Childhood Fears

A mother in a gray sweater soothes a young child in print pajamas as they cuddle on a bed. The two are lying down chest-to-chest, sharing a tender moment.

Our featured article, Childhood Fears, from Zero to Three, states, “Fear is a typical part of a child’s development in the first five years.” Newborns “show different responses to happy, sad, and surprised faces,” and infants “notice a difference between negative emotional expressions like fear, sadness, and anger.” Toddlers and preschoolers “use words like happy, angry, and sad . . . and may develop . . . typical fears of the dark, strangers, monsters, going to the doctor, (and) dogs or other animals.” When logical thinking kicks in (with some parental guidance), many fears seem to fade. Share this resource with parents you work with, so they understand the developmental trajectory of a child’s recognition of emotions.

Note: The link provided at the end of the article is broken, but Zero to Three has another useful resource on Soothing Your Toddler’s Fears (using the example of fears during Halloween), with signs and strategies that can be adapted to any time of year.

The ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM) describes core knowledge and role-specific competencies needed for early intervention service provision, incorporating current research and evidence in the field of early intervention. To access the ESPM, click here.

This resource is related to the following ESPM knowledge-level competencies:

  • Core Knowledge (CK):
    • CK2: The role of primary social and emotional relationships as the foundation for early learning.
    • CK6: The sequences of development and the interrelationships among developmental areas/factors, including:
      • Cognitive skills such as attention, perception, motivation, initiation, problem-solving, concept formation, memory, and learning
      • Emotional development and resiliency, including the development of attachment and trust, and self-regulation
      • Individualized Family Service Plan Development and Review (IFSP-i):
    • IFSP-i2 (EIS): Understands the individual nature of child learning styles and the importance of adapting intervention strategies.
    • IFSP-i3 (EIS): Knows generic and specific evidence-based early intervention strategies to support all areas of development.
    • IFSP-i6 (EIS): Understands the need for developmentally appropriate strategies adaptations, assistive technologies, and other supports that maximize the child’s learning opportunities.
    • IFSP-i10 (EIS): Knows strategies that support parents in providing basic health, nutrition, and safety for infants and toddlers in natural environments.
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