If your child is reluctant to attend a birthday party or activity without you, talk with her about what will occur—guests arriving, playing some games, eating some cake. Then ask your child, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if you go alone?”
Use humor and positive examples to reassure her that she will not only have fun, but also be safe—and that you’ll be there when the activity is over.
What you can say
“Sofia, I know it’s hard to go to a party alone, but having you there will make Rebecca’s birthday extra special for her. And if you have even a little fun, it will be a bonus. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you go alone?”
“You could just watch the games—unless you decide to maybe play just one game. You could refuse to eat dessert, unless you decide to maybe take one little bite of a frosted cupcake. Before you know it, I’ll be there to pick you up. Oh—and don’t forget to save your leftover cupcake for me! Unless, of course, you decide to finish it up yourself.”
Why this will help
Presenting a “what’s the worst that can happen” scenario can help balance your child’s anxious feelings. With a light touch, you can validate her concerns while helping her tolerate the uncertainty of what lies ahead.
Talking about these scenarios will also help her think about how to solve problems that may arise. Taking risks and figuring out how to solve problems are the building blocks of resiliency.