Why We Didn’t Watch the Eclipse: A Child Anxiety Story

Today’s the day, the day so many people have been waiting for, a total solar eclipse. This phenomenon hasn’t happened for 38 years.

People all over the US and Canada are getting ready as I write this to experience this eclipse. They’ve purchased glasses, made viewers with cereal boxes and mapped out the perfect place to go see the eclipse.

My children and I didn’t watch the eclipse. Not because I don’t think it’s cool. Because my daughter has anxiety and this eclipse was scaring her very badly.

About Anxiety

Latest stats show that 1 in 4 Canadians will have at least one anxiety disorder in their life. Anxiety is not easy to deal with, it shows up at funny times and triggers are different for everyone. Those with anxiety have to learn ways to calm themselves during an episode.

We’ve found many things that make our daughter feel better during an anxiety attack. We’ve always got my daughter’s comfort kit close by in case she needs it and are always ready to listen to her and calm her.

We’ve also had to let her “win” on many things. This eclipse is the perfect example. When she knows something will be just too much, we don’t do it. Whether it be a ferry ride, a big hike or going to the movie theatre, we’ve had to adjust our plans many times to put her mind at ease.

Education isn’t Everything

I have obviously educated my daughter about the eclipse (I am a school teacher so it comes naturally). I have shown her videos, shown her DIY projects on how to make a viewer but there is no way I could convince her to watch the eclipse.

One of my daughter’s biggest fears is weather and this eclipse falls in that category. There is NO way I could convince her to watch it and that’s OK. She understands what an eclipse is, she is educated but she does not want to watch it. No problem with me.

Alternate Activities

Instead of watching the eclipse we spent time together inside. We pulled out our favourite board games, I made their favourite snack and we waited it out.

I plan on watching coverage of the eclipse with my kids on TV and will have a great discussion with them about it. But unlike most families, we didn’t experience it in person.

I’d love to know, did you watch the eclipse with your children? Have you ever had to adjust your plans for your children?


  1. I agree entirely with you Ladena, trying to force a child to do something it’s frightened of only increases that fear and can cause a panic attack. Not a cool thing for a parent to do, to cause a child such stress best to avoid it altogether.

  2. no but I did watch it at work- they stayed inside with their caregiver and watched it on TV. Yes we’ve adjusted many plans for the comfort, safety, and/or health of our children. I think making sacrifices for the wellbeing of your kids is part of good parenting.

    1. I totally agree with you, Vanessa. As a parent your #1 job is to make sure your child is loved and feels safe. Today was a perfect example of how I could make my daughter feel safe by not forcing her to watch something she was very worried about.

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