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Help! 20mo terrified of insects

323 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  rzberrymom
My 20mo ds has recently began to have complete meltdowns at the sight of an ant or a fly. He's absolutely terrified of pretty much anything that crawls or flies (except for bees, go figure). I'm trying to help him deal with this and teach him that these things are harmless, while not downplaying his very real fears, but frankly this is driving me nuts. It's summer, and we get a few flies in the house here and there, and I literally can't get anything done because every few minutes I have to stop and console ds. He won't even sit in his high chair anymore because if he sees a fly, he needs to run away. (We're not overrun or anything! There are two flies buzzing around the entire house right now.)

How do I deal with this???
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I used a couple of strategies with DD's insect fears. I try to normalize the bugs by getting close, watching them, picking them up, etc. After a while, she wants to get close too and is excited about them--after a few months of this, she'll coax a spider onto a piece of paper in order to move it out of the house and into the garden. With flies, I make it humorous and start talking to them. In my silliest voice I say "hey fly, you don't belong in here, this is Anneke's house, you belong outside with the birds and the trees and the flowers." And now she no longer freaks out when she sees them and she starts trying to talk them into flying out the back door. With bees, we talk about how lucky we are to have them around since they make honey--we watch them flying to each flower and talk about how they're picking up the flower juice to bring back to the hive and make honey. With ants, we talk about how they must be on their way to the ant picnic since they're carrying things, and now she's excited to see them too. And I never step on or swat the bugs (I just move them to their "bug houses" outside). I hope that helps!
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