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Your toddler being afraid of silly things like darkness and monsters may seem juvenile. But fears have a deep psychological meaning.
Thousands of years ago when humans were living in the wild, fear would alert you of imminent death. However, in a comfortable civilized life, fears are a byproduct.
Fear is good. However, too much or too little is not good. Too much fear will make our child timid and shy. Too less fear will make your child reckless.
That is why it is necessary for you to know how to handle your child's fears in a productive constructive way.
Here are a few common fears of toddlers.
1. Darkness, ghosts and monsters
"73% of kids aged 4-12 years said they experienced fear at night."
"64% of kids between 8 and 16 admitted to nighttime anxieties or fears."
Your child's brain is imaginative and creative. It can make imaginary scary images like monsters under the bed or shadows behind the curtains.
This is where you come in. Make sure you tuck them in. Maybe make this a thing and read your child a story and stay nearby till they fall asleep.
Reading stories of friendly ghosts and monsters can also help minimize their fears.
Pro tip- Night lights! If your child is afraid to sleep in the dark, get a night light and keep it on for as long as the child wants. You won't believe how many parents refuse to do this simple thing.
2. Bath time
Fear of baths is an ancient one, when being near water could easily drown you.
Fun fact: Most children don't find the water scary, its the drain that freaks them out. Drain is where water vanishes and your child may be afraid of getting sucked in.
Most importantly, some children JUST DON'T LIKE WATER.
The best way to deal with this is to bring about the bath gradually like co-baths or sponge baths to help them ease into it. Get water toys like ducks and other animals. Make it a full-blown learning session.
Pro tip: Do not drain the water when the child is in the tub. Some people do that because it is fun! It might exacerbate your child's fear.
Bugs are scary. Most adults are also afraid of bugs.
The creepy crawlies are very infamous for scaring everyone. They makes sounds and move fast, you little one can get scared of that.
Show them how to save a spider or bug by catching it in a jar and releasing it outside.
Pro tip: Read books and watch movies about bugs.
4. Dogs and other pets
Animals are unpredictable. They make loud noises. They have big teeth. All the things that is used to describe the scary thing in books. So naturally, your child finds them terrifying.
Show them you understand that dogs can be scary. Read stories about friendly dogs. Slowly expose them to friendly, gentle dogs.
Pro tip: Watch movies about dogs with your child like Hachiko, Togo, etc.
5. Loud noise
A loud noise like that of a vacuum cleaner or traffic can startle your child. It also makes it hard for them to focus on anything else, which is dangerous.
Whenever your child is startled by a loud noise hold them close and talk softly. Describe to them what is making the noise.
If it is a vacuum cleaner, turn it off and let your child touch it. Make them comfortable and convey to them that the noise can not hurt them.
Pro tip: Acknowledge the fear, explain where it’s coming from, and if possible, show them how you can shut the noise on and off.
Happy Motherhood :)