Fears and Children

Nothing breaks my heart more than seeing my young child afraid. It doesn’t matter if that fear is real, like tackling the big jungle gym they’ve watched from a distance, or imaginary, like monsters under the bed. I want nothing more than my child to skip on his merry way and experience only happy thoughts, but I know this is not a reality. I die inside when my child winds his body around my leg and won’t let got for anything due to fear.

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As a parent, I need some kind of plan of action in handling my young child when they are experiencing fear. I have found that it helps to get an idea of what causes fear in my children so I can come up with a game plan on how to handle it.

Below I have listed some of the most common fears of young children. Read below to see if your child experiences any of theses common fears and learn ways to help your young child cope and ultimately move past them.

Fears and Children: Dogs

This is a common fear of young children. Loud, big, unpredictable and fast moving, dogs can really spark fear in children. Teach your child how to handle and overcome their fear of dogs by teaching them first to trust their instincts. If a child is hesitant about a dog being dangerous, they can be right! If your wish is for your child to interact with a friendly dog, teach your child to observe the dog to determine if they are friendly and the signs that indicate a friendly dog. Then, teach them how to gently approach a dog while also showing confidence. If a dog senses fear, it could lead to an unfavorable introduction.

Fears and Children: The Dark

Another common fear in young children, the dark can really unleash major tantrums in the hopes of avoiding sleeptime all together to avoid being in the dark. The fear of monsters, snakes, bug, or burglars can cause intense fear in a child and interfere with their sleep and your relaxing time! Oftentimes, the introduction of a nightlight can help. As the child develops, you can try to slowly wean them off the light and away from being afraid of the dark.

Fears and Children: Separation

Unfortunately, the fear of separation is becoming more and more common as working moms require the use of daycare during the workday. Whether dropping your child off at daycare or leaving your child with a sitter, make sure to always tell your child you are leaving but will be back. Sneaking out the door actually will nurture distrust in your child and make the fear of separation worse.

Fears and Children: Loud Noises

Who can blame them! A loud noise can be jarring and scary. I found it is helpful to first warn my child when I’m about to turn on something loud like the vacuum cleaner. Allowing the child to explore the “loud source” before the noise is turned on will help them become more familiar with the source and ultimately understand that it will not hurt them.

Fears and Children: Toilets

There are more children than you think that are afraid of the “grown-up potty”. The water swishing down the drain can sometimes cause the child to think that if they fall in, they’re goin’ with it! When potty training each of my kids, I spend time at the potty exploring it. Clean it first, of course, and allow your child to see that they can’t go down the drain. This always helped my children understand there is nothing to fear of the potty!

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