When your child feels fearful, it is so easy to say “man up!” or “you’re being ridiculous.” We even laugh at the cute and hilarious reaction when they are afraid of harmless things like water.
Baby Steps Daycare / Preschool sees the importance of parents addressing their child’s fears. All parents should validate the fear of their child instead of simply dismissing it. Here are ways on how you can deal with your toddler’s irrational fears and phobias:
- Keep your calm and confidence
Being afraid triggers our flight response so we can get away from situations we do not want to be in or from potential dangers. Children learn best when they imitate an adult. If you showed your child that you are afraid of a certain thing, your child will also exhibit fear when interacting with the same thing.
When you keep your calm and confidence, it tells your child that there is nothing to be afraid of. Take for instance if your child is afraid of the water. When the family is having a great time by the sea, show your child that it is fun in the water. It will trigger their curiosity and boost their confidence, therefore, conquering their fear of the water.
- Hug your child when he or she feels afraid
If you are feeling extremely fearful, your heart rate goes up, your breathing becomes shallow, your mouth dries, and your hands and feet feel cold. You do not want your child to feel that.
So when that happens, soothe your toddler by hugging them. This physical response tells them that everything will be okay and that you are there for him or her. It is every parent’s instinct to comfort their child whenever they feel uneasy or sad.
- Challenge your child to face their fear
Nothing beats fear or a phobia than overcoming it. This is what psychologists refer to as exposure therapy. When your child is exposed to something he or she is so afraid of, they conquer their fear instead of feeling helpless.
Work this up and you will gradually help your little one surpass his or her fear. We mentioned it in the first tip that children mirror their parents. If you show them that there is nothing to be fearful of, they gain confidence.
Another way to do this is to give them an inspiration. This inspiration may be a child his or her age who is not afraid of the thing that causes them fear.
As a Daycare and Preschool Provider in Metropolitan Avenue Forest Hills, New York, we give importance to the wellness of the child as well as their emotion. We teach children that their fears are something that should not back them down.
What were your childhood fears and how did you overcome it? Share it in the comments.