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How do you help an anxious 4 year old?

My four year old is and always has been a sensitive sweet little boy. But he seems to be afraid of an awful lot. Like for instance the wind, if it's windy outside he says he wants to go in. He now follows me all over the house and will not go to the bathroom by himself anymore. He was afraid of a picture in a book in his brothers room (because it looked like a baby was falling out of the crib) and stopped going in his brothers room, since then I told him I got rid of the book and everytime he goes in there he checks the bookshelf first. These are just a few examples. What can I do to reassure him and calm his fears... I was always an anxious kid and I don't want that for him.

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Asked by mlmsm928 at 1:33 PM on Mar. 21, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 17 (4,297 Credits)
Answers (7)
  • Just be there for him, reassuring him all the time. Do not pressure him to be different as that might make it worse. Make sure he gets plenty of time to express himself like at a playground, with paly dough, any place where he can be in control and manipulate his environment some. You also might want to browse some child rearing books about sensitive children in a good bookstore. GL

    Answer by elizabr at 1:40 PM on Mar. 21, 2011

  • I really hope this isn't out of line, but honestly if I were in your shoes, and depending on my resources, I would try to find a therapist for him. My child is also four and has anxiety also, (but our situation is very different), and when I felt like it was too much for me to address, I started taking him to a therapist. Wich us luck! I hope it will help him.

    I know this doesn't answer your acutal question, and I apologize for jumping in with extraneous advice. Good luck.

    Answer by FelipesMom at 1:42 PM on Mar. 21, 2011

  • So here is the wonderful thing . . . . you know your son very well and are aware of possible issues . . . your son is already much farther ahead than most.
    Here's the other wonderful thing . . . . kids, when given tools to manage anxiety, can change the negative patterns sooooo easily. As adults, we have all of this othe c**p that prevents us from learning different patterns, but kids are very open to change.
    Teach him to talk himself out of the anxiety . . . use deep breathing . . and positive self-talk. It is not over his head, it just needs to be explained very simply.
    Also, be careful not to give into his anxieties too much. If you get rid of everything that he has a funny though about, he will have a harder time in school when the teacher doesn't do the same.
    A child psychologist for a month or two can really help. Just be sure you find someone who actually specializes in kids his age.

    Answer by ImaginationMama at 1:49 PM on Mar. 21, 2011

  • I don't think suggesting a therapist is jumping to conclusions at all. I appreciate all your advice!

    Comment by mlmsm928 (original poster) at 1:54 PM on Mar. 21, 2011

  • I agree with the poster who suggested talk therapy. Anyone can benefit, even a 4 year old.

    Answer by UpSheRises at 2:02 PM on Mar. 21, 2011

  • I would also suggest learning as much as you can about anxiety in kids his age. Sometimes the more you know, the more you can do -- and other times, even if the knowledge you gain isn't actionable, it just helps. Like knowing you're not alone - that knowledge is always so comforting. Maybe there is a CafeMom group about this? Or maybe there are other ways you can connect with other parents who have children with similar challenges? Or maybe you can just research the topic a lot. I do wish you the best of luck with this (hug)!

    Answer by FelipesMom at 2:51 PM on Mar. 21, 2011

  • Awwwwe poor sweety just keep doing what you are doing, talk to him, explain to him, reassure all that you are doing he will grow out of daughter is the same age going through this with "bugs" any kind even flies freaks out didn't want to play at the park the other day just out of the blue....had a good talk with her explained things & she is better now, they go through their stages. GL : )

    Answer by sarasmommy777 at 4:41 PM on Mar. 22, 2011

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