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Easing Five Common Childhood Fears with Confidence

Submitted by on February 3, 2016 – 11:51 AMNo Comment
Easing Five Common Childhood Fears with Confidence

Whether your child is dealing with a fear of the dark, animals, monsters under the bed, or even something as serious as burglars and kidnappers, your little one’s anxiety can take a serious toll on your entire household. Here are some tips for easing common childhood fears so everyone can relax a little more.

#1 – The Dark

Children are not the only ones who fear dark places. Many adults feel uncomfortable when left alone in the dark, as well, mainly because they feel vulnerable and unprotected.

You can help your child overcome his or her fear of the dark in a few simple ways. First and foremost, if he or she exhibits the most anxiety at bedtime, just add a nightlight to his or her room to brighten things up a bit. You can also teach your child how to turn lights on and off around the home; this provides an empowered feeling which can ease some of his or her vulnerability. Finally, to truly help ward off the fear of the dark, consider taking your little one on a walk at night around the neighborhood. While you’re out, discuss all of the “cool” things you can see in the dark, such as the stars and the moon.

#2 – Monsters in the Closet (or Under the Bed)

Although it might seem silly to adults, toddlers and young children often get it into their heads that a monster will come out from their closets or under their beds and hurt them.

In order to help your child, resist the urge to tell him or her that there is no such thing as monsters. Your child’s imagination is much stronger than his or her sense of logic. To help your little one sleep a little easier, take his or her concerns to heart. At bedtime, open the closet door, look under the bed, and check any dark corner where the monsters could be lurking. Many moms have experienced significant turnarounds after filling a spray bottle with water and an essential oil, then telling their children that it is “Anti-Monster Spray.” When your child sprays his or her room for monsters, he or she feels empowered.

#3 – Nightmares

Children are especially prone to nightmares and night terrors thanks to their vivid imaginations. What’s more, their young brains are constantly processing information that they simply cannot understand. Often, this leads to scary dreams that make it difficult for kids to sleep.

The occasional nightmare is nothing to worry about, and if your child struggles with them, simply calm and comfort him or her. Provide a drink of water, a favorite blanket, and a favorite stuffed animal, then reassure him or her that you will be there to help. If the nightmares occur frequently or seem severe in nature, you may want to contact your pediatrician for advice.

#4 – Storms

The fear of severe weather is not something that only children experience. In fact, millions of adults in the United States admit that they feel significant anxiety during thunderstorms. The good news is that you can help your child overcome some of his or her anxiety in a couple of different ways.

First things first, be sure to expose your little one to the weather in small doses. Take her outside to play on a windy (but otherwise nice) day. Take your sun for a walk in the rain. These things are perfectly acceptable as long as there is no thunder and lightning. Next, since Florida is prone to hurricanes and even tornadoes at times, be sure to develop a severe weather plan to practice with your entire family. This can also ease some fear, particularly in children ages five and older.

#5 – Separation

Many children experience separation anxiety at a variety of ages. Some will experience it in infancy; others may hold on to this fear throughout their first few years of elementary school. There are a few ways to help ease your child’s anxiety in these situations, however.

Most of the time, separation anxiety occurs when you leave your child with a babysitter while you head off to work, or on his or her first day of school. To ease these fears, simply introduce teachers, babysitters, and even classmates gradually. As your child becomes more comfortable with these individuals, he or she will begin to fear being separated from you less and less. Essentially, your child begins to trust others and does not feel the same anxiety when you are not around.

Childhood fears are quite common, and while it might be tempting to ask your child to “be brave”, it is important to keep your little one’s age and ability to separate reality from pretend in mind. In some cases, it is better to join the battle against the monsters under the bed than to convince your child they simply do not exist.

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