As a three year old, I was pretty fearless, but there was one thing that scared the heck out of me – escalators. They were tall, they were steep, they moved, and I was pretty sure that you could get sucked in at the bottom. I vividly remember crying and screaming when it was the to go on the escalator and only making it down if someone held me.
Does your child have an irrational fear? Some common fears include bugs, men with beards, dogs, birds, and loud flushing toilets. Even if your child doesn’t encounter one of these, he may have another. It is really very normal and usually fairly temporary. In the meantime, here are some ideas to try:
Empathize with your child. Your child really is scared so do not dismiss his concerns.
If possible, explain the fear away. Some fears come from a misunderstanding or lack of knowledge about the subject matter. For instance, some bugs sting but not all of them do. If your child is afraid of bugs because of they might get stung or bitten, it might be helpful to get some books about bugs and talk through the different types. Then go outside and find some bugs. Try to take the mystery out of the fear by giving lots of information. Knowledge is power.
Take your time. Overcoming a fear may not be a quick process. Be patient with your child and respect his need to work through his fear on his own time.
Know that this too will end. Most childhood fears don’t last too long. Even if bugs are never your child’s thing, he will eventually overcome screaming every time he sees one. Be patient and try to remember what scared you when you were little. Gentle encouragement can go a long way toward overcoming a childhood fear.0