What's Your Toddler Really Afraid Of?

Posted by Ranie Denver on May 14, 2015

Most toddlers go through stages where they fear things more than they do at other times. Sometimes these fears seem silly to adults or even other kids, but they are real to your toddler. Most of them will go away as your child matures, but if they stop your child from normal activities, these fears need to be dealt with.

This type of fear is very real and sometimes deep seated. "Dealing" with them doesn't mean that you can do much about them yourself, only that you can help your toddler learn what should elicit fear and what should not. You won't be able to do it overnight, either.

Don't even try to show your toddler that the fear he has is not legitimate. If he is afraid, he is afraid, no matter how logical it may seem that he should not be. A toddler's reasoning powers have not developed to the extent that he can follow much of an explanation of why he shouldn't be afraid, anyway. The world is still a big and scary place to a little child.

Accept the fear that your child has and help him deal with it, rather than try get rid of it or talk him out of it.

  • A special toy or comfort blanket can be a source of security for a toddler, so if he has one, don't take it away. Let him carry it everywhere if he wants to.
  • Darkness frightens many children and even some adults. You can take your child out into the dark with you to help him see that there is nothing to be afraid of. Hold him in your arms if necessary, but don't force him to go if he is panicky.
  • If he is afraid of what's under the bed, create a magic broom to sweep everything out and away, or put a line of blocks or some other barrier so that nothing can get out from under it.
  • If he is afraid of what's in the closet, send the dog or cat or favorite toy to check it out for him, then close the door.
  • If your child is afraid of sirens and other loud noises, explain what they are for (to help other cars get out of the way so they can go faster to help someone.)
  • When the fear is of a flushing toilet, show him how to put the lid down to be safe. If he is afraid to use the toilet because of the flush, show him that if you put a piece of toilet paper in it, it can't go anywhere until you pull the handle.  
  • Haircuts can be frightening, but you can ease that by having your hair cut first while your toddler watches.

There are as many ways, or more, to help your child deal with fears as there are fears. Don't worry too much about them and don't force the issue and your toddler will grow out of them just like he is growing out of his clothes. It's natural.