It is perfectly normal for preschoolers to feel afraid at times. Fear is a beneficial emotion that can help your child be more careful and cautious in certain situations. However, things that are new, loud, or different can seem scary at first. Parents can help their preschooler deal with fear in the following ways:
- Comfort your preschooler by reassuring them with your words when they are afraid. “You are safe.” “I’m here.” Soothing words and a hug let your child know you are there to help and protect them.
- Help your preschooler try new things. Talk through new experiences and be encouraging while she practices new skills and maneuvers different situations like making new friends or being left with a new babysitter.
- Model how to talk through situations that are new or different. Self-regulation is a skill that many adults use without a second thought, but preschoolers need to learn how to manage their emotions in healthy ways.
- Limit scary images, movies, or television shows. These things can cause fears to fester in young (and even older) children.
- Resist the temptation to jump right in and try to make everything better every time. Parents naturally want to comfort and protect their children, but children need parents to guide them through difficult situations. This builds confidence and perseverance in your child.
- Make a plan for dealing with fearful situations. For example, if your preschooler is afraid of the dark, have a soothing bedtime routine. Read or sing to your child, use a nightlight, and consider staying with him until he falls asleep. Set a goal for the child to go to bed and fall asleep on his own. Each night, work towards your goal by staying in the room less and less.
- Prepare your preschooler ahead of time when you know she is going to face something she has feared. Roleplay scary situations like making new friends or going to the doctor before you actually do them.
Change can take time, and fear is a powerful emotion! Parents, be patient and consistent. You will have a braver preschooler in no time!
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Want to learn more about Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy of Mableton located in Mableton, Georgia? Our mission is to provide secure, nurturing, and educational environments for children ages 6 weeks – 12 years. We help children to bloom into responsible, considerate, and contributing members of society. For more information, give us a call or stop by for a tour! We’d love to get to know you and your family.