“Mom, will you stay with me until I go to sleep?” It was yet another night that fear was taking over our household. Childhood fears are a common problem, especially at bedtime.
Fear has a way of taking over your thoughts until you can think of nothing else. I often describe the task of changing your thoughts as being similar to walking on a sandy beach or in the snow. It is more difficult to walk in the fluffy sand or snow than to walk in someone else’s foot prints. In a similar way, our minds have to work harder to change our thoughts than to continue thinking the fearful thoughts.
It is difficult for adults to change their thoughts to something more pleasant. Children often find that task even more challenging. I found it is helpful to have a plan in place to help my children change their thoughts and overcome their fears. We often use one of the following strategies when they are afraid and need to change their thoughts.
3 Ways To Change Your Thoughts To Overcome Fear
1. Have a plan in place
It is difficult to change your thoughts when you are gripped with fear. Spending some time with your child discussing pleasant things he could think about will make it much easier for him to change his thoughts when he is afraid. There are three things my girls usually have in their game plan include: fun times in the recent past with friends or family, an upcoming event or trip she is looking forward to attending, or a creative game such as designing a theme park or fairy dresses.
Younger children are concrete thinkers so performing a physical action can help them change their thoughts easier. As part of your child’s plan to overcome fear, discuss how what physical action he might take. The following two actions have helped my daughters immensely.
2. Change the tracks of your thoughts
Your child could pretend to be a train engineer to direct his thoughts onto a more pleasant track. He can pretend to pull the lever that moves his thought train to a different track.
3. Turn the channel of your thoughts
If your child prefers listening to music or watching television, he might be more interested in changing the channel of his thoughts. He could pretend to push buttons on a remote control or turn the dial on a radio to a different channel of his thoughts.