Many kids have age-appropriate fears, such as being afraid of the dark. Most of the time, reassurance and simple solutions, such as a nightlight, may help them overcome their fears. If the fear grows over time instead of improving, and it causes intense anxiety that interrupts your child’s functioning, you may need to seek our help.

A few simple steps you can try at home include:

  • Recognizing that his fear is real. Dismissing his fear by saying things like, “Don’t be ridiculous, monsters don’t live in your closet!” may make him go to bed, but won’t get rid of his fear.
  • Talking about his fears; it may lessen his worries.
  • Not catering to the fear. If you check the closet for monsters, it tells him that there really might be monsters in the closet. Reassure him instead, using logic and calm words.
  • Teaching him coping strategies, such as positive statements he can repeat to himself, such as “I’m OK” or “I can do this.”
  • Helping him visualize a happy, safe place in his mind; or teaching him how to do deep breathing.