Every child, at every age, will experience fear at some time. In fact certain fears, such as separation anxiety, are practically a milestone of development. Even so, there are things you can do to calm a fearful child at any age.
When your child is an infant, he or she can become frightened by simple things, such as a loud noise or a new face. To help, establish a routine for your child’s life and stick to it. Keep things in your baby’s life predictable, and offer a lot of love, kind touches and encouragement. This will help your child develop a sense of trust.
Preschool-aged children are often afraid of new people, new places and new experiences. Also at this age imaginations tend to run wild, and it can be difficult for them to tell the difference between what is real and what is imaginary. At this age, you can’t reason with your child or talk them out of being afraid. The best thing to do is to try to turn what they are afraid of into a different emotion. If your child is afraid of the dark, make up fun activities you can do in the dark to distract him.
In elementary aged children fears are often based on things happening in real life. A child who hears about a house fire on the news might develop a fear of his own house burning down, for example. In this case, try talking to your child to uncover what he is afraid of. If he has a hard time expressing his thoughts, ask him to draw a picture to help illustrate his emotions.