Children fear the strangest things, and to make matters worse, they normally can’t explain why they fear them. They just do. At some point your child will develop some kind of fear. How can you deal with your child’s fears and how can you explain that there’s no reason to be afraid? Especially when they don’t understand that many of the things they fear do not exist or are completely natural. Here are some of children’s biggest fears and some ideas on how to fight them.
This is perhaps, the most common fear children have, and sometimes it persists for a few years. Children fear the dark, mostly because they can’t see what’s going on and occasionally they fear what could be hiding in it. The best way to deal with this fear is to condition your child not to be scared anymore. Begin by leaving on a bathroom or hallway light, then you could place a night light in their bedroom. You could start with one that shines stars or makes various shapes or beloved figures dance on the walls and ceilings, then progress to a small night light that shines a small ray of light across the floor. You could leave the small one in their room until the fear disappears or just stop using it after a short period of time.
Children are often scared of monsters and the various types or forms of them. This is a learned fear from the things they watch and see, so the best thing to do is limit the things they watch, to prevent this fear from forming at all. However, if the fear has already taken root, you could try to explain that monsters do not exist. This is often a useless approach, because children don’t yet understand that television is mostly fake, and take everything at face value. You may want to try showing them funny images of different monsters and attempt to change the way they view them. That way they no longer find them terrifying, but funny and intriguing.
This is a tough one to deal with, especially when you consider that some adults fear clowns. This fear could be approached in a way similar to the way you would deal with the fear of monsters. You could, again, show them funny images of clowns, but you could also take them to a fair or circus. Take them somewhere you’re sure to see one and buy the balloons they shape into cute animals, or swords. This will change the association your child has of clowns, from fear to presents and entertainment.
It might be best to let your child fear people they don’t know. It’s not necessarily a bad fear to have. It will prevent them from going to strangers and you won’t have to worry about them quietly letting someone they don’t know pick them up. If you are introducing them to someone, be warm, happy, and affection when you are speaking, or meeting, them. Your child will likely adjust to your attitude towards that person and begin to warm up to them.
Every time you see Santa or the Easter Bunny having their picture taken with children, you are sure to see at least one of those children cry. It seems confusing that anyone would fear these holiday figures, but children are scared of a variety of different things. Perhaps, you could try showing them some holiday films or read them a few stories involving the figure, before you take your child to see them. This may change their fear to an eagerness to meet the character of these films or books. This fear could also be caused from another fear regarding their separation from you. Let them approach the holiday figure, rather than just plopping them down on their lap.
Seperation anxiety is basically a child’s fear of not being with their parent. This is ultimately caused by a fear that their parent may not come back. This fear likely effects every child at some point in their life, but it would be best to handle prior to them starting school. Children do grow out of this eventually, as they get used to staying with grandparents on the weekends, or a babysitter during the day. However, if you’ve been a stay at home mom, this fear could appear as you drop your child off for school. You can lessen their fear by building their excitement, stick around for a minute, while encouraging them to go play, sneak out while your child is playing with the other children. Eventually, your child will be used to this, and maybe even look forward to their school day.
If your child fears storms, it is likely due to either the sound of thunder, or the image of lightening. Both of these two fears are kind of hard to deal with. You could make-up a story about the thunder and lightning, that is entertaining and causes them to question whether, or not, a storm is something they should be scared of.
Regardless of what your child fears, the best time to handle it, is as soon as it emerges. The longer your child fears something, the more anxiety they will have related to it, and the harder it will be to deal with. Children think differently than adults, and it is not so important that you figure out why they are scared, rather than just accept that they are. Be creative in the way you handle their fears, but as they are normally developed due to conditioning or exposure, it is best you limit what they view. When the fear has developed, change how they perceive the thing that scares them.