IMPORTANT NOTICE: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding for as long as possible. Growing up milks are formulated to meet nutrition needs of healthy young children older than 1 year and should not be fed to infants.
It’s normal for your child to feel fearful or worried from time to time, just like every other child. Having new experiences and confronting new challenges while exploring the world around make anxieties an integral part of growing up.
As a youngster between 1 and 3 years of age, your child might have fears either because of his mind’s ability to draw scary scenarios that his brain is not yet capable of analyzing and understanding they are not real, or because of his capacity to feel the fears of others (especially his mom and dad) and follow their example, or because of his egocentric and limited way of thinking that pushes him to relate all events and situations to himself.
Since childhood fears are numerous and dealing with them is sometimes hard, we thought of helping you out and offering you a list of the most common fears among children between 2 and 3 years of age along with some effective ways to deal with them:
Fear of darkness: Almost all children fear the darkness. This fear is usually triggered by their fright from the unknown. To help your child fight his fear, teach him how he turns the lights on, and put in his bedroom a special lamp that you will light for him every evening.
Fear of monsters: Don’t try to convince your kid that there are no monsters except in his mind, because he won’t be convinced. Show him instead that you’re taking his fears so seriously and make sure you check inside his closet, underneath his bed and behind his bedroom door and any other place where monsters can hide, to comfort him and help him go to sleep every night. If you want, you can trick your child by spraying some water in his room and telling him that this water is magical and will keep monsters away from him!
Fear of weather: Your child may fear the thunder, the lightening and the wind and ask for your protection or his father’s. In this case, you better teach him about weather conditions and try to get him out of the house when the weather turns bad, so he can feel the wind and rain touching his skin and realize they are not dangerous.
Fear of nightmares: As your youngster is still incapable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality, nightmares and bad dreams might worry him and make him fear the idea of sleeping. In such case, you will have to put your toddler in his bed, cover him with his favorite blanket or put his favorite doll beside him, and assure him that you will always be by his side and nothing bad will happen to him.
Fear of strangers: Your child may probably fear strangers and that’s a good thing. But when your little one is scared from relatives or friends he doesn’t see regularly, then you will have to give him some time and try to behave amicably with them so he will follow your lead. And if your kid is shy, tell your relatives about it and introduce them to his favorite toys so they can find a way to communicate with him.
Separation anxiety: Your child may feel scared, he may also cry when he sees you leaving the house, because he thinks that you’re not going back and that’s normal. To be able to handle this type of reaction, you just have to say goodbye to your child in a nice way, and assure him that you will come back for him very quickly. Don’t even try to sneak out of the house without his knowledge.
Fear of masks and costumes: Your toddler may probably fear masks and costumes, as he cannot recognize that they are toys and means of fun and behind the scary weird faces he sees there are other friendly faces. That’s why, we advise you not to force your child to communicate or get close to scary people in disguise. If you can, ask people in disguise to remove their masks so he knows they are harmless.
Fear of toilets: Some children are scared from toilet seats, flash sounds and water taking away the poop. If that’s the case with your toddler, try to explain to him how the toilet works and how to use it in a safe way. If you want, you can bring him a safety cover to put on the toilet seat and protect him from falling in.
Fear of doctors and dentists: Your child may fear the doctor like other children do, as he relates between him and the pain he feels every time he gets a vaccine or a medication shot. To help him overcome this fear, you will have to prepare him for the medical visit beforehand and reward him whenever he cooperates with the doctor and reduces his tears and complaints.
Above all, do not make fun of your child’s fears, do not ignore them or punish him because of them. Stay by his side every second so he can feel rested. Try your best to control your nerves and your fears so he won’t copy you. Explain to him the difference between fantasy and reality, using stories and books with child characters who are about the same age and have the same condition.
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