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3 year old girl scared of loud noises, Santa, and darkness
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3 year old girl scared of loud noises, Santa, and darkness

my 3 year old daughter developed a lot of fears recently.  she never used to like big noises since she was a baby, she used to jump in her sleep when she hears loud noises. but now it's a lot worse. this year just before christmas, we went to a Xmas party, she was eating and pointing out the snow man decoration when the loud anoucement came: "Santa will be here in 10 minutes" she immediately turned pale, tried to get under the table we were eating at, when I pulled her out, she was shaking and tried to cover her eyes. Santa wasn't even in the room.  it was the same room that had the holloween party, she was scared of the holloween decorations last time and we ran out in the middle of that party.  in the Xmas party, after the annoucement, she said something about Santa has turned into a ghost.  I can't explain this, but did she associate the room with fearful creatures?

during the 2009 new year week, we took her to Disney, and she refused to do any rides or see the princesses because the entrances are kind of dark. ( she loves the princesses, she names herself Sleeping beauty, or Belle or Ariel all the time)  then we took her to Seaworld, she was so scared of the stilts dancers ( they dress in feathers and play very loud drums), she was crying and begging to leave and not to go in the park the next day.  we had to get the schedule of the dancers and try to avoid them.  even if we are half a park away from them, the drums were very faint and barely noticable to us, she would start to look very nervous and wanting to run away or hide under something,  holding her and comforting her didn't make a difference.  her reactions to this noise  was just so intense. she was also very scared of the Seal show, there were people dressed like birds "flying" in the air.  she was scared to death when she saw those people. we were in the middle of a row, it was hard to get out, she was holding her ears, wanted me to hold her ears too. she had her face dig into my chest, she begged let's go,let's go..

she's not in daycare. my parents watch her when my husband and I go to work.  she's in a dance class on Saturday mornings.  she loves dancing, she loves the teacher.  but the week before last week, the teacher used a piece of music she never used before, there were some boom boom noises (as per my daughter).  immediately she started to cry. she ran out of the class and wanted to leave and go home.  she looked so scared she couldn't focus on anything we were trying to say.  we tried to say it's just music, can be turned off right away. the teacher told her she promises never to use that piece of music again.  but she still wouldn't go in the class. last week, she still wouldn't go in the class, my husband held her hand and stayed at the door for the whole class. she was dancing at the door, she just wouldn't go in.  I'm very worried about this, any advice?  shall I be this worried or is this a normal phase?

thanks,
worried mom


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It is quite normal for your child to be afraid.  Children need to go through the scared stage and sometimes they go through it more than once.  My step-daughter was not afraid of anything until she turned 6, then she was afraid of everything.  I was actually worried about her because she had not gone through the afraid stage earlier.  I was worried that she did not actually know what was going on around her and that she was in her own little world.  This scared stage can last for awhile, so just reassure her that you are there and everything is okay.  Do not make her do anything or attend anything that she is afraid of.  This will only make it worse.  Don't worry, this will pass in time.  
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Thanks for your reply.  I might have been worrying too much. it's just that the intensity of her fears scare me.
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