Being afraid is a common thing in children. Children's fears are evolutionary, that is, they change according to the age of the child and this means that they are not afraid of the same things as the little ones grow older.
The key is to learn to overcome each one in its time and at the age at which it appears, avoiding that they remain stagnant and that the child accumulates fears throughout their growth.
The psychologist Silvia Álava, Doctor in Psychology and Coordinator of the Children's Section of the Centro de Psicología Álava-Reyes Consultores, helps parents understand children's fears and offers us excellent advice to overcome fear.
- Fears grow with children. What are children afraid of according to their age?
There are ages in which evolutionarily speaking it is normal to be afraid. Many times, for example, fear of the dark is very common.
Parents have to know that it is normal and that many times we can fix it by putting a little light in their room, which projects an indirect light. What we cannot do is reinforce that fear.
- What are the evolutionary fears and at what age do they occur?
1. Around six months
At six months, the child already begins with the fear of strangers. He begins to miss his reference adult, who is usually his mother. From six months on, the fear of strangers begins and the child begins to miss the parents when they are not there.
Therefore, it is good for children to leave their parents' room at night around five months, so that when they wake up, they do not miss their reference figures, their mother and father so much.
2. Around two years
At those ages a certain fear of 'abandonment' arises. When you leave the child in kindergarten when he is two years old, he sometimes gets a little more restless. The most likely thing is that the child will get a little distressed, will cry, and after five minutes it has already passed, he starts to play, he is already happy with the rest of the children.
We would have the problem with a child who we see that that period of adaptation has already passed, that period of fear or anguish of separation and it does not begin to be clear that his father is going to return and he lies crying all morning. There you have to assess that there can be no other problem.
3. Around the age of four
Fear of the dark may appear. We don't have to get too adamant about 'You have to sleep with the light completely off and the blind down'.
Nothing happens to leave them a small indirect light, in fact they also sell many little lights that can be put in a socket, or a small lamp at night, which projects a light that is an indirect light that simply gives the child a Little bit of security because it is not totally dark.
- What are older children afraid of?
They tend to fear animals. Children who have been in contact with animals since they were little do not usually develop any fear.
But when a child, around the age of three or five, meets a large dog, it is usual that he may feel a little fear. You have to teach him that if he is a known dog, nothing will happen to him.
If it is not a dog that we know and maybe the animal is twice the size of the child, it is normal to be afraid and stay stopped. The child does not have to go to touch him because we do not know if the dog is educated enough not to bite him. On the subject of fear of dogs, it is necessary to distinguish to what extent it is fear and to what extent it is prudence.
- What else can we do to dismantle children's fears?
To de-dramatize. The same thing happens with nightmares, it is normal for children around the age of two, four or even six years old to wake up with nightmares and be a little scared at night. That's as simple as getting to their room and reassuring them a little.
Many times it can help us to give them a little water, two kisses, tell them that they will not be afraid again, do not worry, and leave them sleeping in their bed. If we happen to our bed, we can generate a bigger problem.
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