhood fear that will pass with time. The hard part for us as parents is knowing HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE?!
I think the hardest part for parents (at least for me) is to remember that these fears are VERY real to our kids. We can tell them until we are blue in the face that they have nothing to fear, but we are wasting our breath.
As I said in my earlier post, we need to put ourselves in our kids shoes. Think about something that scares you, e.g., snakes or maybe it is spiders? Now imagine you are going out into an environment where you know that they are and can pop out at any time. Now imagine you are paralyzed by that fear. It is all you can think about. Now add your husband or friends telling you "it's fine" or "your being silly, you won't get hurt." Would that change your mind? Probably not.
I'm afraid there is no quick fix for this, Sherry. The only thing you can do as a parent is be patient and understanding. This fear will pass as your child realizes that bees are not the threat that he has made them out to be. Having said that, it is something he has to figure out on his own which will take time and experience.
One thing you can try is to share a story about something you are afraid of and how you handled it. Maybe have your husband or grandparents do the same. Hearing from others who we value and admire about how we handled similar situations can be empowering.
Another technique would be to try small stints outside. Maybe make a deal that if he comes out for five minutes you'll read him a special story. Tell him that he is able to go in at any time so that he knows he is in control. Gradually increase the time as he starts getting comfortable. Don't talk about how he is doing until AFTER he has had some success, e.g., "Wow! You are so brave! You stayed outside for five minutes." Ask him how he felt while he was outside. Let him know that HE should be proud of himself for overcoming this fear for the allotted time.
Another tip would be to teach him about bees and bugs. Go to the library and pick out some kid friendly books about bees. Maybe pick up some cool outside tools that he can use to look at bugs up close when he is ready. One of my kid's favorites is the bug vacuum which you can find at Target. See if your local zoo or children's museum has any bug related exhbits. The children's museum in our area had a cool beehive under glass last year. The kids were able to learn about bees in a completely safe environment.
Hang in there, Sherry! Childhood fears can be soooo challenging! Imagine this, my daughter was afraid of the wind for one complete summer!!!! Talk about frustrating! We got through it though. It wasn't easy, but we got through it and so will you.
Thanks so much for the question and being a Mentor Mom reader. Be sure to keep me posted on how he progresses!