Responding to FearsSeptember 15, 2021
Between 3 and 5 years, children are fascinated by the world of pretend and imagination, and may believe in all kinds of fantasies. That also means they get scared of things that may sound silly to grownups. Even though monsters aren’t real, the fear is real for the child, and they can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality. Keep reading for tips you can offer to parents on how they can understand and respond to their child’s fears:
- Acknowledge the fear – If parents don’t take their child’s fears seriously, they may not share them in the future, and that will make it harder for the child to feel comfortable expressing themselves. Encourage them not to tease or argue about the fear, but instead, empathize with the child.
- Help find a solution – if a child is afraid of a monster under the bed, a parent can make a sign that says, “no monsters allowed,” or check under the bed before the child goes to sleep. Parents can ask their children to come up with their own ideas for feeling safe.
- Share stories – Parents can tell stories of other children with similar fears that demonstrate ways of gaining courage or overcoming fears through books or based on their own experiences.