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6 months Stranger anxiety 8 months Separation from parent, falling 1 year Separation from parent, noises, animals, bath, doctor 2 years Separation from parent, toilet training, bath, bedtime, doctor 3 years Loss of parent, toilet training, bedtime, monsters and ghosts, anyone who lo oks different than family, e.g., disability, beard, different skin color, etc. 4 years Noises, animals, bedtime, monsters and ghosts, people who look different than family, loss of parent, death, divorce 5 years Noises, animals, monsters and ghosts, getting lost, going to daycare, loss of parent, death, injury, divorce Most Common Early Childhood Fears Chart adapted from When Your Child Is Afraid by Schachter & McCauley What to avoid when dealing with your child’s fears… • Try not to tell your child that she will be a “big girl” when she overcomes the fear. This puts too much pressure on her. • Offer understanding of the fear. For example, say, “Loud noises, like thunder, can be scary.” • Provide helpful information about the feared item or situation. “Dogs bark because that is how they ‘talk’ and sometimes they bark a lot when they are happy to see someone.” • Read a special book, like There’s a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer, and talk about the feared object or situation. • Help your child approach fears at her own pace, which will probably be slow. For example, allowing her to decide when to put her face under water when swimming gives her a sense of control and less fear. • Closely monitor what your child watches on TV. Many programs and movies are too intense for young children and may encourage fear. Helping children when they get shots… Getting shots can be scary and pain-ful. Children can feel less fear and pain if they are treated in a positive and comforting way before, during Fears are a normal part of childhood and are typical at certain ages. Fear is real to your child which means that it needs to be taken seriously. Like adults, when children feel a sense of control they are less fearful. Some fears develop with independence. For example, when a child begins to walk and understands she can leave mom, she realizes mom can leave as well. A child’s surroundings can increase fears-unfamiliar places, crowds, shadows from night lights, etc. Sometimes a child’s fear is based on a lack of knowledge. “The water goes down the drain, so I might dis-appear down the drain.” Often, a child’s fears are the same as the parent’s. Fears can be increased by a parent’s reaction or comments. For example, if a parent screams at the sight of a spider, the child will likely do the same. Children take what you say literally-“The police- man will get you if you don’t stay in your car seat,” or when a stranger says, “You’re so cute that I’m going to take you home with me.” Be careful about referring to death as sleep because this may cause children to be afraid to go to sleep.
|Okla State Agency||
Health, Oklahoma State Department of
|Okla Agency Code||
|Authors||Oklahoma. Child Guidance Service.|
|Publisher||Oklahoma State Department of Education|
Fear in children.
|Purpose||Fears are a normal part of childhood and are typical at certain ages.|
|OkDocs Class#||H1015.1 C536f 2011|
|Digital Format||PDF, Adobe Reader required|
|ODL electronic copy||Downloaded from agency website: http://www.ok.gov/health2/documents/cgs.pub.Fears.pdf|
|Rights and Permissions||This Oklahoma state government publication is provided for educational purposes under U.S. copyright law. Other usage requires permission of copyright holders.|