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Need advice for 5yr old's sudden extreme fear of bugs

Posted by on May. 29, 2013 at 12:33 PM
  • 7 Replies

Hello, I am at a stand still of what to do about my 5yr old dd's sudden extreme fear of bugs. She is my 3rd child and the other 2 never had a problem like this. I'm not exactly sure what triggered this fear, except for the fact that 6-8 months ago her pre-k room had to be exterminated for a spider's nest they found in a cupboard.

This fear didn't start until about 2 weeks ago. It was a "normal" fear at first, but has escalated like crazy the last week. It's now at the point that she screams bloody murder at the sight of ANY bug, even a fly or ant. It has caused dh and I to lose a lot of sleep this past week because of it. She shares a room with an older sibling (bunk beds) and sleeps on the bottom bed. She is now hysterically afraid to sleep with the light off and even to the point of being afraid to sleep in her bed because she is afraid of bugs coming out of her bed (the top slates of the bunk bed, above her head) and also afraid of bugs coming out of the wall the bed is up against.

What we have tried so far is leaving the bedside light on the whole night (I cant imagine this is good for her or her sibling), and we have now put an extra twin size mattress in the room. I slept on the mattress the night before to calm her down, and last night we tried having HER sleep on the mattress in the middle of the room so that she wasn't sleeping next to the wall or in the bunk bed. She finally feel asleep after laying down on the mattress in the middle of the room, but woke up at 3am and refused to go back to bed. Dh tried sleeping in her bunk bed to get her to go back to sleep but that didn't work so dh has been up since 3am as well. When she woke up at 3am she also woke up sibling who couldn't go back to bed. And over the last couple of weeks she has been waking up several times a night, and calling out for us (we have an intercom still set up) or coming to our room because she is scared and needs comfort from us in order to fall back asleep. This also tends to wake up sibling so BOTH of them are grumpy the next day. We have also been super vigilant to not let her see anything scary on tv, and we have strict parental controls on our computer that blocks out almost everything (like ads, youtube, etc) so that when she is on the computer playing games (disney jr., nickjr,) the only places she can go is her age appropriate websites and no where else.

We can't keep living this way. Dh and I aren't getting any sleep and luckily I'm a SAHM, but dh has an hr and a half commute and a very mentally exhausting job. I'm now really worrying about him driving because idw him to nod off at the wheel or be repremanded at work for falling asleep during meetings. (which he has been doing lately)

Any suggestions are VERY welcome cuz we are at the end of our rope..Thanks!blank stare

by on May. 29, 2013 at 12:33 PM
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Replies (1-7):
funhappymom
by on May. 29, 2013 at 1:15 PM
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Huh. Have you asked her why she is scared of bugs all of a sudden? She got the idea from somewhere. Maybe a friend at school? I think it's important to figure out where the apprehension is coming from so you know how to treat it.


justins_momm292
by Member on May. 29, 2013 at 2:15 PM
1 mom liked this

That's what I was thinking.  A TV show?  DD saw Wizard of Oz when she was a bit younger and was terrified of tornados afterwards.

Quoting funhappymom:

Huh. Have you asked her why she is scared of bugs all of a sudden? She got the idea from somewhere. Maybe a friend at school? I think it's important to figure out where the apprehension is coming from so you know how to treat it.



sahmw2010
by on May. 29, 2013 at 2:19 PM
1 mom liked this
No clue. My DD is terrified of bugs also (and we live outside during the summer) lol
Bmat
by Emerald Member on May. 29, 2013 at 2:29 PM
1 mom liked this

It could be because of squeals and rushing when the spider nest was found. She may have decided then that squealing and rushing, and fear, was a reasonable response. My suggestion is that when you see a spider comment calmly to her, if it is inside, catch it in an old plastic bowl and toss it outside. Be calm around them. And draw her attention to the different kinds of spiders there are.

mkm6612
by on May. 29, 2013 at 3:01 PM
1 mom liked this
My 2 yr old freaked out at daycare (and had her entire class in tears) because there was a fly and a stink bug in the room. She is terrified of bugs. After the daycare incident she woke up from a nightmare screaming about bugs being in her bed. I let her sleep on the couch because she was convinced they were in her bed. The next night we examined her entire bed before she got in it and that helped. A friend also suggested getting a water spray bottle (travel size), putting a little glitter in it and telling her it was magical spray to keep the bugs away. She could spray it without hurting anything and maybe it would help her feel in control. I didn't have to try it as the nightmares were only for a few nights, but it was a thought. We also try to down play all bugs. So when a fly landed on her the other day we said it kissed it. After the initial panic, she did giggle about it kissing her. It is so hard to see them truly scared. Good luck!
RADmomma
by on May. 29, 2013 at 3:33 PM
1 mom liked this
Show her that not all bugs are scary.

Fill a water bottle with magic bug spray & let her spray the room down before bed. I just did water & a tiny bit of essential oil for dd.

We read books on bugs & learned what they eat.

I also remind her that we are HUGE compared to the bugs & they are more afraid if us swishing then than we are.
snakemama427
by on May. 30, 2013 at 12:12 PM
1 mom liked this
Thanks gals, I am definitely going to try the magical bug spray :) What is interesting is that she is afraid they are going to come out of the walls and wood boards..I asked her what made her afraid of bugs and she can't pinpoint one instance or reason..I am also going to try to read info books with her about the bugs..Maybe she wont have such a fear afterwards...What's crazy is that I am an avid gardener and have taught my kids that the bees, etc are our friends cuz they help make the flowers and veggies/fruits grow...we have a pool and whenever a bee lands in it, I always remove them with my hands (while they are still alive) and put them somewhere safe on dry ground. So the kids are always seeing me take care of them, not hurt them...although I don't do that with the spiders lol..those get swished, heehee..and crickets and grasshoppers get fed to our pet lizard..but the kids have seen mommy hold them in her hand while feeding our pet and not being afraid of them...then again, dd IS newly 5yrs old so I guess she doesn't think about those kind of things when she sees bugs...will definitely try ur suggestions...Thanks!
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