I was talking to a dad the other day and he was mentioning his 5-year-old is scared of EVERYTHING. He said, “She just seems scared of everything and everybody”. Now I don’t know if he was exaggerating but it did give me the idea for this episode.
The truth is that 100% of kids have some fear or another. Nobody has no fears. Certainly, some kids are more fearful than others.
AnxiousToddlers.com list many of the fears that children face. We’ll go over some of these up to age 11 but of course, there are still many many fears after that.
All things related to potty training
Lightening and thunder
Separation from parent (getting lost)
Water, pools, baths
People in costumes/masks
Still many toilet-related issues
Monster, Zombies, Ghosts
Separation from parent
Fear of people not liking them
Fear of doctors, dentists, shots
Water & pools
Fear of dark
Bad people, being kidnapped
Being home alone
Something bad will happen to parents
Fear of dying or loved ones dying
Disease, illness, aches, and pains
Having no friends, being teased by peers
So what do we do?
1) First, acknowledge the fear and provide empathy. Talking about it makes it less powerful.
2) Do not ridicule or exacerbate the feelings. Laughing will make them feel worse.
3) Don’t avoid the fear. Provide support and care as you approach the fear. For example, if they are afraid of the pool, you can hold them and go in slowly.
4) Have them rate the fear from 1 to 10. It might not be as intense as you thought. Or it’s more intense than you thought.
5) Teach them relaxation, breathing techniques. Also positive reinforcement such as “I can do this”.
6) There are books that deal with fear and anxiety that might be helpful by sharing stories.
7) In extreme situations, get professional help. But understand every child has fears.