skip to Main Content


“Common Fears of Toddlers and Preschool Children:”

Fear of separation: This fear was mentioned several times.  Toddlers’ anxiety about separation is an indication of growth.  After the age of 2, the child worries about and is puzzled over a parent’s departure.  Parents should always tell their child that they are leaving.  The child needs to increase in trust and not decrease.   Parents should also help get the child absorb in an activity before they leave like waving bye-bye or blowing good-bye kisses.

Preschoolers are more self‑assured than toddlers but occasionally experience fears about being separated from a parent when starting a new school or child care arrangement which was mentioned before, staying overnight with a relative or moving to a new home.  These new situations are gradually reached.  It would be nice for parents to visit the new school several times before the first day or stay with the child for the first day or two which can make a big difference.

Fear of baths:  Many young children worry about going down the drain with the water and it is hard to change their minds.  Avoid letting the water drain out while your child is still in the tub or even in the bathroom.  I remember when our baby had baths in the sink with enjoyment and sitting in a small dishpan outside as he would play with the water.  Note: never leave a child alone in the bathroom.

Fear of Dogs:  Dogs are often loud, fast moving, and unpredictable and many children fear them.  Respect the child’s fear of dogs because a child’s instincts may be right.  Introduce books and pictures of friendly dogs and let the child see the dog from a distance.  Many children have a pet dog or cat in the house.  Usually, the parents bring that dog or cat to the child carefully so the dog and cat can smell the baby and know it is part of the family.   Note: don’t force a child to pet the dog. 

Fear of Loud Noises:  Although toddlers and preschoolers love loud noises like banging on pots and pans but sometimes a loud noise from a vacuum cleaner or a hair dryer may be very frightening.  Try letting the child look at and eventually touch things in the home and school before you turn them on.  Simply save those “loud noise jobs” for other times.

Fear of the dark:  Parents often think that night lights or a room light is the answer to a child’s sleep without damaging their health.  Many children do sleep with a night light well into the school‑age years.  Fear of the dark is usually one of the last childhood fears to be conquered.  Younger children fear monsters, ghosts and snakes that lurk in the bedroom shadows.  Older children may fear burglars and thieves.  It is not at all uncommon for children who are 10 and 11 to still use a night light.  It is important not to rush the child.

Next week are a few tips how parents can help their child-Part 7


Back To Top