Toddlers are often found afraid of things or situations that adults don’t find threatening. Toddlers experience a life full of emotions, from their earliest childhood years to the many stages of adulthood. Fear is one of the most common emotions that is innate.
If your toddler is afraid of shadows, try to avoid making them feel like they are alone in their fear. If possible, try to stay in the room with them while they are dealing with their fear. Try to reassure them that shadows are not real and that they are nothing to be afraid of. If your toddler is having a difficult time dealing with their fear, you may want to consider seeking professional help.
We all have fears in life and so do toddlers. Helping a toddler overcome fear can give them the confidence to face other hurdles in the future. The early year of childhood shapes the individual personality. It is essential to make your Toddler secure enough to deal with their fear of Shadow.
What Role Does Fear play?
Fear is a typical psychophysiological response to potentially harmful stimuli. Whether present or perceived, physical or psychological. Fear is often thought of as a “negative” experience, yet it also plays an essential role in n keeping us.
- Fear’s primary purpose is to make us less vulnerable to danger.
- It reduces or disables non-essential functions.
- Boost processes that may aid in our survival.
- Activate our flight and fight responses.
Does the fear of the Shadow have a name?
Scio phobia is the term the Ancient Greeks gave to the fear of the Shadow. Severe anxiety and unrealistic fear are signs of this condition, which affects both kids and adults.
Symptoms that can be seen include:
- Breathing problems
- Muscle pain or discomfort
- Hot or chilly flushes
Severe symptoms of Scio phobia cause:
- Dim lighting settings or dark ambiance can trigger their phobia and affect their physical health
- Parents of such kids might have to escape an environment that demands just being outside after night by staying inside after the sun sets.
As a consequence of severe symptoms guardians/ parents should avoid dim lighting for their toddlers.
What Distinguishes fear from a Phobia?
You don’t need to have a phobia if you have some fear. However, once the fear begins to cause dysfunction in your daily life, it may be termed unreasonable fear. Fear is your response that doesn’t last for months, whereas phobias is a condition that comes with symptoms that make you suffer for six or sometimes more than six months.
6 Ways to Calm a Toddler Who Is Afraid of Shadows
1. Communicate more often
To uncover a trigger, pay close attention to your kid’s concerns without interpreting them. Communicate with them more often so they can be comfortable interacting, also openly talk about your past experiences so they can come with theirs.
2. Turn on the lights
Relax if your child can only feel sleepy if the bedroom’s light is switched on. Lighten up gradually. Allow them to get used to warm and quiet night lamps to comfort them with a nightlight.
3. Be There For Them
Reassure your kid by expressing, “It will be ok, you’re secure, I’m here.” Make your child aware that you are on hand to guard them. To make your baby feel secure, use hugs and comforting words.
4. Try to Stay In bed with kids
If your child cannot settle without you, you should stay in her room instead of for her to stay in yours. Just try to stop sleeping in the same room too regularly, as this may promote your child to start depending on you for sleep.
5. Make Use of their toddler’s creativity
When getting into bed, instruct your little one to keep your eyes shut in the dark and visualize a peaceful scene, such as swimming at the beach.
6. Keep an Eye On the kid
If you are worried about leaving her bedroom, promise them you are next door and then every five and ten minutes till she settles down.
Understanding Fear of Shadow
Numerous psychosocial and emotional hypotheses have been proposed throughout history to explain why fear develops in toddlers. Piaget’s cognitive development theory is one of them that could guide us in understanding our fear of the dark. The four phases of mental growth are:
- Sensorimotor: Age ranges from birth to 18 to 24 months.
- Preoperational: From toddler years (18-24 months) to childhood.
- Operational concrete: 7 to 11 years old.
- Official operational: Teenage years to adulthood.
Shadow and object permanence go together
According to Piaget, babies are just conscious of what is directly in front of them during the sensorimotor stages. They are preoccupied with what they see and what they are performing. Any of their toys hidden from view will be assumed to be missing by the child.
Even though they can no more see the toy, they lack the cognitive capacity to realize that it still exists. This key milestone, known as object persistence, shows that memory is growing between the ages of 7 and 9 months. This could be the explanation for the fact that young children with this phobia are afraid of things they can’t see.
The pre-operational stage and its logical explanation
According to Piaget, toddlers can think metaphorically during this pre-operational phase. Their linguistic maturity increases. They typically build cognition and creativity, allowing them to distinguish between the present and the future.
However, their reasoning is still partially illogical. More complex ideas and comparisons are beyond their comprehension. Perhaps this explains why young children are terrified of shadows. They cannot connect to their own bodies because they lack this insight.
What causes your Toddler to be afraid of Shadows?
- Fears can take on a variety of forms. Some children are concerned about speedy car drives or height. At the same time, others are afraid of particular things such as insects or machine guns.
- Some toddlers develop a phobia for no apparent reason. Some may refer to a particular incident that triggered the problem, such as witnessing a terrible story or some unpleasant scary experience.
- It’s a worry about the unknown that causes children to be afraid of the shadows. The fact that we have no idea what could be darkness scares us since our imagination fills in the worst-case scenario.
- Fear can occur due to both situational and hereditary factors as well.
Things you should never do with your child
- Making fun of your child. A child’s suppressed emotions and irritation are revealed when they become the target of insults, mocking, or ridicule.
- By switching off the lights to teach them.
- Lock them in a room with no light.
- Watching a film or television show featuring evening sequences.
- Bringing them somewhere that makes them anxious.
According to experts, children must confidently learn how to deal with their own concerns. And to do that, caregivers must find a balance between expressing comfort and believing that the Toddler can manage the issue.
However, if the fear continues into adolescence and stops the kid from falling asleep on their own due to worry, or the anxiety is severe and disrupts sleep, it could be necessary to act and require support.