Fear is a basic human emotion. We have all felt fearful at some time. Fear is even necessary for survival. So, when we are helping our children deal with their feelings of fear, we want them to develop courage.

How can parents help young children look at and release fears? One of the best ways to achieve this release is through artistic expression. Singing, drawing, dancing, sculpting, or writing all can help some fears “play out.”

For example, you could ask your child to give a voice to the tightness in his or her throat. What would it say? Or you could address butterflies in the stomach by asking what dance the butterflies would do. How about that monster in a recurring nightmare? Ask your child to draw the monster and then give it a funny hat or mustache.

Our children will need to face many fears in life, and we can help them learn to be brave enough to look for and find ways to deal with those fears. Expressing fears artistically can be one step in the right direction.