Fear is often rightly said to be a slave to no man, has no master and transcends all barriers of time, place and age. Even as adults we constantly met with various challenges and fears in our daily lives. The thing about fear is that it is an abstract concept that appears to everyone very differently. For instance, one may be afraid of spiders, while a spider might be a pet to another. This is what makes fears so fearsome. They haunt and taunt until they are deeply embedded and well-rooted in the psychological set-up of an individual to the extent that that individual fears to see beyond that so-called fear. So, you must be wondering why we are talking so deeply about fear. Well, if you are, we won’t blame you. While our topics held up for discussion today are on fear, it isn’t on fears that adults face, but rather those faced by kids and toddlers.
What Is Fear?
Before we delve deeply and take you on a journey through the most common fears and causes of fear, it’s important to understand what fear is. As stated earlier, fears manifest themselves in various shapes and forms. This leads us to the fact that various types of fears can be categorized under two broad headings- physical and mental fears. Physical fears can be understood as those fears that cause individuals to associate the fear with physical harm whereas mental fears tend to break down the mental wellness of an individual to the extent that they can begin to question themselves. On further inspection, it can be said that mental; fears ultimately lead to physical fears or physical harm where the individual has degenerated to such an extent that clinical intervention is required. While this may sound frightful, it takes years of suppression to reach there which is why it is important to nip it in the bud when it comes to your young ones.
Most Common Fears Among Kids
- Fear of separation
- Fear of strangers
- Fear of the dark
- Fear of loud noises
- Fear of the toilet
- Fear of injuries
It’s not uncommon for most toddlers to suffer from separation anxiety. This is because as infants they are very attached to their parents and caregivers. As they grow up and develop their sense of individuality, they start to move away from their parents. However, this causes great distress for toddlers as they fear that the separation may lead to a great distance between them and their primary caregivers.
As a child, I always remember being told to stay away from strangers. I’m sure you may remember the same cautionary tale being weaved before your eyes by either of your parents. Since children are taught to keep away from strangers, they develop a tendency to fear strangers. While it is good for our kids to be careful, having it lead to a fear that causes distress can be worrisome. Therefore, it is best to slowly expose them to various social circles so as they grow up they can be able to distinguish between who is a good person and who intends to harm them.
I can recall myself as a child of two or three being terrified of the dark. From my experience, this fear is associated with claustrophobia and a fear that one can no longer be aware of his or her surroundings. It makes one feel helpless and blind. At times, sleeping at night can even pose to be quite challenging for kids who fear the dark.
Loud noises tend to startle little children. This is one of the most common fears among toddlers. Loud noises from thunderstorms, firecrackers and machines can be quite distressing for little kids.
You may come across this fear in your child while potty training him or her. Since the toilet is an entirely new object to your little ones, they will be confused. Adding to the chaos is the flushing of the toilet. It can be quite a bewildering moment for your little bundles of joy.
Children fear getting hurt, just as any other individuals also suffer from the same. However, it is important to let your child explore because kids learn from their environment. However, such exploration should be only under the supervision and care of the parents or caregivers. Helping your child get over this fear will help him take up challenges as an adult more willingly.
Causes Of Fear In Kids
- Fear often arises in the minds of your little ones due to social anxieties. This can even happen on the playground.
- Cognitive development has lately been viewed as a contributing factor to fear in the minds of children. As a child grows in age, his mental framework also changes. He or she becomes more aware of surroundings that one becomes fearful of.
- The vivid imagination of toddlers is another contributing factor.
- One of the primary causes of fear is unfamiliar experiences. Parents must reassure their kids that unfamiliar experiences are to be embraced and not feared or avoided.
How To Overcome Fear In Kids?
- Listen and respect your child’s fear
- Have a bedtime
- Offer a win-win scenario
- Use a magic breathing exercise
- Build confidence
The worst thing that a parent could do is negate the fear as being a childish little thing. This makes your kid feel irrelevant like his concerns are being disregarded. It is important to listen and connect with your child and help him or her overcome fears.
Many fears associated with the dark and night can be remedied by having a structured bedtime routine. You could read a story to your little one or make up an imaginary story that makes your child feel comforted and relieved.
It won’t be a good idea to outright tell your kid not to be afraid of ghosts if he or she has a fear of ghosts. Rather than telling them something, show how much you care by allowing your little tot to sleep with you. You could even reassure them by giving them a pet. This will serve as a companion for your child.
Breathing exercises are always good for those who are anxious. Fear has the potential to make one extremely anxious. A simple breathing exercise can work wonders and help them relax their body and mind. Tell them that there’s magic in the activity and watch them do it to overcome their fears.
The best way to get over any fear is to face it. Build their confidence by listening to them and encouraging them to overcome all changes and fears. You will be surprised at how confidence building as a regular exercise can help one overcome anxiety and fear.
Here at EuroKids, we encourage children to use their imagination and feed their sense of curiosity with a satisfaction like no other. While doing so, we ensure that children develop coping mechanisms to overcome challenges and fears. Our curriculum focuses on engaging the mind, body and soul to yield the best results possible. Our entire efforts are focused on turning your little ones into the best versions of themselves. If you want to learn more about fears and how to overcome them, make sure to check out our blog.