Understanding your child’s fears and anxiety

Dealing with Anxieties and Fears in your Toddler

As much as you would like your child to be a brave little kid, it is common for children to air some fears and anxieties in every day life. This article gives you information about the different fears and anxieties of your little one, and the ways in which you can handle them.

As your little one starts growing, she might develop many little fears. There could be the fear of sudden loud noises, darkness, lurking monsters, or even the fear of spiders! Some of these fears if not dealt with at the right time, might fester into anxieties making her a highly strung and nervous child.
Dealing with fears requires you to first get into your toddler’s shoes and understand her. Here’s a list of some common childhood fears and anxieties and ways of dealing with them

Fear of The Dark

Fear of the dark is the most predominant one in a majority of kids. Speaking of your little one, her imagination is just beginning to blossom. While this is a good sign, it also means she is unable to distinguish between the real and the imaginary world, often mixing up the two. In her little mind, dark rooms and dark corners are filled with monsters, waiting to pounce upon her. These are some ways in which you can put her fears to rest

  • Talk and reassure her: Tell your child that there is no such thing as monsters. Never throw open the cupboards to reassure your child. This might give her the mistaken impression that you also believe in monsters.
  • If your child is afraid of robbers and thieves, show her the security measures you have installed in your home. This will immediately put her mind to rest.
  • Put a night lamp in your child’s room or better still put a lamp near her bedside. This would help her to feel in control as she knows what to do when she is afraid.
  • Put up stuffed toys on her bed.
  • Establish a relaxing bed time routine which will help in de-stressing her.
  • Ensure that the fear does not have any other underlying cause and anxieties such as the fear of dying.
  • Neither belittle her fears nor publicize them.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety may start at a time you are trying to teach your child to sleep on her own, or when you leave her in a day care centre. The best way of dealing with this anxiety is preparing your child for it. You can do this by telling your little one that you would be right there, in the adjacent room, and would immediately come over if she calls out for you. If you are opting for a day care, you can make things easy for her by making her look forward to it. You can do this by telling her how much she’s going to enjoy being there because there would be so many little girls and boys to play with. With time, her anxieties will gradually disappear.

Other Fears and Anxieties of Your Child

  • Other than the fear of darkness which plays a major role during the growing up years, there are other fears and anxieties which may inevitably creep up. These may include
  • The fear of looming objects
  • The fear of loud noises
  • The fear of strangers

Similar to the fear of darkness, the above fears may stem from the fear of the unknown. The easiest way to deal with them is to reassure your little one. For instance, when the pressure cooker whistles, you can say, “Hey that’s just the pressure cooker making the soup for the baby!” or “Look who’s here! Its Uncle Joe. Let us shake hands with him!” Over time, your little one’s fears will slowly disappear and he will start looking at these things with curiosity and joy.

Quell your little one’s fears with lots of reassurance, rationality and hugs. Tell her that darkness is not scary and monsters do not exist anywhere – neither in the dark nor in the light. Remember that if these fears are not dealt with at the right time, they might develop into full-fledged phobias.

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