Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Face fears one step at a time.

What you can do

Help your child face fears in a gradual and systematic way. Encourage her to try a new activity, but don’t force her if she’s not ready.

Take your time, and break the activity into small and doable pieces. Have your child work on successfully completing one step before you add another. Praise her each step of the way.

What you can say

“Sofia, I know you’re afraid to start swimming lessons. Let’s visit the pool together. We can start by sitting by the side of the pool and dangling our feet in the water. When you’re comfortable, you can come in the water with me.”

“When you’re ready, you can play in the shallow end to see how that feels. You’re doing a great job even though it feels a little scary. Tomorrow we can work on putting your face in the water. We’ll only start your swimming lessons when you’re ready and more comfortable being in the water.”

Why this will help

Trying new activities can often be overwhelming and quite daunting for children with learning and attention issues because of all the “unknowns.” Your child’s anxiety may get in the way of her even wanting to try something unfamiliar. So take new activities step by step and provide a lot of support along the way. Remember the three P’s: Practice, Patience and Praise!

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