If your normally easy-going child seems suddenly afraid of everything and clingy, youâ€™re not alone.
As babies begin to transition from infant to toddler, fear blossoms almost as quickly as they seem to be growing.
While it may take you by surprise, the reality is that these fears, whether theyâ€™re concerns about the dark, monsters under the bed, or something completely rational, put your child on the normal track to development.
The key is learning how to deal with those fears. These tips may help.
Figure Out What May Be Causing the Fears
If you understand what is causing the fears, itâ€™s possible you can help your child overcome them.
Think carefully about whatâ€™s going on in your toddlerâ€™s life at the moment. Is there a new teacher in his or her daycare? Has the routine changed significantly in recent days?
If thereâ€™s something that has created stress in your childâ€™s life, that can lead to both rational and irrational fears.
Big events like falling in the water or even seeing a small fire in the kitchen could also create a very real sense of instability in your childâ€™s life and lead to a variety of fears.
Acknowledge Your Childâ€™s Feelings
The idea that there might be a monster under your childâ€™s bed may seem nothing short of ridiculous to you, but to your child, itâ€™s a serious source of concern.
Downplaying or ignoring your childâ€™s fears could be damaging to his emotional development. Make certain you validate those feelings while still helping your child work to overcome them.
Reassurance is a Must
Once you understand exactly what your child is afraid of, you need to work to let them know that everything will be okay. Cuddle with your little one to help him feel a bit better.
Remember, also, that you shouldnâ€™t just pay attention to your child when those fears come into play.
Stay interested in the happy moods too, or you risk making the fears bigger and more dramatic than they actually are.
Overreacting Only Makes Things Worse
Becoming overprotective of your child as a result of those fears can make things quite a bit worse.
You canâ€™t simply let your child avoid all of the things that may worry him, but you also shouldnâ€™t force him into every unfamiliar or uncomfortable situation. Work together to overcome the fear and offer support without hitting â€śMomzillaâ€ť mode.
Patience Is a Must
You may think up the single most creative solution in the world to your childâ€™s problem, but itâ€™s important to remember that his fears are completely normal, and they will fade at some point.
They just may not fade on your schedule. Donâ€™t get frustrated with your child. Instead, be patient as he works to overcome his issues.
Children, and toddlers especially, are very good at taking cues from their parents.
The way you react to your own fears and concerns helps to guide their development.
Teaching confidence at every opportunity can help the two of you get past the fear stage.
Heather Nosworth is a writer with a passion for children and parenting. She regularly contributes to the Parenting & New Baby Advice Blog, where you can find more parenting articles along with unique baby gifts and gift ideas.