During early childhood most toddlers fear something which can be said to have been inbuilt in the child. The child of say six months displays some involuntary reflexes which can be to overcome some fear. The reflexes are jerks in body part on hearing a loud or unfamiliar sound or avoidance of harmful stimulus. This can be heat, cold or some such other extreme condition.
As the child grows up, the nature of fear psychology changes. Some of the fears which the child develops at an early age are a result of surrounding or environment in which the child is being brought up or if the child faces an abuse. These normally have effect for the full life of the child and it is often difficult for the child to overcome this type of fear.
In addition the child often develops fears of some nonexistent things like ghosts or dragons or darkness. Sometimes the cause can be an older child or an adult telling the stories of ghosts to the child or watching some horror movie on TV. This type of fear can be removed slowly by persuading the child to go to the place which he fears along with you and see for himself that there is nothing there that will harm him. The child should be taught that there are no ghosts or dragons in this world, and darkness is a natural phenomenon created by God to enable people to sleep and have rest.
Broadly the fear phobia in children can be divided into four distinct groups. These are:
Fear of some animals like a cat or a dog or snake or some other reptile. This fear can be eliminated by exposing the child to dogs and cats. If possible take the child to some home where these animals have been kept as pets. Let the child touch them under protection and soon the fear will go.
Another type of fear generally found in small children is of loud noise or of heights. On hearing some high pitch sound or unfamiliar voice, the child exhibits jerk reflexes. Similarly, if the child is lifted high he may start crying or depict fear expressions. These fears gradually go away as the child grows up. With time, the child will start enjoying if lifted high and will also not be afraid of loud sound.
At a very young age, when the child is about six to eight months of age, he is most of the time confined with the parents. As a result of this he develops a lot of understanding with mother and as a natural consequence is afraid of strangers. This is a temporary phase and as the child grows he becomes more and more social.
Another type of fear can be of being at an open or in an unfamiliar place. This is again a fear of childhood which vanishes with age and exposure.