Fear is a natural and essential component of young age. While experiencing fear is upsetting to kids and parents alike, it should not be minimized. Being scared is an indication that the child is gaining awareness of the environment and trying to understand it. Fortunately, most fears arrive at familiar stages, and with some insight, you can help your kid navigate her fears and go through childhood with a bit of confidence.
Dark: Many kids are scared of the dark on some level, it's a very natural fear of the unfamiliar. To combat this fear, Try teaching your kid how to turn the lights on around the house, and keep a night-light on for when she needs to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Encourage your child to get used to darkness by taking her on a night walk and talking about all the unusual and intriguing things you can see when it's dark outside.
Weather: Making your kid experience weather changes and even relish it is the best way to tackle this one. Let her play outside when it's windy or rainy to get her used to such conditions. If you live in a hazard weather zone where tsunamis or other unpredictable calamities occur, make a bad-weather plan as a family so your child has some command at that time over the situation.
Bad dreams: Bad dreams and nightmares embody children's conflicts with the perception of imagination as reality. Toddlers often have difficulty verbalising thoughts, incidents, even dreams, but will display their anxiety through behaviours such as constant waking, crying, telling broken stories, describing things they saw or saying they are afraid to go to sleep. Reassure your kid after a bad dream with her favourite lullaby or a stuffed animal, and comfort her, make her realise that she is safe and you're always around.
Strangers: Fear of unfamiliar people is a necessary, defensive protective fear, children should not go to people they don't know. The downside is when your kid doubts friends or relatives she doesn't see frequently. Before expecting her to communicate and be kind to someone, give your kid some time to get to know them.
Separation: It's natural for children to become anxious or afraid when their parents are not around. This isn't an issue for working parents as kids get accustomed to living with grandparents or babysitters. For stay-at-home mums, a healthy good-bye routine might be the solution. Routinely leave your kid with a trusted and close caregiver, your neighbours or in-laws, and have the same brief good-bye routine every time you leave.
Being Alone: Take turns being alone, mummy alone, baby alone. Sit away from your kid in another part of the room, then try being in different rooms where she can still see and hear you; do this until you can finally be in separate rooms without upsetting her. Try this occasionally for short periods of time (about 30 seconds) until she's okay with it. However, keep in mind, leaving your child completely alone for any length of time is never safe.
Doctors: A fear of doctors is very natural for kids of this age. Your child might freeze when she gets to the waiting room because she associates the clinic or hospital with pain. Prepare your child beforehand for the type of procedures she will go through. Play or Talk to her, while you wait to minimise anxiety, keep her engaged and stay with your child during procedures. Praise your kid for being bold and strong once the procedure is over.
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