Preventing Fear

The Principle: New experiences can bring a child fear of the unknown – especially if he has already lived through situations where he was unprepared (unpleasant travel, a hospital stay, new divorce arrangements, etc). When a child knows what to expect ahead of time, he is less likely to experience fear. 

If you already know about the new experiences your child will be facing, perhaps you could take the time now to prepare him. Below is an example of how to assure and reassure a child that all will be well.

Recently, one of our associates traveled with her 3-year-old son to Northern Ireland. In anticipation of the airport ordeal, we wrote a 24 page picture book of what to expect. It included walking through the metal detector, the pat down, stroller storage, dinner and breakfast, sleeping on the plane, passenger masks, restroom issues, when he would have access to his book bag, changing planes in London, luggage retrieval, and the taxi ride.

The book and the trip were a wonderful success. He carried it in his book bag and referred to it often – on his own – for both the trip there and for the return flights.

Here are a few tips to help you write your own “Book of Anticipation.” We bought a small, hard cover photo album at a dollar store. We had several designs to choose from and selected the one with the most sturdy binding. The pages were written using MSWord, with photos from Google images.


The educational principle illustrated above is discussed in the article “Building a Network of Prior Knowledge.

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