How can I help an almost 4 year old little girl get over her fears of bugs?
Young children (and even adults!) sometimes have an irrational fear of bugs. How do you help a preschooler overcome her fear of bugs?
I recently went to a birthday party at a park during the time when lovebugs were flying around everywhere. (We live in Florida) and there was a little girl there about 3 yrs old that would scream and cry every time one would land on her even though we told her that they would not bite her. She was very afraid of the lovebugs. My son on the other hand loved them and was having no problem playing with them when they landed on him. Once she saw how at ease my son was with the bugs she stopped crying and screaming and started to play with them as well. I would suggest having another little kid that she looks up to show her that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Show your daughter that YOU are not afraid of bugs. Read some books about ladybugs and butterflies or worms or ants or grasshoppers, or all of the above. Get some magnifying glasses and go out "searching for bugs" and let her see them up close but from a distance. Tell her all the cool things about bugs- like how strong ants are, how lady bugs start from caterpillars (we have a milkweed plant and get to watch caterpillars eat and change into butterflies all the time; when a butterfly first emerges they can't fly for about 20 minutes, so I've held one to show them they're okay). Really looks and see how you react to bugs- don't use any negatively charged words as kids can take these to the extreme. Talk about how cool they are and teach her using picture about all the different kinds of bugs and how they help us.
Try EFT, it is a very gentle but extremely effective way for anyone, young or old, to overcome irrational fears. Here is a link to the book - http://www.amazon.com/EFT-Manual-Emotional-Freedom-Techniques/dp/1604150300 - but it would be most helpful to google EFT and your area and find a practitioner since she is so young.
With my son, recently, I found a ladybug, so I showed it to him, he was fascinated to watch it walk across my hand and up my arm. Eventually, he put his own finger down and it crawled onto his hand and he came to the realisation that it wasn't that bad. "It tickles my hand" he told me. Now, lady bugs aren't a problem!
He's allergic to mosquito bites, so we tell him that spiders catch mosquitos in their webs and they help people. And moths too (it's a lie, but a white one!), so he'll tolerate moths now too. Butterflies were a major problem for us for quite a while. I mean nightmares about butterflies coming to him in the night. But I found some caterpillars and put them in a ventilated jar with some of the leaves they were eating, and he was fascinated to see the changes they went through, so now butterflies aren't an issue any more.
Anything that might bite or sting (ants, bees, wasps, etc,centipedes, etc), I'd rather he had a healthy respect for, so those we catch in jars, let him see them, then set them free, or explain that bees are only interested in flowers so they can make some honey for us.
It's all about educating him about what's out there and showing him ourselves that bugs aren't something to be scared of. If that means overcoming your own squeamishness to dig for worms, well, so be it! Kids learn by example, so if you act scared, don't expect much more from your little one.