Monday, July 1, 2013

Help! It's Summer and My Child is afraid of the A/C!

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So, Kz is afraid of the air conditioner. Not in a terrified-run-away-screaming kind of way, but in an anxious-and-constantly-aware-of-its-presence kind of way. 

It manifests like this...Kz will be going about his business and suddenly become distracted by the A/C. He points to it and offers a small "mmm" noise. He waits for a response from an adult (Typically we label it, "Air conditioner," or give a short explanation like "The A/C keeps us cool.") and then, seemingly satisfied, Kz goes back to whatever he was doing.

This started happening more and more frequently until it got to the point where no answer my husband or I offered would satisfy his curiosity. He started perseverating on it, constantly pointing and "mmm-ing" at it.

After some extended observation, we discovered his interest/concern was NOT tied to: 
1) The noise it makes  - He does fine with the vacuum, hair dryer, etc.
2) The air it blows - Kz loves the  breeze outside and even standing in front of the fan provokes a smile.
3) It being on or off - Kz points and asks about the A/C equally whether it is on or off.

We've tried remedying this by talking about it, getting close and touching the buttons and visiting the A/C in different rooms and in other people's homes. When the conversation got old, we tried NOT talking about it and ignoring it, thinking perhaps we had drawn too much attention to it. Nothing seemed to work. 
When I mentioned this to my mother (Nana Kitty), she suggested I tie some streamers to it to make it visually appealing and fun. Fab idea mom! We were willing to try anything. Here's what we did... 
First we took some of our leftover shredded paper from previous sensory fun... 
Any light weight  paper will do.

I didn't want to spend the time coloring each strip, but this could really be beautiful if you have more patience or a better selection of paper than I did. As a time saver, I drew one line down the center of each strip to add some pizazz and attached them with scotch tape to the top of the unit, just above the vent. 

We flipped the switch...

The moment of truth...
We left the streamers flying for a while, and when the house was nice and cool, turned the A/C off. 
A few minutes later...
More pointing and "mmm-ing."

I searched my craft closet for some inspiration and came out with these: 

What could be more fun? Kz couldn't possibly be afraid of the A/C after this...

Alas, a few hours later, more pointing and "mmm-ing." 

Since this day o' fun with the A/C we have resorted to cheering whenever Kz asks about it. He points and we hoot and holler about how amazingly awesome the air conditioner is. He smiles, claps along, and eventually, asks about it again. 

I really hope Kz remembers being so fascinated with it so that one day, when he talks, he can explain it to me. I imagine him saying, "Mom, I just wondering about its internal cooling mechanism," or "I just wanted to figure out how to change the direction of the air flow." Of course. How could I have missed that? Then he'd add, "Silly mommy. Those streamers and pinwheels were a real riot, though." 
Do your children have any fears or fascinations that you can't quite understand??? 
Tell us about them by leaving a comment on our Facebook page or in the comments below! 


  1. Omgoodness I love this!! What a great idea to put streamers on it! Yay Nana Kitty! :) It's so funny to see what randomly scares them. Kingston despises the sound of the blender, but pats the vacuum cleaner as I do the floors, claps at the sound of a chainsaw outside, and is unfazed by booms and bangs. He also hates the sound of my dad blowing his nose! :)

  2. My youngest isn't a fan of the air conditioner either :) The noise drives him nuts!

    1. Yeah, I think for most children it is the noise that does it. And you can't do much to lessen the noise... oy. Stay cool!

  3. Wow! Moms are so smart aren't they? The streamer idea was brilliant. Isn't it funny that certain things just don't sit well with our children? I remember my guys being fearful of a few things that I thought were really bizarre. And yes, if they could only verbalize what it is that they don't like about those things. It sure would make it easier to get to the bottom of. Thanks for sharing this one with us. I'm pinning to my "parenting tips" board, Krissy.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Jackie! Yes! Moms have a way of giving the answers you need at just the moment you need them. I can't wait until Kz can explain how he feels (I'll be eating those words, I'm sure).

  4. What fun! So glad hr is not afraid anymore:-) we have the floor vents and we put balloons over ours and watch them the ground. Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. That's such a cool idea, Jaime! Sometimes they do that in Manhattan over the subway vents so when the subway goes by, the balloon inflates. Never thought to do it in the house! Maybe one day I'll have floor vents... haha.


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