Crying In The Car Wash

Last week was a pretty busy week. Aren't they always before and after vacation? Well, that's holding true as we prepared for Easter, Lauren's second birthday party and house guests, in a week already peppered with lots of meetings and commitments. So, Lauren and I did some marathon errand-running last Monday. After handing my wallet over to the gas station, I decided we needed to run the car through those quick car washes some of the gas stations have.

At first, the quiet misting of soap all over my mommy-mobile delighted Lauren. After the soap, however, comes the high-pressure water. It's loud, and Lauren doesn't like loud. In fact, she was pretty well terrified until the arrow on the car wash finally told us we could drive out of the car wash (what happens if you drive ahead when the sign says to stop?).

Lauren is now at a place where she can be in the same room as me as I use a hair dryer, but she definitely wants to be held while I run the vacuum. In fact, she'll routinely ask if a mess needs the vacuum or check the hall closet where it is stored. She hates that thing.

Apparently, I should not be concerned, since child experts say it is common for toddlers to be afraid of loud things. The strategy I'm going with is comforting her, telling her it's ok, and that we'll get through it together. Here's what the American Academy of Pediatrics has to say on the matter:

"It's important to respect rather than to downplay fears; let the child know you take her fears seriously and that her feelings are okay. Help her to get used to the feared situations gradually, rather than avoiding them. Help her understand that some fears are appropriate and there are things she can do to stay safe; we need to protect ourselves from danger; we don’t touch a hot stove; we don’t run in front of a swing or an incoming bus. Most fears abate with time as children discover ways of coping with them. Some children derive comfort by holding on to a favorite blanket or toy. A child's fear will be less threatening if he feels he has some control over it. Remind him, for example, that he can close his eyes or turn off the television if a cartoon is too scary. Be aware of your own reactions; children are attuned to their parents' moods and fear can be contagious."

What fears have your kids had, and how did you help them get past them?

About the Author...
Heather King
Heather is the anchor and executive producer of WITN News at Sunrise and also reports.

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