How to help children aged 0-7 get over fears?

For children, anything in the world may make them feel scared.

In addition to things like monsters, thunder and darkness, children are also afraid of things that may seem cute or ordinary in our eyes. They are afraid of cute chickens, water from a watering can, and even the moment when the toilet flushes.

No matter how old the child grows, there will be some insurmountable fears, and the objects of fear will also change with age.

Many times, we will find that blindly mocking them for being timid or telling them to be brave will not eliminate their fear.

So how to remove fear from the child mind?
how to remove fear from the child mind
01
Is fear a bad thing for children?

Fear is not entirely a bad thing. In fact, fear will stimulate the body's self-protection mechanism.

Child psychologist Dr. Tamar Chansky proposed that:

Some fears are formed during human evolution. An interesting phenomenon is that ordinary people rarely encounter snakes, but many people have a natural fear of snakes, whether they are poisonous or not. For this group of people, the brain has established a protective mechanism to fear snakes and avoid harm.

Some children will have a strong emotional reaction after experiencing some extremely stimulating events, showing phobias. But in fact, in most cases, children's fear can be expected and eliminated.
What are children of different ages afraid of
02
What are children of different ages afraid of? What are the countermeasures?

The objects children fear will change over time. Parents can help children of different ages to deal with fears appropriately:

0-2 years old

Who are they afraid of?

Strangers
Although newborns spend a lot of time in their sleep every day, they know and prefer their parents compared to strangers. When babies are 6-8 months old, separation anxiety is most intense.

This is a good thing: as babies learn to crawl and walk slowly, being alert to strangers can ensure that they won’t slip too far. This situation will continue until after 2 years of age.

But even after two years old, when there are unfamiliar people around, the babies will still stick to their parents.

Loud voice
Babies’ sensory systems are not well-developed, so sudden or loud noises can overwhelm them. Babies will startle and cry. These sounds include the sound of the toilet flushing, thunder and police sirens, etc.

This kind of noise and the stress response of the human body is very uncomfortable for the baby. After being frightened once or twice, the baby will associate those unpleasant feelings ("Too loud! Too harsh!") with a specific place. They start to feel scared even before entering a noisy restaurant or public toilet.

Strange and exaggerated costume

For example, Halloween. For older children, they may be especially like it. But for little babies, Halloween is scarier than surprise.

Those strange costumes and masks make babies very confused. "Is the person wearing the hood and the black cloak a human or an animal?" Babies will think that the person in strange and exaggerated clothes is different from everyone he has seen before, so it looks more dangerous.

Maybe older children will feel like it is common in large shopping malls and amusement parks such as Disneyland. Those large dolls played by humans are particularly funny and cute. They will be very excited to shake hands, take pictures, and interact with them, but for the little baby, it is also likely to scare them.

Other
Sudden sounds, big luminous objects, changes in the room, etc.
How can we help our children
How can we help our children?

The key is to make the child feel comfortable.

In an ideal situation, the baby's world should be surrounded by the sense of security and peace that parents bring. Dr. Janine Domingues, a child clinical psychologist, believes: "Infancy is the stage where babies establish a strong attachment relationship with their parents. They need to confirm that their parents can guarantee their safety."

Therefore, parents should comfort their babies in the most effective way. You can hug, pat, or gently shake your baby, and tell them: "Everything is fine, mom and dad are here." This close connection is the foundation for building trust in parents during infancy and helps babies cope with all kinds of fears and anxiety in the future.

In addition, it is necessary to ensure that the baby has a regular schedule of work and rest every day, and try to maintain a stable caregiver, which also helps the baby to establish a sense of security.

Sometimes, when parents know that something that scares the baby is about to happen (such as flushing the toilet in a public toilet), they can tell their baby in advance: "We are going to flush the toilet. The sound may be a bit scary, but we are very safe."
Who are they afraid of
3-4 years old

Who are they afraid of?

Dog or other animal
Dr. Chansky explained that usually, toddlers are afraid of larger, louder animals.
Children of this age are beginning to enter the explosive period of imagination, often producing strange ideas.

For example, when a fast-moving animal approaches without knowing what it is, children will imagine: "Will it rush over and throw me down, and then lick my eyes?" "Or eat my whole hand with huge teeth?" Under the influence of imagination, they felt that the docile cats and dogs became scarier than before.

Darkness
Although they are no strangers to their own bedrooms, children may suddenly become afraid of the shadows in the bedroom. Sometimes may cry and feel that the room is too dark.

Children use constant observation to determine their environment and surroundings. But in the dark, they couldn't see anything at all. At this time, their imagination came into play.

Once they hear a sound or see a shadow, they will think: "What is that?! Is it a monster or a tiger?"

