Is your toddler fearful of something and does not want to go near it? I have a suggestion for something you can try that I learned in my graduate classes for social work… it’s called exposure therapy- which is done to cure people with phobias…. and it works!
Definition of exposure therapy according to WIKI: Exposure therapy is a technique in behavior therapy intended to treat anxiety disorders. It involves the exposure of the patient to the feared object or context without any danger, in order to overcome their anxiety.
I started working with J a few weeks after she turned one. She was fearful of sand. She did not want to stand in it, she did not want to sit in it, and she especially did not want to touch it. I decided to slowly introduce J to sand. Luckly, this worked in 1 “session” but for some it may take awhile to introduce a child to anything they are fearful of.
I will list the steps I took to introduce J to sand.
1. I held J while walking in the sand.
2. I put sand in my hand. I started touching the sand in my hand and asked J if she wanted to. She started poking at the sand that was in my hand
3. I continued to put more sand in my hand as she continued to poke at it and eventually she started grabbing the sand from my hand.
4. Next I sat in the sand and sat her in my lap.
5. I started picking the sand up from the ground and dropped it back down to the ground.
5. I asked J if she wanted to take the sand out of my hand and drop it to the ground, so she did. (we did this a couple times)
6. Next J started poking at the sand that was on the ground. She also picked it up.
7. I sat J in the sand and she started playing with the sand herself. She was happy and content. No more fear of sand!!
Although this only took 1 day to overcome the fear of sand it may take multiple days/weeks for other kids to overcome a fear, just be patient as you introduce them to something new.
(I have permission to post photos of J)