1. Moving house
Leaving home and maybe their friends behind, is a big worry for children. Ask what they think will be good about it, as well as not so good. It’s impossible to guess what’s inside a child’s mind, and they might be worrying about something like the colour of their bedroom walls, which you can easily help them with. Also emphasise the positives about moving, such as having a better garden, or being near a great park.
2. Stories in the news
It’s best not to let young children watch the news, although it’s hard to avoid them hearing about bigger issues and stories in the public eye. For example, many children were very scared when they heard about missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann, and understandably so. So let children share their emotions and concerns, but reassure them that events like this are incredibly rare, and that they are perfectly safe.
3. Something bad happening to you
Children often worry about you having an accident when you go out. Tell little ones where you’re going, and what time you’re going to be back. Use the clock to make the point. Don’t flap before you leave – panic is catching. Also, explain that carers/childminders/afterschool clubs have your contact details so they can easily get hold of you if necessary.
4. You and your partner arguing
Many children feel it’s their fault if their parents argue. Don’t say ‘You’re not the cause’ because that puts the idea in their head. Just explain that all mummies and daddies row sometimes but that doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And if you do row in front of them, try to make up and say sorry to each other in front of them.
5. Monsters and the dark
Tell them you love the dark because it helps you rest and get to sleep. Sometimes it’s not the dark they’re scared of, it’s a worry that comes back at night – so check this out. You may be able to reassure them very quickly. As for monsters, never look under the bed, because that implies a monster might be there after all. Instead, remind them that monsters are make-believe characters in stories and that they are very safe and nothing is going to happen. Don’t let them get too hot as this can cause nightmares.