Kid’s Imagination & Fear

As the imagination blossoms, kids who never before had problems with the dark or animals are now terrified. Dr. Greene explains how to handle it.

At around age three, most children enter into a magical time where make-believe is the order of the day. Imagination and creativity spring to life. Playtime becomes a setting where wonderful dreams and desires are acted out as kids learn how to pretend. A few props can turn an ordinary rainy afternoon into a trip to a magic castle or the Old West. But this rich imaginary world is peopled with both heroes and villains, with both marvels and monsters. New fears are a necessary part of entering the world of possibilities.

As the imagination blossoms, kids who never before had problems with the dark are now terrified. The neighbor’s friendly dog is seen as a menacing danger. An ant on the sidewalk might as well be a powerful alien. Monsters!

Acknowledge the fear, while remaining calm yourself. Assure her of your protection and support. When children see that you take their concerns seriously, they feel closer to you and are more ready to work through the fears.

Published on: June 28, 2001
About the Author
Photo of Dr. Alan Greene
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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