Fear and anxiety are the common traits of development. As soon as your child starts exploring new things, faces challenges or experiences the world outside, fear and anxiety are some of the obvious by-products. This demonstration of fears and worries can continue till pre-adolescent days, though the reasons and symptoms get diversified.
Fear & Anxiety in Pre-schoolers (3 to 5 years)
In pre-school age your child’s fear of darkness may transform into fear of ghosts, monsters or other unknown things. Also you can commonly find your child getting anxious in presence of some animals, like dogs (especially when barking), cats, insects, and other similar things.
Parenting tips for soothing fear & anxiety in Pre-schoolers
- Acknowledge her fears – No matter how irrational it may seem, always acknowledge your child’s fears. And give her the right information about it. For example, if your child is afraid of ghosts, acknowledge her fear by letting her know that this is a common fear children generally feel and that you too were afraid when you were a kid like her, but now you fear no more. Also, give her simple facts such as there are no ghosts and monsters in real world.
- Encourage your child to talk about her fears and anxieties – Don’t expose her to the object she fears all of a sudden, or never force her to face it. Rather encourage her to talk about it to you. Listen and understand her mind to find solutions.
- De-sensitise her fears – Motivate her to face the object of her fear gradually, in a step-wise approach. But never force her to do so all at once. For example, when your child is afraid to get inside a dark room don’t force her to do so even if you are with her. Instead you can switch the light on and then let her get inside with you to find that there is nothing to be afraid of, after this gradually make her get inside a dark room with you and then switch on the light. With this step-wise process gradually try to motivate her to find the courage to enter a dark room alone while you stand just behind her outside the room.
- Let your child feel secure – Make your child feel safe and secure first, and then help her to confront her fears in your supervised guidance.
- Find solutions together – When your child is more than 3 years of age, ask her to think of ways that she thinks can soothe her fears and anxieties. Try ideas suggested by her, to see how it works.
- Motivate with praise and rewards – Appreciate your child when she makes an effort to get rid of her fear.
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