Rainbows for kids with fears

Mr 10 had a nightmare last week and called out in the early hours of the morning. It’s so unusual now for me to be woken up like this!

In my sleep-foggy state, I remembered my old standby for all sorts of child fears – the rainbow wrap. I used to do this for all my kids, often as part of their bedtime rhythm, often in the middle of the night or even at the beginning of a tough primary-school day.

The idea comes from Petrea King’s picture book, Rainbow kids. It’s a gentle story about different kids of different nationalities sending rainbows to the people they love. She explains it here –

Every night, before I go to sleep, my mother wraps me up in all the bright and beautiful colours of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. I breathe them in and imagine the colours gathering in my heart then I send rainbows to everyone I love.

It’s a beautiful way to remind children that they can send rainbows to people they want to be connected with – relatives in hospital, a friend who has moved to another school, a parent who is away from home. Such a lovely image to think of two people at either end of a rainbow, connected with love.

The wonderful thing is that it’s so customisable. I used specific objects for different colours – red is the colour of strawberries on your pancakes, of your favourite t-shirt, of Grandma’s red jelly slice, your footy.

When Miss 13 was in prep, she struggled to leave me in the mornings at school. She wanted to take her favourite teddy, Barry Bear, to school but also didn’t want to look too babyish as she already started all her school days in tears. So I took a photo of Barry Bear, wrapped in a rainbow silk. I printed multiple copies, in many sizes and had them laminated. There was a tiny one hole-punched with a keychain and attached to the outside of her schoolbag. There was one in her lunchbox, one stuck to the inside of her school desk and a tiny one in the pocket of her school dress. Every time she felt a little wobbly at school, there was a reminder that she was connected to Barry Bear – and me – and she was always wrapped in a rainbow of love. She knew that Barry Bear and I were always sending her rainbows.

Barry Bear and his rainbow silk are pushed to the back of Miss 13’s wardrobe now, and she laughs at her little five-year-old self. And Mr 10 didn’t mention his nightmare the morning afterwards – there was no need, he had been scared and he had been soothed.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Rainbow Kids is still available. But Petrea King’s website has other rainbow books and meditations.

Sending you all rainbows of love today!

8 comments

  1. Rainbows of love to you and your readers, Karen.

    A simple idea but so effective. I feel the young boy lost on Mt. Disappointment must have been surrounded by rainbows of love from the whole of Victoria.

  2. That is so gorgeous. I thought about sending it to my daughter who has anxiety, as the ideas of wrapping herself in rainbows might appeal. However she would rightly be furious with me as the the teddy wrapped in rainbow laminates was a brilliant idea. When she had school anxiety I just sent her kicking and screaming as I didn’t know what else to do. So I can’t sent this blog to her as she will immediately dump me and adopt you. You clever mummy you. (heart shaped emoji) xo tanya

    1. I would be so happy to adopt your daughter, Tanya, but I suspect she doesn’t need me! And no one is too old to receive rainbows or teddies!

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