Do bugs get in the way of your kids enjoying the outdoors? My son hates bugs. If he gets one on him he immediately wants to go home. There have even been times he hasn't wanted to go outdoors, especially hiking, because of bugs. So I have had to come up with a few tricks to help him deal with his fears and make our outdoor time enjoyable. Hope they help you as well.
Set a good example and don't overreact. Kids follow our examples. If we are overreacting to bugs on ourselves or our kids, they will probably overreact as well.
Introduce your kids to the fun, non-threatening bugs. Butterflies, ladybugs, rolly polly's are great places to start. Help them see that not all bugs are going to fly in your face or sting you.
Learn to ID bugs. Helping your kids to be able to identify the less desirable ones gives them the power to know when to be scared and when not to be.
Explain why bugs are important. A lot of bugs help plants and humans. I tell my son that some bugs help plants grow and that we need plants to live. Explain whatever is appropriate for your kids.
Use bug spray. Duh, I know. But sometimes kids feel safer just having been sprayed (placebo effect).
Carry calamine lotion or aloe in case of a bug bite. They both help reduce the sting.
Wear long pants and sleeves to reduce the amount of exposed skin. There are a lot of light weight options that can be comfortable when hot.
Carry a stick to knock spider webs out of the way. Sometimes there are so many spider webs across a trail we just wave a stick in front of us the whole time we are hiking.
Adults go first. That way you can catch any webs or nests before the kids get to them.
Don't go out at dawn and dusk. They are the cooler parts of the day but that is also when bugs seem to be out in force.
Don't go to an area where bugs tend to be thickest, like water fronts.
Check out this fun activity from Rain or Shine Mamma for introducing you kids to bugs in a non-threatening way.
What do you do to help your kids understand and overcome their fear of bugs?
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