To adult mind many things are just not possible. We don’t understand things or believe things that have no evidence (not talking about religious faith). But kids…oh boy! With them things are different. These little creatures are open to so many perspectives that we adults can’t handle. There is saying “Kids find magic because they look for it” and if kids are can find magic then they can find things that can trouble them as well. Their imagination runs wild. Many of kids’ fears seem mystifying or irrational, but to them the world is full of threats. Most fears fade as kids grow, but if your child’s fear persist and totally preoccupy them, they’ll need your help to overcome them.
1to 3-year-olds are creatures of habit, any unfamiliar environment or a strange animal getting too close can make them panic. Often, toddlers are afraid of harmless stuff, such as the vacuum cleaner. The reason: Even though they’re aware of their environment, they don’t yet understand what is happening in it. Your child may know that a vacuum cleans up dirt, but he’s not sure it won’t suck him up too.
Toddlers’ fears often stem from one scary experience for example, a child who cried when his birthday balloons popped might become afraid of all balloons.
As they begin to understand abstract concepts, their fears become more complex as well. They’re scared of what they can see and what goes on in their imagination -- the monster under the bed, things that go bump in the night, and what might happen when Mom and Dad aren’t nearby. It’s no surprise that this is the peak age for nightmares. And since preschoolers still have a hard time distinguishing fact from fantasy, their bad dreams can feel terrifyingly real.
But how do their imagination works…
Children are afraid of the dark, and they are certain that monsters that live under their beds. It’s not because of horror films. It’s not because their friends have told them stories of ghosts; not because one particular society pushes a certain brand of fear. It’s because the dark is scary and monsters do exist.
“It’s no surprise that infants have some fear of the dark. It is because throughout our evolutionary history, the dark has always been dangerous”. Humans rely on vision above other senses and the dark placed us in acute danger for thousands of years. It follows that a healthy fear of the dark, and the monsters that prowl at night, is deeply ingrained in the human psyche.
Here are some soothing tips
Breathe in breathe out
Your child is old enough to learn relaxation techniques that will manage his physical responses to fear, like a pounding heart or churning stomach. Encourage them to take long, slow breaths, and come up with a soothing mantra such as, "I’m safe in my bed. All the doors and windows are locked."
Avoid media overexposure
Because children’s worldview is limited, they don’t know how often hurricanes hit or how many kidnappers exist. (And they pick up on more than you think when they overhear you listening to the radio or a TV program.) Even some kids’ shows and video games can be too intense.
If your kid can’t tell you what’s scaring him, look for clues. Sometimes we just can’t figure out why kids panic when they just got dressed up, until you noticed that it happened only when your kid wears shirts that has button. "They can’t undo buttons yet, so they might feel trapped in the shirts." Yet the best way to soothe children is to co-sleep with them. It’s the last but the most effect. So next time your kid sees a monster you know how to handle that scare.