FEAR is a child’s reaction to some information. The kid saw or heard something, the imagination was connected and created disturbing images.
Adults also have fears, but it is much more difficult for children to cope with them, because they do not have the knowledge and experience that could explain these emotions and reduce anxiety.
For the most part, fears in children go away on their own, on average, within a month from the moment of occurrence. But even during this time they can cause a lot of harm to the baby and the whole family.
First some general TIPS:
- Fear cannot be ridiculed or devalued. The problem may be far-fetched, but the feelings of the child are real. To eliminate many fears, it is useful to work with the child’s self-esteem.
- Fear is an emotion. And you need to be friends with emotions — to be able to recognize them in yourself and others, understand motives, competently live and let go. This is what the Clever®️ kit teaches. ManageEmotions, you can start practicing it from birth!
- Another very effective option is FAIRY TALE THERAPY. To combat entrenched fears, we recommend our book with new fairy tales “Clever Girl®️. Game Fairy Tale Therapy®. 50 therapeutic fairy tales and games from whims, fears and aggression.” how to cope with children’s fears, as well as 15 fairy tales and 3 games to work with fears
What are children afraid of?
1. Fear of the dark Fear of the dark appears at the age of about 3 years (and here it is, by the way, may be delayed). This is a natural fear, it is based on the instinct of self-preservation
What to do?
- Talk. Come to every call, ask questions, console, hug. It’s a good idea to choose a nice night light together and leave it on.
- If the baby is disturbed by something in the room (a closet from which “someone can come out”, etc.), then it is worth rearranging it. Put a flashlight in the crib so that the child can make the world brighter at any second — by the way, games with a flashlight are useful on their own.
- During the day, play hide and seek, arrange shadow theaters (only funny ones and if the baby doesn’t mind), watch filmstrips. If the child agrees, you can arrange a quest in the dark — it is not necessary to do complete darkness, dusk is also possible, and places with clues will be backlit.
- Before going to bed, it is better to play calm games, do not watch movies and cartoons, and also eat at least 2 hours before bedtime, this is important for the physiological comfort of the child.
2. Fear of doctors At the heart of this fear lies a negative experience. Everything is logical here — many medical procedures are unpleasant, and even painful. The child remembers that the last time he cried, and slowly his fantasy twists the sensations to the maximum, demonizing the image of the doctor.
What to do?
- It is worth working on this fear long before going to the doctor. Tell your child how our body works, what happens when we get sick, how medicines and procedures help to recover. For this, informative videos and cartoons, beautiful books about anatomy for kids, as well as games “doctor” at home will be very useful.
- Do not lie to the child that “this is not painful” and “aunt will only look, but will not do anything” — fear only intensifies from the dissonance between expectation and reality.
- Praise the child for courage, and both for the future (“you are very brave, now when you go in for a vaccination, all the doctors will be surprised that you are not afraid!”), And for past merits (“remember, we were with you last time went to the dentist, at first you were also a little worried, and then you said that it didn’t hurt at all”).
- When going to the clinic, think in advance how you will entertain the child in line, because there is nothing worse than sitting and shaking, scrolling horror stories in your head. We advise you to grab Umnitsa®. “World on the palm of your hand” or Umnitsa®. “100 Games”!
3. Fear of death — This is a natural stage in the development of the child’s psyche. Around the age of 5, children begin to feel themselves, and also grow up to understand that life can someday stop. Of course, this thought is disturbing.
What to do?
- First, do not avoid this topic, do not laugh it off and do not avoid answers. In general, here you can “lay straws” and slowly tell the child information in advance, without waiting for questions and manifestations of anxiety on his part. The main thing is that the child should have a firm and unshakable feeling from the conversation: life is very long, happy, death occurs in old age after many, many years.
- There is no need for excessive detail (general words will suffice: old age, serious illness), but answer all questions, if any. Speaking about the future, it is better to dream — where you would like to go, where to work, what animal to have when you grow up, so that frightening thoughts recede into the background.
4. Fear of dogs It can be about other animals, but more often than not, we are afraid of dogs. They bite, are quite large, and it is also easy to meet a dog on the street or at a party. Usually the fear of dogs is born out of a traumatic experience — the animal scared or hurt, and the child now fears that this will happen again.
What to do?
- Assess the situation — if the child is very afraid, then in no case should you “knock out the wedge with a wedge” (drag the dog to pet it to make sure it is harmless). But if the fears have not yet turned into real fear, then play with a puppy or a small dog might be a good idea.
- You need to talk with a frightened child at home, in a calm environment (when the dog is not around) — look at photos of different breeds, discuss animal behavior (in what cases can a dog bite? why does it do this?).
- It is important for a child to understand that animals do not attack “suddenly”, and nothing threatens him if someone passes with a dog on the street. Play with toy dogs, read books about animals in general, watch videos. Most likely, the fear will pass by itself, if it is not aggravated.
5. Fear of other people At the age of 7–10 months, babies begin to be afraid of strangers, and this is completely natural. This stage of development of the psyche will pass by itself by about 2 years.
What to do?
- For a child under 2 years old: ask others to respect the child’s personal space, do not sit too close, do not make contact in the first couple of minutes after arrival. Let the baby get used to a new person for him, watch him from the side for some time. Even if it’s a grandmother. Introduce the child to a person, say something like “This is my friend Lena, she is very good.” Hug your baby more often, kiss — imbue him with love to reduce anxiety and increase the level of trust in the world in general.
- For a shy kid from 3 years old, it is important to increase self-esteem, as well as give him ready-made scenarios of behavior in difficult situations (how to get to know each other, ask to take him to the game, make peace, etc.). Scenarios are best played at home with toys. Personalized fairy tales (we talked about them at the beginning of the post), hugs with mom, and a hobby in which the child will feel successful are well suited to increase self-esteem.
Kits to help overcome children’s fears
“Umnitsa®️. IgroSkazkoTherapy®. 50 therapeutic fairy tales and games from whims, fears and aggression”
Smart Girl®. “Peace in the palm of your hand”
Smart Girl®. “100 Games”!