Things adults don't give much though to can be dreadfully frightening to a child. We all have memories of being scared of something as a kid, whether that fear was realistic or not. And even if your child's fears seem unfounded to you, it doesn't really matter. What matters is how you, as the parent, help your child to deal with any fears she has and move forward.
Most kids are afraid of the doctor for two reasons. First, this person is virtually a stranger who is suddenly very much in your child's personal space, which can make your child uncomfortable. Second, your child knows that the doctor's office is the place where shots are given and all she knows is shots hurt, even if just for a minute.
Talk to your child about her fears and reassure her in a calm manner. If you act annoyed or upset with her for being afraid, she will likely get more upset. Explain to her that the doctor's office is a safe place. You can also let the doctor know that your child is afraid. Most pediatricians are patient with children and will do whatever it takes to make them feel at ease. If your pediatrician isn't this way, it might be time to find a new one. We've had both bad and good experiences, but the doctors and nurses that can get my daughter to do a throat culture without a single tear are amazing. I wouldn't trade them for anything.
Don't hold your child down or trick her, but do have a reward ready for when the visit is over. You can also ask your doctor for a prescription for numbing cream like EMLA to put on your child's arm before you head to the doctor for a shot, or a blood draw.
You remember that feeling, right? That fear that turned the shadows in your childhood bedroom into monsters in your mind may also be building up in your child's head. The dark can be a scary place for any of us.
Help your child calm her fears by checking her closet and under her bed before she goes to sleep. If there's a certain item in her room that makes scary shadows, show her how that shadow is created. Cover her windows well to avoid outside lights gleaming through her windows. Car lights moving across her room can make any object come to life.
Reassure her that you are right in the next room. Don't get frustrated if you find her standing over your bed in the middle of the night. Just take her back to her room calmly and talk briefly about what she's afraid of. Constant reassurance will eventually show her that her dark room is a safe place. In addition, don't expose your child to scary television shows or news broadcasts, especially before bedtime.
As a child, I was afraid of dogs. I was never injured by one, but they were always so full of energy I just didn't trust them to not jump on me or knock me over. My children are afraid of one of our cats because she's "scratchy." My oldest has been scratched a few times for getting too close.
According to WebMD, to help your child deal with this fear, be careful with your words. Often times parents tell a child to pet dogs or cats in a certain spot or the animal might bite or scratch them. This puts the fear into the child's head before they even have a chance to interact with the animal.
In addition, try introducing your child to animals slowly, and choose adult dogs rather than puppies. Puppies are overly excitable which may overwhelm and scare your child. Choose animals known to be good with children in order to help your child ease out of her fear. Make sure you teach children how to properly treat pets when petting, playing, etc.
Many children face the fear of being away from their parents. For children, parents are their safe haven, the people who take care of them, calm their fears, and fix their boo-boos. Separation anxiety is likely to show up when your child starts school.
To ease this fear, Scholastic Parents advises parents to first look within. Are you struggling with separation anxiety, too, as you send your child off to school? If so, your child may be noticing that, and it may make her doubt that school is a safe place. Adjust your attitude to make your child more comfortable. Take your child to the school to see the classroom and meet the teacher ahead of time. Knowing what to expect can help ease your child's fears.
Talk to your child about people they don't see all the time and how those people are still OK, and you will see them again. Let them know that it works the same way for Mommies and Daddies. Mommy and Daddy may be away from you while you're at school, but we'll see each other as soon as the school day is over.
Many children are afraid of swimming because they aren't able to touch the bottom of the pool or lake, or they aren't able to see what's underneath them in the water. VirtualSwim.com advises parents to not minimize or cater to the fear. If your child doesn't want to swim, don't push it. Spend some time near the water, without actually expecting your child to swim or even put a toe in. Take your child to watch other children during a swim lesson, preferably older children who won't be crying or scared.
A slow and steady introduction is best for helping your child overcome this fear. Knowing how to swim is an essential skill and it's important for your child to conquer her fear and learn how.
When it comes to childhood fears, all you need to know is that your child is afraid. Don't laugh her fear off. Don't tell her she's being silly. To her, the fear is very real, even if it's unrealistic. Helping your child to properly deal with her fears now, will help her get through worries that come up throughout her life.