It was my 7-year-old daughter’s very first camp overnight. She was nervous, scared, excited and anxious.
Each night, before bed, she would start a looping monologue.
“I’m really scared about the sleepover…I’m going to miss you…what if I want to go home…what if I have to go to the bathroom…what if I’m scared?”
“Do you want to go on this sleepover?”
“Yes. But I’m really scared about the sleepover…”
This was getting us nowhere. Have you ever felt like that?
The truth was, we hadn’t had a great track record. Her first sleepover at Grammie’s last year ended abruptly with an ear infection and a fever. The second one took two takes—she came home before sleeping and after a pep talk about fear, she went back but I was there to tuck her in and sing her goodnight. And last weekend, her sweet friend from camp came over to our house to do a practice sleepover and wound up going home at 12:45am because she missed her mom and had a tummy ache. Sleepovers had not been the picture of success.
It’s hard when we want our child to try new things but fear has taken hold and won’t let go. So how can we help our children help themselves when trying constructive, new things that excite but scare them?
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