Anxiety and Fear in Toddlers

Anxiety and Fear in Toddlers

What Can You Do to Ease Your Toddler’s Fears

It’s normal for your toddler to be fearful. As we know, anxiety is a normal condition that helps us cope

with new experiences and protects us from danger.

There are strategies that may help but a toddler does not get over her fear immediately. You can talk

about it to your child in childlike terms. You can say, “ I know it scares you when you can’t see Mommy

but I will make sure you are in a safe place.” “I will also be safe, too.”

Also make sure you give your child as much attention when she is happy and excited about something

such as going to the zoo. Talk about how happy she is.

Prepare Your Child:

If you are heading to a birthday party and you know your child has stranger anxiety, prepare him by

explaining that we are going to a birthday party for Tommy and there will be children there that you

already know and some that we will both meet.

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Take It Slow:

Transitions are difficult for everyone. For instance, if your child freezes up when you put him in a sand

box, stay with him for a while and play with him and the sand. When he feels comfortable, slide to the

edge and then finally to a nearby bench.

Practice:

Play a little game with your toddler by setting a timer for two minutes. Tell him you are going to another

room and when the bell goes off you will come back. If he still gets upset when you leave the room, tell

him to leave and come back when he hears the bell.

You can also give him his “blankie or doggie” to sooth him when you leave ( especially at bed time).

You can ease bed time fears by leaving a night light on or playing his favorite music in his room. I recall

one evening when I called one of my clients to discuss their Baby Power make up class, the Dad said

“Please hold on, my wife is laying on the hallway floor because our son has to see her head or he will not

go to sleep-we have to quickly change places”. Now I really tried not to burst out laughing because he

was so serious.  I hope they took a picture to show their child when he becomes a teenager and wants

complete privacy!

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Comfort his Fears:

Thunder is scary for a little one but you can tell the story of the elephants bowling or the big musical

band and the drums are too loud. He may not want to hear about warm air and cold air meeting and

kaboom, there is thunder. A short tale is more fun and understandable for a toddler.

Remember, you can always wave your magic wand to make his bad dreams or scary things go away.

Mommy’s and Daddy’s can do this with ease.

Boost His Confidence:

Applaud is love of the bath tub waters and how great he swims after his duckie. He may be brave

enough to want to join you in the big pool due to his good feelings about the water.

Do Not Demand Toughness:

Toddlers are tough in their own right but for instance to force a toddler to go down a slide when he is

terrified will only make him feel bad about himself and he’ll fear you ,as well as the slide.

We, in Baby Power, insist that a parent do not force their child to do anything. Children like to watch,

first so our teachers say” Watch me, watch me I am going on the balance beam”. “Sarah, do you want to

go on the balance beam?”  Sarah gets to make her decision yes or no – not her parent. If Sarah says

“No” we say “Ok” and move to the next area. This small decision for a child is a great ego booster.

I recall a little girl, Abby, who went on every piece of equipment but would not do a forward roll – ever.

She took Baby Power classes for two and a half years. I asked her parent to please concentrate on what

Abby does and not on what she does not do. (this is part of our philosophy) . Anyway, one day she

pranced into the gym, gave me a knowing look, ran to me, tucked her head and over she went. I thought

her father was going to cry, he was so happy.

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The lesson: Praise the skills that your child has and the other areas will improve.

Set A Good Example:

If you jump when you hear a noise in the night, hover over him while he plays, drag out your good-byes

or say you are safe now- Mommy is here and you are the only one that can protect him, your child takes

clues from you. If you approach situations calmly and confidently, your child will do the same.

Parents of toddlers have a great job to accomplish- boosting a toddlers self esteem!!

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