Helping kids overcome their fear of sharks and other ‘scary’ animals

Animal experts weigh in on how to show children there’s nothing to be afraid of.

If a fin rising out of the water sends a chill down your spine, it’s likely that your kids might also find sharks a little scary—along with creatures like snakes, spiders, and bees. The good news is that experts say people have little to fear from these animals. Likewise, there’s a lot to be gained from getting your kids over such animal-related anxieties.

“If your kid is afraid of the water, they’re not going to experience all the other things that the oceans have to offer,” says Jasmin Graham, a marine biologist at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Florida. “The last thing you want to do is take that away from your kid.”

The earlier you can expose your kids to animals like sharks, the better chance they might have at experiencing fascination rather than fear.

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