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Boogeymen & Doctors: How to Help Your Child Overcome Their Fears

The fears of children can often seem silly and inconsequential, but that doesn’t make them any less traumatic from their point of view. If you want to help your little one live a stronger, less fearful life, here are just four common childhood fears and how to conquer them.

The Dark

There’s no fear as universal as a fear of the dark. According to psychologists, it usually strikes children around the age of two or three when they’re old enough to have an active imagination but not quite mature enough to regulate their emotional responses to it. The best thing to do with this fear is to discredit it: Instead of saying “the monsters won’t come out if you use this nightlight,” make it clear that there are no monsters in the first place.

Imaginary Monsters

Speaking of monsters, they’re such a common childhood fear that they’re created by little ones around the globe. From the ogres of Japan to the child-eating witches of Bulgaria, there’s just no end to mythical creatures that stalk children’s dreams. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to overcome this fear if you’re willing to tackle it head-on. All you have to do is distract your child from thinking about the boogeyman whenever the topic rears its head. For example, if your child hates walking past a spooky, forested park, you can invent games to play until you’re safely past its perimeter.

Bad Weather

Howling storms can seem earth-shattering to small children who haven’t lived through dozens of them. You’ll need to make the experience a familiar, non-threatening one if you want to stop your kids from curling up under the covers with every boom of thunder. You might take them out to play in the rain so that it stops frightening them when it slams down on the roof, or you might plan a trip to the museum to teach them about precipitation cycles so that they can understand that storms are a natural thing.

Healthcare Professionals

No one likes a cold, clinical exam room, but it can be an especially frightening experience when you’re only three feet tall. The trick to helping your child overcome their fear of doctors and dentists is to take them to someone who specializes in the care of pint-sized patients. For example, you might schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist, such as one from Dentistry for Children & Adolescents, instead of a “regular” dentist. These experts will know how to set your child at ease with fun, friendly offices and a jovial demeanor.

These are just a few common childhood phobias and how to overcome them. Confronting your fears is a necessary part of life, and it’s never too early to start building this skill in your child.

Tim Esterdahl

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