The feeling of fear belongs to our daily life. It makes us cautious, sharp, thoughtful and less reckless. Fear is considered a basic survival mechanism. So it has a function, but for children this emotion can feel pretty overwhelming. How do you deal with this? How do you ensure that your toddler learns to deal with this? Because with a little bit of fear nothing is wrong, for example, it keeps him away from that big dog of the neighbors, but his fear should not be so big that he does not even dare to go out the door.
Fear is not related to a certain age. However, your child does different stages of development through which he can always become afraid of other things. Think for example of separation anxiety, fear of ghosts, fear of the dentist or fear of failure. You can imagine that this diversity of fears can occur at different ages but sometimes also depend on experiences. Take for example the fear of the dentist. When I look at Rocco, he always went to the dentist with a whistle. He is afraid of the dentist unknown (unlike myself), but yes, he has never had a hole. The pain of drilling is unknown to him and his annual fluorine treatment is at best annoying, but not painful.
It is important to take fear seriously and to guide your child as best as possible. That is why we give you 5 tips on how best to deal with his fear.
Tip 1 - Do not feed the fear
Take the fear seriously, but do not give it too much attention. The more attention, the greater his fear can become. You feed it as it were. Do not, however, deny his sense of fear and let him know that you see him by naming his fear.
Tip 2 - Prepare your child
Is something exciting going to happen? Talk to your child beforehand and tell him what to expect. Both the scary and the fun things. Be honest in this, without entering too many exciting details. Give him handles that he can stick to. Encourage him and think of small clear steps for him so that it is clear for him. You can also try to turn the tension into something positive. After all, he can now show how brave he is.
Tip 3 - Compliments are always good
Compliments are always good. Give him the feeling that you are proud of him and compliment him if he does something while he finds it exciting. Did you know that the faster you give a compliment, the more powerful he comes in ?! Be clear in your compliment and clearly state where you are complimenting him.
Tip 4 - Give the good example
Give the good example by being brave yourself. If you let your child know that you actually find it very exciting, it is not surprising that your child takes over. If you think it is scary after all, then it must be very scary. For example, my mother was extremely afraid of thunder. That was because of her youth, when she lived in a mill as a little girl and thunder was a real threat. When it was thunder, she was taken out of bed and they had to hide under the table. I can understand that you are cultivating a considerable amount of anxiety with children. However, she has shown this to us as little as possible so that we were not fed with her fear. I did not like the storm either, but I was not afraid.
Tip 5 - Find the outside air!
Outdoor air has a positive effect on your mental health and your self-esteem! Research has shown that you get a better feeling when you look up the outside air. For example, you can go to the playground, the garden or go for a walk through the park or forest. That is of course not an option for the evening or night, but you can of course do this the next day.
No diagnosis needed
When the fear increases and it hinders your child to take certain things, there is the possibility of calling in professional help. Fear can not play a negative, predominant role. It must keep you alert and sharp, but not let your life be determined. Talk about this with your doctor, he can possibly refer you to a counselor who can give your child specialist help. Since 1 January 2018, no diagnosis is necessary for this.