I'm sad to report that the creepy clown viral phenomenon has come to Canada. People dressed as menacing clowns are being spotted, in particular, around schools. I sympathize with parents who have to comfort children frightened by one of these imposters (of course they're not real clowns, and they are giving all clowns a bad name).
When my daughter was small, she was afraid of clowns. She wouldn't go to a birthday party unless I checked first to make sure no clowns would be making an appearance, she didn't like circuses and she was even a bit anxious about Hallowe'en. I worried for a while that this fear was preventing her from enjoying normal childhood activities, but eventually it stopped bothering her and life went back to normal.
It isn't unusual for children to have fears; in fact, child health experts say they are a normal and necessary part of a child's growth and development. Sometimes, however, fear or anxiety can interfere with a child's ability to function. When this happens, parents may want to get some guidance about how to best help their child.
Here are some resources with information for parents about childhood fears and phobias:
- An Age by Age Guide to Kids' Phobias: lists common fears by age, with tips for parents to help their children deal with them
- Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias: describes the normal fears and anxieties that children experience at different stages of childhood, discusses common signs of anxiety, and provides helpful information for parents concerned that their child might be developing a phobia
- Taming the Monsters: Helping Children Deal with their Fears: lists common childhood fears by age, provides information about how to help children cope with them, and lists signs of phobias and when to seek medical advice
- Understanding Childhood Fears and Phobias: tips for parents about how to deal with common childhood fears, and information about how fears and phobias can be treated if that becomes necessary
Here are some books with information for parents about this subject:
And here are some books to read with your child: