3 ways parents can help kids conquer their fears

Monster Spray
Credit: Mark Mantegna

Do you have a child who's spooked by the sights and sounds of Halloween? Making light of his fears won't help, but his own creativity may offer a cure. "Because imagination fuels kids' fears, it can also help vanquish them," explains James J. Crist, Ph.D., author of What to Do When You're Scared and Worried. He offers three fear-fighting strategies.

1. Write off fears by concocting a story.

Have your child write or narrate a tale in which he successfully faces what scares him. "You'll be helping him absorb the message that he's capable of overcoming his fear," says Crist.

2. Push them away with a picture

If your child likes to draw, have him illustrate several drawings or a comic strip in which he--ta da!--defeats the boogeyman.

3. Cast them off with magic

Give your child a prop with special powers, such as a magic wand or "monster repellent" (water in a spray bottle). Tell him that it makes ghosts and goblins stay away.

Originally published in the October 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

Family Fun