When kids tell us their fears they are also telling us they’d like some help reinterpreting them, reframing them so they are not so scary. That’s what kids expect from adults, for us to be leaders, and people that show the way to something better. So when I hear my neighbor friend, who is eight, say that she is afraid the trucks repaving our street will wake her up in the morning (since they start their work before dawn), I see an opportunity to show her how to manage such daily interruptions in our otherwise secure world.
For me, the trucks repaving the street are fascinating. They are the people who know what to do with hot tar and rollers, as well as the people in cars who might be in the way, so it is all quite interesting to me. Maybe that’s a way to reframe the scare. To share our own experience. But that may not be enough since grown-ups see the world so differently than children.
I might also be inclined to agree with my friend that the trucks are big and noisy, but that they are happily doing their job of improving our neighborhood while we are safely in our homes doing our jobs. I might tell her that one of her big jobs as a child is to learn, so being woken up by the trucks might be their way of letting her know it is time to learn about them, and the repaving of the street. If I were her mom I’d tell her, “If the trucks wake you up, come get me and we can look out the window and learn together.”