Fathers must anticipate that fear of separation turning bedtime into a struggle. “Nighttime is scary for most children,” Dr. Brody says. Certain comforting routines, such as giving your children a warm bath or having them snuggle up on your lap for a story, can provide the extra reassurance they need before bed.
If your 1-year-olds wake up in the middle of the night looking for you, it’s perfectly all right to go into their room to reassure them. Spend a few minutes soothing them, but try to avoid taking them out of bed. Your toddlers need to develop the confidence that they can work out their fears on their own– with your gentle support.
Toddlers have vivid memories and fathers can use this same capacity to help their toddlers conquer his fears. You can change their negative perceptions with some positive associations — a sticker after a vaccine shot, for instance, or a special trip to the park.
Though it’s important to be supportive when your children are fearful, your ultimate goal should be to help them feel more competent in new situations.