A new study shows that if your kids are 7 and up, it can be helpful to let them know that the ghosts, monsters, and dragons they see on TV or in the movies aren’t actually real….
But that if your kids are under the age of 7, it’s not preferred because even though kids around the age of 4 know the difference between real-life and fantasy, they can’t be rationally talked out of their fear.
According to the study, 4 year olds would much rather be told that the “monster under the bed” is actually friendly or that it wants to play with them.
They found that this approach is more effective than a parent telling the child, “There’s no such thing as monsters and there’s not one under the bed.”
So in the heat of the moment, the experts suggest to play along with your child and treat the scary monster as a “friendly” monster. Then later, when your child has calmed down, you can talk about how monsters aren’t real.
But because young kids don’t have the ability to convince themselves of things based on logical facts, it’s not helpful to say, “It’s not real” in the heat of the moment when they’re afraid.
If the scary images are on TV or in a movie, you can talk with your kids about how those images are made.
Thinking about the process of making a film can help children cope with scary images, experts say.
Kids are fascinated by the details of special effects — for example, how fake blood is released from a bag at the same time that a gunshot is heard, said Roberts, who has run The Mommy Blog since 2002.
More Parenting Advice: How do you deal with the fears your kids have had about monsters under the bed or scary things they’ve seen on TV or in movies?