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Fear and Anxiety in Children-Part 5-Fear of Dogs, Loud Noises and the Dark

Fear of Dogs:

Dogs are often loud, fast moving, and unpredictable.  Many children fear them.  Respect the child’s fear of strange dogs; a child’s instincts may be right.  If you wish to introduce a child to a friendly dog, first try sharing pictures of the dog with the child.  Next watch the dog from a distance and finally approach the dog together.  You may want to demonstrate how to pet the dog, but don’t force a child to pet the dog, too.  If they refuse, you can try again later.

Fear of Loud Noises

Although toddlers love to pound on toy drums but loud noise from a vacuum cleaner or a hair dryer may be very frightening.  Even preschoolers can develop fear of loud noises.  Try letting the child look at and eventually touch things in the home and school before you turn them on.  If the fear seems intense, save “loud noise jobs” for times when your child is rested and in a good mood, or better yet, when he or she is not around.

Fear of the dark

Parents often sheepishly admit that their child sleeps with a night light (or the room light) on.  Children can sleep with lights on without damaging their health.  Many children 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 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.

For some children, a gradual reduction to turn lights off works for many families; others decide on their own to turn lights off.  It is important not to rush the child.

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