I thought I would take a moment and share a personal experience. My son is 4 years old an calls his lovey “bunny.” He and my husband were rough housing and Daddy “ate bunny” (which is just Daddy putting bunny down his sweatshirt). Needless to say, my son was very curious where bunny went and Daddy kept saying “I ate him” with a large bulge in his sweatshirt. Within 5 minutes my son suddenly became hysterical while playing–and said “I want Bunny!”
We realized that he didn’t understand it was all a game and were creating a very upsetting scenario. My husband quickly “coughed up” Bunny, who appeared and my son felt better. We took the time to talk through what happened and showed my 4 year old the game.
Sometimes when things upset kids (big or small) we need to take the time to process it with them. It may seem intimidating to discuss a fearful situation with a young child, but it is actually a way to create a sense of safety. “Storytelling” is a way that young children (and really all people) work through thoughts, feelings and experiences. Don’t fear talking to your children, its actually a healthy way of teaching them to share!