Fear is a common part of childhood. Most adults can likely look back at their childhood fears and think they were silly. However, as a preschooler, those fears are very real and fear is a strong emotion.
Many children have the same or similar fears. The most common fears children have are a fear of the dark, being alone, bugs, or dogs. Some children may have a fear of the doctor, getting shots, heights, or water. When you feel your preschooler is being overly dramatic over walking into the pool, remind yourself that it is absolutely normal for her to be afraid.
Talk it Out
Have a discussion with your preschooler about why she is afraid of something. Do this at a time when she is calm and the item or scenario she fears is not something she is currently occurring. Ask her questions to determine specifically what is causing the fear. If she has a fear of the doctor, ask her what is scary about the doctor. Use this conversation to gather information to help her work through her fears.
Acknowledge the Fear
You may feel the fear your preschooler is exhibiting is silly and unnecessary, but his fear is real. Avoid telling him there is nothing to be afraid of or to get over it. Instead, acknowledge the fact that he is scared. You may say, “You seem really scared. That dog really scared you.” Knowing you see and acknowledge his emotions will help him feel more comfortable.
Encourage and Praise
Remind your preschooler she is brave, can handle big things, and you are there to help. Make sure she knows you see how hard it is for her to work on these fears and that you are proud of her. Praise her efforts, even if the progress is slow.
Make a Plan
Spend some time talking with your preschooler about conquering his fear. Create a plan together of how you will take baby steps to help him overcome his fear. Be patient and support his efforts. It may take some time for him to be able to regulate his emotions and kick his fear to the curb.
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