How To Help Your Child Overcome Fear Using Play

from the hand in hand blog(1)

By Andrea McCracken

My daughter was 7, nearly 8, and developing more concerns about the world. At bedtime, she would lay quietly and think about the mysteries of illnesses, aliens and other potentially scary things. They must have churned around her head because she would come out of bed to talk to me about it, asking questions like could she have asthma? Were aliens real? How about ghosts? I wondered how I might help her overcome these fears.

Using the Power of Play

playlistening-through-fearI thought some extra Playlistening might help. I thought of games we could play during the daytime that would let her feel powerful and brave and help her face her fears. Everyday for one week we made an extra effort to wrestle and playing roleplaying games with different characters.

Whichever character I played, whether I was a teacher, an alien, a fierce lion or a ghost, we would laugh together and somehow she’d find a way to overpower me. Especially at this older age, I am struck by the power of play wrestling and how it helps my daughter’s mind and body find her power and strength over the unknowns and the fears of everyday life.

Her concerns at bedtime were soon relieved. She stopped coming out of bed consumed by her fears. We were addressing them during the safety of play during the day without even talking about it directly. Play let her tap into her inner strength and feeling that power has given her a new confidence to overcome these worries.

From the Hand in Hand Toolbox:

Read about how letting kids lead play helps them in What is Playlistening?

Find out how Playlistening helped these children during a carpool

Playlistening is one of Hand in Hand’s Five Listening Tools. Download our free guide to these revolutionary parenting tools

Andrea McCracken is a candidate in the Hand in Hand Instructor Certification program.

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