Vidhya Narayanan’s @Quora answer to If your 3 yr old tells you there’s a monster in their room early in the day, do you dismiss what they’re seeing or feed into it asking them to describe what it is they saw?
Definitely not the one to dismiss and there is nothing wrong in being scared of little things when they are busy exploring their own world.
Little kids often get scared of shadows assuming it’s something else. When a child tells that he/she is scared of monsters or anything similar, talk to them into it. But, before that it’s important to comfort them, reassuring that you are there and telling them you will be looking into whatever they are talking about.
My LO is 28 months and used to get scared of shadows made by moving curtains. She once cried that she wanted to go out of the bedroom and sleep in the living room. I asked her why? She started crying more and repeated that she wants to go out of the room. I said ok, Let’s go. She slept in the living room lying on my lap.
Next day, the same thing happened and then the day after too. I kept observing why she was behaving this way and when she started to break into tears.
The fourth day well before bedtime, I changed her bed linens and scouted around the room to make a note of everything. Then, I told her “let’s go to your room, it’s bed time and I’m going to read a new story today”. She was all happy and we went inside and suddenly she looked up and her eyes filled with tears and told me that she wants to go out. I asked her, “Are you scared of something?” She didn’t answer.
Next morning, when she was in a good mood, I asked her why she cried last night. She hugged me and said, “shadows”. The more I ask her calmly, she opened up and said she saw shadows in the bedroom and when asked where in the bedroom, she said “curtains danced”. I was happy that though it took her four days, approaching the problem slowly without pushing her finally worked. Now, all I needed was to make her understand shadows would be there everywhere and they are harmless and curtains tend to move in the wind.
More important, I need to keep up this trust she just built on me that she can tell me anytime she feels scared and there is nothing wrong with being scared sometimes.
When she was calm, I made a funny dance with her shadow and made her give the high-five to her own shadow. This approach helped to ease out the fear. For dancing curtains, I blew hair dryer and made it look funny and she enjoyed it.
Recreating the scenarios in a more positive and entertaining way might help them understand there’s nothing to be afraid and also you as a parent taking time to do all this strengthens the bond with your child.
This creates a lasting impression on your child’s mind that you are there for them and they can count on you. Ignoring or making fun of their thoughts or vulnerabilities may create long term relationship issues between parents and children. It’s vital that we as parents listen to them and take their words seriously no matter what. They needed to be listened to and be treated with respect.
Children naturally reciprocate if they are treated well. All these little things help shaping their character and attitude towards life.