6 ways to help your toddler get over fear of costumed characters

January 15, 2017
  • Treat your toddler with respect
    1 / 6 Treat your toddler with respect

    Your toddler’s fear of costumed characters may seem trivial to you, but it is very real to her.

    She doesn’t behave this way just for fun, so don’t tease her for being silly. That will only make her feel worse. You know what it feels like to be afraid.

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  • Reassure her when she is afraid
    2 / 6 Reassure her when she is afraid

    She genuinely believes that the costumed character is dangerous. She needs you to reassure her that she will be safe and that she has nothing to worry about. Keep repeating this to her in a gentle tone.

    She gains emotional strength from your confidence in her. Your sympathetic and supportive hand on her shoulder will also help.

    Related: How to get your toddler to sleep in her own room 

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  • Don’t keep her away
    3 / 6 Don’t keep her away

    Your little one will not learn to beat her fear if she constantly avoids what she is afraid of.

    On the contrary, that strategy will make matters worse because she won’t have a chance to develop coping skills. She has to face her fear – with your backing – before she can overcome it.

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  • Show her the similarities
    4 / 6 Show her the similarities

    Point out to your tot that the life-sized Barney she sees in the mall is the same character that she loves in her favourite book – she probably doesn’t realise that.

    If you’re taking her to a meet-and-greet session, it probably helps to take the book with you. Show her the Barney picture on the page as soon as she sees the costumed character.

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  • Persist with your support
    5 / 6 Persist with your support

    Keep working with your young child. Be patient with her until she can approach Barney at the toy store without trying to run away.

    Some fears are harder to change than others, but they can all be changed eventually. Your little one needs you to persist with your support until she copes; she needs you to believe in her.

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  • Praise progress
    6 / 6 Praise progress

    With your help, your tot will eventually make progress, though this may be in very small stages. Show your delight when you see that she is less afraid than she was previously.

    Each little step improves her confidence – until she eventually reaches the point where she is brave enough to hold Barney’s hand.

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    (Photos: 123RF.com)

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