Separation anxiety and bedtime fears are not the only bogeymen that plague toddlers. Simple things like loud and big moving objects, huge bodies of water, or friendly, approaching animals can trigger the fear button in children. Don’t panic, scold, or ridicule them; remember it is a normal part of development.
While your children are dealing with exploring this new world, here is what you can do:
- Respect their feelings: Their fears are real to your children. If you berate or ignore them for being fearful, they will just stop telling you about them. Assure your children with understanding; do not drive them into a shell.
- Give them control: Children are afraid, as they feel powerless with regard to their fears. Talk to them and discuss these fears. Prepare them for the new things and unfamiliar situations. A feeling of being in-control will replace the fears that they have. If you are accompanying your kids to the zoo, for example, prepare them to meet and greet animals there, and face noisy crowds etc.
- Do not react adversely: One fallout of any fear episode is that you try to protect them from all new stimuli. DON’T! That is the worst possible reaction. Control your extreme parental instincts; guide your children around in the world and gently introduce them to the unknowns.
- Positive reinforcement: When your toddlers tide over any of their fears, reinforce the transition. From time to time, remind them of these achievements, so that winning over fears seems easy to them.