Parents notice that their preschooler can be scared of the dark, frightened by thunderstorms, or convinced there are monsters hiding under the bed. Children have a growing and vivid imagination. At times, they are unable to differentiate between what is reality and what is in the imagination. As kids try to figure out the world around them, they are not entirely sure of what fantasy is and what reality is, so their imagination creates incredible things. Here are some tips for parents to help ease their child's fear:
- Allow your child to share their fears. Acknowledge them as something valid. Offer support and comfort. Use a calm voice, and reassuring words.
- Encourage your child to share these fears, so they can learn to gain control. Teach them to take deep breaths, or keep a flashlight by the bed.
- It is important for parents to model a calm approach to confronting fears in achievable steps, rather than avoid moments that contain anxiety. Remember, it is important not to force children to face a fear that they are not prepared to face.
It is natural for children to develop childhood fears as it is part of their development. If your child continues to be fearful to the point that it affects his participation in school and his normal day-to-day activities, consider consulting your pediatrician or a child psychologist.