Many of us suffer from Entomophobia (a fear of insects) and consciously or unconsciously, we tend to pass this fear onto our children. Our first reaction on the very sight of them is: ‘Eeewww!’ or ‘kill it!’
My five year old son, Dev, has an unconditional and innocent love of these critters and has taught me to see their beauty and appreciate them for what they are.
A toddler seeing an insect for the first time would not have any fear of it. Instead, there is only curiosity. But our reaction as a parent when we ask the child to not touch the tiny being, automatically instills fear into the subconscious mind of a child. This is exactly how Entomophobia develops.
So what can we do as a parent? First, we should face our own fears and let our children wander and observe freely by guiding them and participating with them in this wonderful process of exploration. We have to teach our little ones to be more compassionate towards bugs, as these beings are alive and living just like us.
We can also teach our kids to gently explore their little friends with the use of an insect exploration kit. This makes it possible for us to go back into our homes to allow the bug to live comfortably in its own habitat. After all, a compassionate world begins with us and it should be visible in our actions and deeds.
When my son found out that his uncle had a caterpillar problem in his garden and wanted to exterminate them, he rescued and adopted 17 of the creatures. We put each one of them in a separate jar and took really good care of all of them. As a result, we witnessed the beautiful process of metamorphosis right in front of our own eyes. When the caterpillars became butterflies, we released them into our local park. This way, we saved 17 butterflies who will play a very important role in the process of pollination.
I would encourage you, as a parent, to nurture the young entomologist in your child with a love and curiosity for insects. Letting go of your fear in this way with an interest in developing your child’s appreciation for these important critters can be a very rewarding experience. Not only do you overcome your own fears, but you also become a supporter of their journey into a wonderful world of scientific observation.
To develop a love for bugs, you can read exciting bug stories to them. My favorite being, “The boy who loved his caterpillar” which was written by me, and yes, my son was the inspiration behind the book. Share your own bug experiences and have a hearty laugh about it by letting go of that fear.
Remind them that the bug is someone’s mommy or baby, so let’s not squish it. Say “YES!” to bugs. There is nothing to be truly bugged about with the presence of a little bug.
——-HAVE A BUGSY DAY——-