Oct 31, 2016
Fears and anxieties are often a typical part of early childhood. As children grow and learn more about their world, they can develop fears about things new or old. Whether your toddler develops a new fear of the bathtub or the vacuum cleaner, or is afraid to go to the pediatrician for a check-up, fears can develop as new things are learned and as imaginations grow.
It can be hard to know how to support your child’s fears, especially if they seem irrational or feel like they came out of nowhere; however, your child needs support to overcome these fears and regain a sense of self-assurance and confidence.
Explain what is real and what is not real
By explaining how things work, such as toilets or light switches, you may be able to alleviate some fear. For example, show her that the toilet makes a loud noise because of the way the water whirls around the bowl and then goes down the drain.
Be honest with your child about things that they may perceive as scary
When it comes to fears that cannot be avoided, honesty is important! Talk to them about the shots they will receive at the doctor’s office, and explain that it will be over quickly. You can also form a plan of things you can do while the shots are happening. Bring their favorite book to read or sing their favorite song. Help your child decide what you can both do together to make the best of the situation.
Avoid embarrassing your child over their fears
For example, avoid things like “Big boys aren’t afraid of the dark.” Fears are very common for your child and you can help them face their fears over time. Avoiding embarrassment will help keep the lines of communication open with your little one and will validate a typical part of growing up.
If your child has a fear of monsters, make “Monster Spray,” which can be as easy as water in a spray bottle. Or if they have a fear of the dark, help your child understand darkness by going on a night walk together and talk about all of the different things that happen in nature at night. Find books associated with your child’s fears and read the book together to show how the main character overcame his or her fear. This is a great way to bond over a book and also teach your child ways to face adversity.
Examining the root of your child’s fear will help you determine how to best approach to use. Fears are very common in childhood and your child is learning so much about her world every day! Your knowledge and experience will help them gain knowledge of their world and put those fears to rest for good.
If a fear isn’t resolved and it feels as if patterns are starting to emerge, don’t be afraid to take action and consult with a professional. If your child’s fear feels out of proportion or is causing them significant distress, you may need some extra support.