My 3-year-old is afraid of EVERYTHING!

Sarah - posted on 05/20/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I am so worried about her. I am kind of afraid I did this to her. I am kind of a helicopter mom...but usually only about things that really matter, like washing her hands before meals and running out in the street, or being polite and sharing ...I have never discouraged her from playing with other children, playing on the swings at the playground, getting a little dirty....but she almost shuts down when she is in those situations. She cries if she gets a little dirty, she refuses to play on the swings, she will not leave my side when other children are around, even ones she has known all her life (this is getting a little better with time)...she cant walk on wooden walkways without holding on, and she screams in terror if even a harmless housefly flies near her...she is just afraid of almost everything. I don't know what to do about it. I have had issues with anxiety my whole life, and the last thing I want is for her to go through life and not take any risks. Maybe it is too early to worry about it...but I wondered if any one else seems to have this issue with their toddler, and what kind of things you do to help your little one ease their fears about every day situations.

all advice is very much appreciated!!

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Lungile - posted on 11/24/2012

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i have a similar problem with my little 31months old boy. he seems so anxious when he is around people and is easily unsettled.it's so frustrating. he shies away from people, especially in crowds. walk into a bank or mall and he will hang onto mommy and wants me to pick him up.

of late he even runs away from his dad, prefers me or his nanny. it's painful. about 6 months ago he started fiddling with his ear and literally rubs it or fondles it, as if it is some sort of soother for his fears.

he doesn't want to play on the jumping castle and he verbalizes this; naturally he's afraid of the dark; is not adventurous and i don't know what to do anymore.

we recently decided to take him to a playschool and although there is a bit of improvement, but he does get clingy and anxious. I'm worried.

help ladies!!

Amanda - posted on 05/24/2010

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Hi, as a first time mom to a now 3 year old little girl, I can understand where you're coming from. I recently read somewhere that 3 year olds are now starting to deal with fear as they begin to realize just how big the world is and how small they are in it. My daughter loved one of the animated dinosaur movies and I was playing it the other night, she all the sudden began screaming and crying and we had to turn it off. We calmed her down and explained to her that it was just a movie, not real, but play or pretend. I think it's best to acknowledge their fear but not go overboard with it. Just try to show her that there's nothing scary about dirt, it comes off. Most things she sees on tv are just play/pretend....no monsters under the bed. I am beginning to deal with too, and I agree with Jane, I think alot of it has to do with being 3 and realizing that there's more out there in the world and feeling very small in it. Stay strong and good luck!! :)

Jane - posted on 05/21/2010

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it's the age. our 3 yr old has started being afraid of a lot of the same things, those and the dragons in her bedroom and the crocodiles in the bathtub. "i'm scarey", she'll say. i ask what she's scared of, "i'm just scarey". "i can't eat my dinner, i'm scarey". i reassure her that everything's fine but in an off-handed matter-of-fact manner so as not to give too much drama to the whole thing and then i change the subject to something fun.

Gigi - posted on 11/24/2012

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Maybe you shold try to act enthousiastically when you are about to do something that he is scared off and find something to draw his attention to. When you walk in the mall you could give him kind of a goal - like helping mommy finding certain shop or such so his attention will be focused away from the crowd. But I would also tell him cheerfuly - look how many people are here, isn't that fun? He should show improvement, though, so just keep trying.

As for not being adventurous, that is just a personality trait, you can cultivate it a bit, but he will always probably be a little careful. And thats ok.

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Tracy - posted on 05/24/2010

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our 18 month old baby does this too is scared of people and noises and wont go to other people very clingy to us

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