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  • 4 Things To Do To Help Your Toddler Overcome Her Fears Of Thunder And Monsters In The Dark

    Let your child know that it’s okay to be afraid sometimes.
    by Kate Borbon .
4 Things To Do To Help Your Toddler Overcome Her Fears Of Thunder And Monsters In The Dark
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  • Kids develop all sorts of fears as they grow. The good news is that they will eventually be able to overcome those fears, as long as they get the support and reassurance they need.

    In particular, The Everymom says that for toddlers, who have a growing need for control and independence, their fears may be triggered by things they can’t control, like barking dogs or thunder. Older toddlers and preschoolers whose imagination is rich may become fearful of the dark or monsters lurking in their closet or under their bed.

    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), fears are common among children and are often “a response to a real or at least perceived threat in the child’s environment.”

    How to help your toddler with her fears

    Acknowledge her fears

    Your child’s fears may be irrational to you, but they’re very real to your child. Belittling or even ridiculing those fears won’t help, and neither will convincing her that there’s no reason to be afraid. Instead, reassure and comfort her, and listen when she talks about her fears. BabyCenter says doing so will let your child know that it’s okay to have fears and she can find ways to deal with them.

    “Try to depersonalize the fear by getting your child to talk about it or label what’s making her scared,” behavioral pediatrician William Coleman tells BabyCenter. “Fears won’t go away if you ignore them.”

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    Expose her to that fear

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    The AAP says that while it will take time for a child to confront and overcome his fears, it can help to encourage (not force) him to progressively face those fears head-on. For example, if she’s afraid of monsters under her bed, you can invite her to look under the bed together. “With you there to support her, let your child see for herself there’s nothing to fear,” Kids Health advises.

    Help her feel more in control

    BabyCenter says that another thing you can do to help your child get over her fears is to help her “find ways to increase her sense of power and control over things that worry her.” For example, if she’s afraid of the dark, add a nightlight in her room. If she’s afraid of monsters, give her some “monster spray” (water in a spray bottle) and come up with a magic phrase to ward off the monsters.

    You can also try educating her about the thing she’s afraid of. If she’s scared of thunder, read a book about what causes thunder and recall that information the next time there’s a storm. Again, don’t expect her to overcome her fears right away.

    Give her a comfort object

    Comfort objects, also known as “loveys,” can make your child feel safe and reassured and remind her that you will always be there to help her, says Parents. BabyCenter adds that items like an old blanket or teddy bear can also help some kids manage scary situations, like meeting new people or visiting the doctor.

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