HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — About 19 million Americans admit they have a phobia. Some are scared of spiders; others are afraid of flying, and some are frightened of going to the dentist.

Fear is a natural human emotion that we all have to deal with. Today is National Face Your Fears Day. So, in Mommy Matters, there are five ways to help your child face their fears.

  • Talk about your child’s fear and let them know you take it seriously. Don’t try to brush it off as something silly and unimportant.
  • Understand that your child can’t reason the same way you can. Their brains aren’t developed enough. To them, a monster under the bed is a real, terrifying threat. Yelling at your child won’t make the fear go away and won’t get you a peaceful bedtime.
  • Give your child some control over their fears. Help them check under the bed and inside closets before they go to bed. Let them see for themselves there’s nothing there. If they’re afraid of the dark, put a lamp in their room. Let them decide when to turn it on.
  • Slowly expose your child to what scares them the most. Visit the local science center to learn about spiders in a safe environment. The same for snakes. If your child is frightened of dogs, visit the local animal shelter to see dogs in a controlled atmosphere.
  • Realize that fears don’t disappear all at once. It takes time, and praise your child along the way as they make progress towards facing what scares them.