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Children's Age-Related Fears
Authors: Giselle Goetze with Judith A. Myers-Walls, PhD, CFLE

Children show their feelings in different ways. You may know from children’s actions that they are scared. Some children suck their thumbs or chew on their fingernails. Others complain about stomachaches or headaches. Because you know the children in your care, you might notice changes in their behavior. These might be clues that they are scared.

Normal age-related fears

Children of all ages have fears. Their fears are different at different ages, though. Small babies are scared by loud noises. Babies also go through a time when they are afraid of people they do not know. Preschoolers are often scared of the dark or of spiders. School-age children might be afraid of staying home alone or of burglars. Each age has its own common fears. You will see some fears while the children are in your care. You may see that the children are afraid of spiders or leaving their parents. But as a provider you may not have a chance to see some of the other fears. For example, you may not notice fear of the dark or baths.

As you probably know, children are likely to have many common fears. Most children will grow out of these fears. Here is a list of common age-related fears.

                               Ages                                         Common fears

                       Infants and toddlers                      - loud noises
                                                                         - separation, strangers

                       Preschoolers                               - animals – especially dogs
                                                                         - the dark
                                                                         - ghosts and monsters

                       School age                                  - snakes and spiders
                                                                         - fear of failure and rejection
                                                                         - the news and TV shows
                                                                         - blood, injury, and sickness
                                                                         - being home alone
                                                                         - death

As a childcare provider, there are ways you can help. There are things you can do so children learn to cope with their fears.


Go to:    Uncommon fears
            Ways to help children cope with their fears
             
  Helping children overcome fears
             Talking with parents about normal age-related fears
             Talking with parents about uncommon fears
            • Books about fears for children



For more information, contact Judith A. Myers-Walls, PhD, CFLE at jmyerswa@purdue.edu

Please feel free to link to, print off, redistribute, or reprint
  any of these materials as long as the original credits remain intact.

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