Q&A: Overcoming fear of riding the school van


We moved to a new school; now our eight-year-old son is expressing fear of riding the van. He did okay last year, so I don’t understand this development. It’s too far for him to walk, and my wife and I both work so we can’t drive him every day. What can we do?

Answer: This can be quite normal for children that are a bit shy; if that’s the case, your child will need some reassurance and coaching. If he’s generally outgoing, adventurous, and not usually afraid, then you’ll need to dig deeper.

First, ask your son for more information. Did something occur last year on the van? Was there a problem with other children? Is anything especially scary about the new setting? If nothing bad happened previously, the issue could be he’s just nervous about the unknowns at this new school.

You can make that first ride less intimidating with some planning. You could have him take a stress ball or fidget spinner to help him as he manages his fearful feelings. Or he could quietly play “detective” and note different school bags, nose shapes, or hairstyles he sees on the van, then share those observations with you when he gets home.

Another idea is planning a special celebration for the first day and the first week of successfully riding the new van. Celebrations help a child focus on controllable things rather than the things that cannot be controlled.

Help your son see how fear is to be conquered and not avoided. Some personalities do better with this than others. But learning to manage uncomfortable feelings is a great life skill that will always be helpful as he grows.

If you’d like to discuss this subject at greater length, call our Family Support Services at 03-3310 0792 or write to support@family.org.my.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.




Father For Life

As Jessie had previously attended Focus on the Family Malaysia’s (FOFM) Mother & Daughter Connection event and found it helpful, we thought that I too could attend the Father & Daughter Banquet with my daughters.

Read More >

Q&A: Spending too much time on video games

I’m totally in synch with your view that children should only play positive video games – but that’s not our issue. Ours is time. Both of our children play only games with suitable content, but it’s like pulling teeth to get them to quit. Any help here?

Read More >