It is normal for children to develop certain anxieties. Fear is a normal part of the human experience. However, it can be distressing to see your child afraid, and you may be at a loss of how to address their fears. It is common for children to experience anxiety around such things as the dark, animals, ghosts, masks, and strange noises at night. Certainly, even some adults struggle with these fears! However, these are particularly scary to your child as their imagination develops and they learn to differentiate between imaginary and real. Fortunately, you can help them to cope with their fears by taking some simple steps:
- Don’t tell your child to not be afraid; it is not helpful to them and just makes them feel ashamed of themselves. Don’t force the issue.
- Take small steps to help your child overcome their fear. For example, if they are afraid of the dark, try reading a book by flashlight together in the dark.
- Reward every effort to overcome their anxieties, even if it is only a small step. This will motivate your child to work on their fears.
When is it a problem?
While it is normal for your child to insist on sleeping in your bed when they are afraid of the dark every once in awhile, there are signs that their anxieties have turned into a problem. If your child cannot sleep, experiences nausea or stomach aches, becomes incredibly clingy, or experienced an accelerated heart rate regularly, it may be time to talk to a professional.
At Adventures in Learning, a child development center in Orange, CA, we are experienced in helping children with fears. If you need child care in Orange, contact us today.