In the world of children, it’s very common to have fears about things that—as adults—we wouldn’t even consider being scary. One thing that often falls into this category is elderly people.
For many children, being around elderly people, especially elderly people that they don’t know well or aren’t familiar with, can be very scary. But if you’re wanting your child to have a good relationship with the older people in your life or would like to visit an assisted living facility together as a form of community service, it will be helpful to assist your child in working through this fear.
To help you see how this can be done, here are three ways to help your children deal with a fear of elderly people.
Start With Getting To Know Their Own Grandparents
One of the best ways to start getting your kids more comfortable around elderly people is to begin with their relationship with their own grandparents.
Whether you live close to their grandparents or not, having them see each other and speak together through video chatting can be a great ice breaker. This way, your child can see and interact with their grandparent to an extent without being in their physical presence. They can ask their grandparent questions to help them become more familiar with them and comfortable with speaking to them until they’re ready to see them in person.
Stay Close To Them When They’re Around Elderly People
When you’re ready to have your child start physically interacting with the elderly people in their life, be it a grandparent or someone else, you should do what you can to help your child be comfortable during this first encounter.
Ideally, you should stay close to them when they are first meeting or interacting with an elderly person, especially if they’ve expressed a fear of this person in the past. If you can, try holding your child or sitting them on your lap. Let them know that they can stay with you as long as they need and try not to push them past where you can tell they’re comfortable.
Model Friendly Behavior
In some cases, children might learn fear from their parents. And, on the other side of that same coin, children can learn to overcome certain fears by modeling the behavior of their parents.
To use this to your advantage, make sure that when you’re interacting with the elderly, that you show your child how comfortable you are and how much you’re enjoying being close to and getting to know this person better. As your child sees that you’re not scared, it might encourage them to be a bit braver and more comfortable, too.
If you have a child that tends to be afraid of older people, consider using the tips mentioned above to help them learn to overcome this fear.