Changes
Children of this age are trying hard to learn and understand how the world works. Therefore, for preschool babies, fixed arrangements make them feel comfortable. Anything that breaks the routine will make the child feel antipathy-including moving the living room furniture, putting some new food on the dinner plate, and so on.

Others
Ghosts, masks, etc.
How can we help our children
How can we help our children?

In order to help children better adapt to the new environment, parents do not need to over-protect their children, but they can't care less.

Parents can accompany their children to experience the things that scare them and help them overcome fears step by step.

Suppose a dog runs over at this time and your child is scared. At this time, you can pick up the child, comfort him first, and stay in place for a minute or two and don't leave.

You can talk to your child about the dog and ask the owner: "Is this dog very docile? Can we say hello to it?" Or you can reach out to the back of your hand to let the dog smell and tell your child: " Did you see the dog wagging his tail? This shows that the dog is very happy."

Parents do not need to keep their children in an absolutely safe environment. Although parents don't want their children to suffer pain, they will never be able to overcome this fear if they keep their children away from everything they fear. It's like a parent saying to a child who is afraid of dogs: "Yes, you are right. Dogs are very dangerous, and you will never be able to deal with it."

On the contrary, if you keep your children in contact with dogs under the premise of safety, it will help them to jump out of their "comfort zone" and make greater progress.
5-6 years old Who are they afraid of?
5-6 years old

Who are they afraid of?

Annoy the teacher
For children aged 5-6, they may not fully understand the rules of the school or kindergarten, nor do they fully understand the requirements of the teacher. Therefore, they will worry about crossing the boundaries of rules accidentally.

Parents can learn about what happened in school or kindergarten by retelling the experiences of other classmates by their children. For example, your child tells you after returning home: "Lucy is unwilling to sit down well today. The teacher is very angry and punished her not to play games." She is likely to worry about whether she will be punished by the teacher next time.

Sick or injured
In the past, when children were injured, they could be told to "blow". Not anymore now! After children enter this age group, they are more afraid of getting sick or injured.

They understood the world around them better and accumulated more experience-they saw other children fall off the swing, their mouths were broken and bleeding.

Their memory is also better-they remember they had a severe cough last time, their parents took them to the doctor.

Nightmare
The children are trying to learn to distinguish between reality and imagination. Generally speaking, they can be distinguished, unless it is something that scares them.

Therefore, when children have nightmares, they feel that dreams are particularly real. Under strong emotional stimulation, children may think that it has indeed happened.

This vague perception of reality and imagination is part of the normal process of brain development. This also explains why children aged 5-6 prefer to play pretend games than before.

Others
Spiders, alone at home, scary TV shows and more.
How can we help our children
How can we help our children?

Parents should be empathetic and patiently explain to children.

For example, after a child has a nightmare, parents should first comfort the child, and then explain to them: everyone may have happy, funny or scared dreams. Dreams are stories that the brain weaves at night, not real.

No matter how ridiculous the children’s dreams may seem to adults, parents cannot deny their children’s emotions, but just tell them: "What's so scary about this? Nothing happened!"

By doing this, parents will only convey a wrong message to their children, fear is wrong, which may hinder their children's ability to properly handle and cope with strong negative emotions in the future.

Parents can also use drawing, dolls, role-playing, etc. to help children understand.
After 7 years old Who are they afraid of?
After 7 years old

Who are they afraid of?

Family member sick or dying
When children are around 7 years old, they will ask death-related questions in a more serious way. Not only have they greatly improved their cognitive ability, but they also have some simple abstract concepts of death.

Or even they have already had similar experiences, such as losing family pets or grandparents.

They began to realize that their parents are not immortal. Parents are ordinary people, and one day they will die.

Something creepy

Although children have become smarter and smarter and have grown into little adults, they cannot control their imagination. Spiders, witches, ghosts, etc. will make them think about it. Especially have a full imagination about the dark space in the cabinet and under the bed.

This fear of dark space is different from the fear of actual existence. For example, children are afraid of snakes or spiders because they have learned or understood that snakes and spiders can be dangerous and will harm them.

The fear of dark space is more of the fear of the unknown under the influence of imagination. Understanding these differences can better help children overcome their fears.

Others
Thunder and lightning or other natural disasters, failure, rejection, etc.

How can we help our children

How can we help our children?

Parents can study with children. For example, if children are afraid of bad weather, then take a few minutes to learn about storms.

Parents can help children make a "fear list" and then learn and understand item by item.

Parents should face up to their children’s fears and don’t lie to them. Don’t tell your children that the things they fear don’t exist.

Once children discover that their parents are telling lies, they will lose trust in their parents.

Rather than escape, it is better to educate children on the correct response measures.

This is the basis for helping children.

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