Mommy Monday

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It's Mommy Monday, and parents want to know how they can help their Kindergartners get over a fear of dogs.

Kristi Alexander, a clinical psychologist on Parent Center.com says your job is to both acknowledge your child's anxiety and help him or her get more comfortable with the dogs. Don't judge your children for being afraid or belittle them in front of their peers.

Instead, empathize with how they feel. Calmly say, "I can see that the dog really scared you," and leave it at that.

It's natural for kindergartners to find many things scary, along with dogs. They can make loud noises, jump up or lick your child's face. That may be near the top of their scary list.

Don't push your children to face their fear or try to convince them there isn't any reason to be afraid. Both tactics are likely to backfire.

For instance, you'll probably only make your child more upset if you say, "It's OK. The dog won't hurt you. There's nothing to be afraid of."

Instead try, "I understand that the poodle frightens you. Let's walk past him together."

Over time, you can gradually introduce the child to dogs when he or she feels comfortable. You'll want to teach children both to enjoy dogs and to keep a healthy distance from strange animals whose behavior and temperament may be unpredictable.


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