Preventing Fear

As the holiday season approaches, many young children will look forward to all of the new adventures the season brings.

But for some hesitant young souls, the thought of a new experience brings a fear of the unknown – especially if they have already lived through situations where they were unprepared (unpleasant travel, a hospital stay, divorce arrangements).

When a child knows what to expect ahead of time, he is less likely to experience fear. 

If you already know about the new experiences your child will be facing this season, perhaps you could take the time now to prepare him. Below is an example of how to assure and reassure a child that all will be well.

Recently, one of our associates traveled with her 3-year-old son to Northern Ireland. In anticipation of the airport ordeal, we wrote a 24 page picture book of what to expect. It included walking through the metal detector, the pat down, stroller storage, dinner and breakfast, sleeping on the plane (some passengers wore masks), restroom issues, when he would have access to his book bag, changing planes in London, luggage retrieval, and the taxi ride.

The book and the trip were a wonderful success. He carried it in his book bag and referred to it often – on his own – for both the trip there and for the return flights.

Here are a few tips to help you write your own “Book of Anticipation.”

We bought a small, hard cover photo album at a dollar store. We had several designs to choose from and selected the one with the most sturdy binding. The pages were written in MSWord, with photos from Google images.

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The educational principle illustrated above is discussed on our website in the article titled “Building a Network of Prior Knowledge.

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