Positive Parenting in Uncertain Times. Part 14; Is it okay to still be scared

Tue June 16th 2020

Is it okay to still be scared?

You are possibly wondering, is it ‘normal’ and Okay to still be scared? Yes, it is, it’s fine. Just remember to keep talking about your fears, give your children time to continue talking about their fears. Any worries they may have and things that make them scared. Help them to understand why they feel this way. Reassure them that it’s Okay.

Covid 19, is still out there. As a country we have supported each other, we have listened to the advice, we stayed home, and the virus appears to have ceased spreading. However, it’s still widely spoken about, posters are still all around us, warning about social distancing, cleaning hands, sneezing into elbows, using pay wave instead of cash, not touching things and completing forms or scanning your phone for contact tracing. All of this is becoming part of ‘life’ but it can still be scary.

Your children may still be scared – keep talking. Describe what ‘scared’ looks like, what it might feel like.  

PPE gear may not be as widely used but you may still see professionals wearing masks or gloves.

Being scared is a natural response to what has just happened with the virus and lock down.

Remember to maintain perspective to your children regarding the virus.

At time of publishing this article, it may be that the country has gone to Level one, meaning that social distancing will no longer be required, restaurants and bars can have more people, large gatherings can take place. Would you be Okay with your child going to a concert, rugby game, school trip, church? What about an IDFNZ workshop or conference?

Doing these things for the first-time post COVID 19, will be scary, you will still start to think “what if”.

It’s okay to be scared, again, just remember to put it in perspective.

Try to not let your fears and your protective instincts as a parent ‘suffocate’ your child, don’t let your worries and fears ‘hold’ them back. Be sensible of cause, talk to them about your fears, what they can do to keep safe and remember to keep good hygiene.

Children may get scared about other things, general colds, sneezing, other viruses and bugs, especially if they are immunosuppressed or are awaiting surgery or recovery from surgery.

Imagination can take over and children may need support in understanding what is ‘real’ and what is ‘pretend’.  Help them to understand their fears.  What makes them feel scared, what could they do to help themselves? Try not to rescue your children but give them time and the tools to come up with their own solutions.

Instead of saying “don’t be afraid” say “you are safe” acknowledge your child’s feelings and let them experience it.

Instead of saying “don’t be silly – you are too old to be afraid or scared” (this will shame them and they are likely to ‘close’ up and not share their feelings) say “we can work this out together, I hear that you are scared, how can we help you”


Clay or Playdough – create what is making them feel scared, name it, invite your child(ren) to talk to the ‘thing’ they have created. Allow them the space and time to gain control over the thing that makes them scared.

Give your child(ren) permission to stomp on it, squash it, gain control.

Create a painting or drawing about being scared, what does that look like?

Create a poem or story about ‘Scared’

Draw and create a ‘worry bird’ – when does the bird worry, what does the bird need to feel secure?