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Teaching Children About Courage

Dolls Can Sometimes Feel Scared Too

It’s Mwenzi’s turn, (one of our handmade African girl dolls) to be sent out into the real world as a birthday gift.

She is feeling scared and super nervous, and these are the thoughts that are going through her head.

“I don’t know what my new buddie looks like.”

“I don’t know if they will like me.”

“I don’t know if l’ll make a good friend.”

“Maybe my new owner will wish they got a different friend.”

“Maybe they will open me up, play with me for 5 minutes then l get forgotten in the toy basket under all the other toys and dolls.”

Then again, What If…

“My new buddie has been waiting for me to get there.”

“I make the best doll friend ever for my new owner.”

“I end up making new doll friends that l would never have met before.”

“l get to experience a whole new side of life that l didn’t know existed.”

“I like how the What If sounds. I’ll be courageous and hold onto the What If”. Being a doll may actually not be that scary after all. 🙂

Being scared and feeling anxious are common responses to new experiences. Just like the dolls, changes to what a child is used to makes them feel vulnerable and they would rather avoid that which they are not familiar with.

What is your child feeling anxious or scared about? Maybe doing What if scenarios may help them build on their courage.

In fact, courage is taking action in spite of the fear that one feels.

In addition to the What If Scenarios, here are 5 tips to help your child build on their courage.

  1. Let them know that being courageous does not always mean that one feels brave on the inside. Be honest with them about times when you have been scared to do things but you chose to go ahead despite your feelings of fear.
  2. Encourage your child to step out of their comfort zone. Expose them to scenarios and opportunities cause them to try out new things which they are not used to.
  3. Allow them to make mistakes without you being ‘over protective.’ Making a mistake at something they were trying out is an indication that they had the courage to step out and do something that they were not familiar with. Remind them that when something isn’t successful, it isn’t failure but an opportunity to learn what is not working and figure out how to do it better next time.
  4. Keep affirming your child and cheering them on. Let them know how proud you are of them for stepping out. Call out their positive aspects and the brave actions they have taken.
  5. Encourage your child to see themselves in a positive light and to have an “I Can” attitude. “I Can Do It”. “I Am Brave”. “I Will Try” etc.

Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.
– Bethany Hamilton –

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