Fears or phobias aren’t something we’d usually associate with the summer season: the sun shines until 10 ‘o’clock at night; people are relaxed and calm…but fears exist, and some of them directly affect children. For example, water related fears. Put yourself in a child’s shoes: a swimming pool is a massive body of water, practically bottomless, and then there’s the sea; turbulent, mysterious and full of strange animals we can’t see. Another common summertime fear involves creatures; a fear of being stung by jellyfish, mosquitoes or simply not being able to deal with the thought of creepy crawlies running across your arms.
It’s no secret that these fears are pretty common, but in extreme cases they can disrupt and even ruin our holidays. So, what can be done with children that have any of these phobias?
In the case of phobias to do with the sea or the pool, although experts advise giving children swimming lessons, we think it’s already a bit late. We suggest that the best thing would probably be a gradual introduction to water. Get them used to the water bit by bit; first of all by dipping in their feet, and slowly progressing as far as they can. It’s important not to force it however, and to take all the time necessary (though it’s likely that seeing other children enjoying themselves in the water will speed up the process.) All the same, never forget to keep children supervised at all times…there are always going to be risks where water is concerned.
With creatures and other creepy crawlies, the key is to give children information and advice before embarking on a trip or a camping holiday: tell them not to lift up rocks as they never know what they’ll find underneath, warn them not to provoke insects like wasps or bees…but also reassure them that in the case of being stung or bitten, you’ll be prepared with repellent or some sort of treatment for stings. It works the same way with jellyfish or other marine life.
To sum up, it’s important to differentiate between fear and caution. One can ruin a perfectly enjoyable vacation or day on the beach, whereas the other is vital; we must never forget that nature, though beautiful, comes with risks too.