Top Toddler’s Fears

Posted by Janet Heinsler on April 28, 2015

Life for your toddler is one of learning what life is all about. Everything they come into contact with, in their eyes, has the potential for being scary because everything is new to them. It's normal for your toddler to be fearful. Although some toddlers will have some out of the ordinary fears, there are some that fears that almost all toddlers share in common.
 
One of the most common fears among toddlers is fear of the dark. Fear of the dark stems from fear of the unknown. Some ways to help your toddler combat this fear is to give them light whenever they need it. For example, place a nightlight in their bedroom and allow them to control how much light they have when they go to sleep. Gradually decrease the amount of light they need over time. Also show your child how to turn the lights on in the various rooms in the house so they can always have a light on in the room. Other ways to help your child understand the dark is by taking them for a walk at night so they can see what things look like at night.
 
Another common fear that toddlers experience is fear of bad dreams. They are afraid to go to sleep for fear of having a bad dream that will scare them.  Bad dreams for kids are a struggle they face between make believe and reality. Although a child may not be able to explain to you that they have had a bad dream, you will know they had one if they wake often during the night and are screaming or crying, or if they tell you stories about what they saw that don’t make sense, and if they show fear when it comes time to go to bed. The best thing to do if your toddler is having nightmares is to comfort them by holding them, hugging them and by giving them a stuffed animal or special blanky to comfort them.
 
One fear most parents are familiar with is the fear of strangers. Although this fear may make it somewhat difficult for you at times, fear of strangers is a healthy fear in that it is a protective fear. It tells kids not to approach people they do not know. The hard part with this fear is that it makes it difficult for you when your child fears relatives or friends they don’t see frequently. To help your child with this, make sure you introduce him to everyone they are going to be around and tell them how you know them.

If this is the first time your child has been around them make sure you stay close to calm their fears. It will help if you warn the new person that your child is a little shy. It will also help them to know what types of activities your child likes to do. If the stranger can play with your child something they enjoy then your child will be more comfortable. It is also important for you to model friendly behaviors so your child will model them.
 
If you have had a toddler, you are probably aware of this next fear also. This is fear of being separated from their main caregivers, you and your spouse. This fear is often referred to as separation anxiety. Your child is probably questioning why you are leaving them and are wondering if you will come back. This is a normal fear for kids but not one that makes it easy for you to go out on your own. One of the best ways to deal with this fear is to develop a healthy good-bye routine.

It is important to leave your child with a familiar caregiver and to develop a routine that you follow every time you leave your child with someone. Never sneak away this will only heighten their fears. It will help if you get them involved with activities prior to you leaving.  Part of the routine should be reassuring them that you will return. Try not to come back and have to leave a second time. Make sure you have everything you will need before you say your good-byes.
 
Another fear you might run into with your child is their fear of monsters. When they go to bed, they might be worried that one is lurking under their bed or hiding in the closet.  Don’t laugh at your child or tell them that this is just nonsense, they have vivid imaginations that create these images in their mind of monsters everywhere.  

They are in clouds, shadows, corners or anywhere else they can think of.  Make sure you check under the bed, in the closet, behind the curtains etc. to assure them that there are none there. For the future help your child come up with some type of monster repellant, whether this be a sign on the door or colored water from a spray bottle sprayed in the room at night.

Other common fears that you might find yourself dealing with are fear of bad weather, fear of being alone, fear of doctors and dentists, fear of costumes, masks and mascots and toilets and bathrooms. The important thing is never to laugh at your child’s fears. Take them seriously and deal with them accordingly.