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It’s natural for toddlers to be frightened of strange people and situations. After all, the world is still a big scary place to them, and they may be intimidated by things that are new, loud, or unfamiliar.


Notes Shrimathi Swaminathan, a clinical psychologist at Psynaptica, “Children may have any number of vague, unspecified fears or anxieties as they learn about their environment and the potential dangers they could face in it. This fear is marked by increased physiological surges of arousal to face the danger or escape from it.”


Adding that symptoms of fear in children usually include signs of distress such as crying, tantrums, excessive clinginess, freezing or vomiting, she says, “When the fear symptoms last more than six months, cause impairment to a child’s functioning or are significantly out of proportion to the situation professional help may be needed.”


Parents are responsible teaching their offspring how to manage their phobias and helping them feel safe before they are paralysed by the fears. We have details on common fears toddlers may face, as well as advice on helping them cope