Toddlers are classed between one and three years old. This is a time characterised by rapid growth and discovery. These are the years before school when a child is working out where they fit in the world. This is also when children learn they are independent entities - an often challenging time for parents! Toddlers will often have a range of common fears that they will outgrow as they continue to develop and move into preschool. This is because they are more aware of different people and the world at large. Most of these fears are programmed in for a good reason: we do need to guard against certain dangers. Fear and anxiety are a normal part of developing and maturing, and a healthy signal for children to learn if something is safe or dangerous in their environment. Parents do however need to pay attention if a fear gets out of hand.
Primary fears are the most familiar. These are innate and include the dark, scary animals and pain. These fears come from feeling out of control. Others common fears include:
You can encourage your toddler to be more independent by doing the following:
The most practical and productive parenting advice is to provide experiences that prepare your child for their future. This should focus on aiding the child to deal with the ups and downs of growing up by developing the confidence and skills to face and overcome any obstacles.
If a fear is totally illogical and is not remedied by normal calming techniques, consulting a professional may be appropriate. There may be emotional, neurological or biochemical reactions that are preventing the child from handling the fear appropriately.