Our brave little girls!
Today was a school holiday so we burst forth from the morning in search of exciting things to do to kill an entire day. We ate a nice breakfast then headed to the local mall where we shopped for shoes (found nothing we liked) then checked in at the movie ticket counter to see if there were any kid-friendly films.
We've already seen "Where the Wild Things Are" and loved it! That movie had some slightly 'tense' scenes that we managed to endure without much problem so we were confident we could muster up as much courage as was necessary to see the new Jim Carrey Film; "A Christmas Carol."
So in we marched, with hearts full of excitement and anticipation and arms full of concession snacks.
I wasn't sure the girls would survive this film even though we've all seen the movie trailer several times and we kinda knew what we were in for. After all, they're only five years old. But they were excited to give it a try so I was willing to risk it.
The movie was AWESOME and the kids did great! Not a single whimper or complaint even though lots of other kids all around us were fleeing withing the first 20 minutes. Nope, my cute little girls sat there and munched popcorn and gummy worms and didn't even flinch! At one point, a sweet little girl, who looked to be about 10, said she was scared and came to sit with us and snuggled up next to Maddy (her mom and younger brother left a few minutes earlier). I kept checking to make sure my babies were okay -- and they were fine. As expected. Trust me, if they were scared, we'd have been out of there in an instant!
Why weren't they frightened? I guess it's because we've always been really enthusiastic about letting them explore things that other kids find scary. Around halloween, we let them see and touch the store displays so they know they're not real. We let them look at all of the costumes up close and we let them have as many night lights as they think they need at bedtime. If they're ever scared of something, we carefully examine it until they feel at ease. Our kids happily ride rollercoasters other kids twice their age won't go near. Always have - (probably) always will.
We've taken them to movie theaters since they were two years old and made the experience super fun by offering popcorn and m&m's so dark, booming-loud, theaters are not intimidating to them. If they got frightened, we comforted them and would have happily left but they never seemed to need that. They felt safe and secure and they wanted to stay.
Books are a major part of their life and they know the stuff in many story books isn't real so they can appreciate that a bunch of movie stuff isn't real either. We even invite them to draw their most crazy looking monster and we all laugh about it!
When Michael was little, we used to joke around about scary things (while never joking about things that are REALLY scary). For a while, he was afraid of alligators under his bed so we got a trundle bed so there'd be no room for alligators under there. If he wanted his closet door closed, we closed it. If he wanted his light on, we left it on. Really, I don't understand why some parents decide to get tough on this issue. No kid should have to suffer alone with their fears.
I had so many fears when I was a child and I wish my parents did more to help me learn to cope with them. It breaks my heart to think my kids would be THAT frightened about anything so maybe that's why I'm so proactive about this sort of thing now?
What are your kids afraid of and how do you help them overcome those fears? I'd like to know because I'd like to have a plan in place if and/or when those scary things ever visit our house.
PS: Right when I was about to publish this, Gwen came in from playing in the backyard with one hand firmly clenched in the other and announced, "I have a splinter in my paw!". Oh Lord, please help me survive this insane cuteness! If I smile any harder, my face is surely going to break!