Many babies and toddlers are afraid of toys that you were positive they would love. My own daughter is a afraid of the big stomping dinosaur toy at Toys R Us. This toy stands about three feet tall and it walks in a stomping action while throwing its head to roar. She always wants to look at the toy but once you push the button to make it operate she hides behind us in fear and only peeps out at intervals. I’m proud that she shows a fascination for the toy but I understand how it can be scary to a child that barely stands over three feet tall herself and is not familiar with animation and fantasy verses reality.
My son has a deep fascination with the vacuum cleaner. He tries to ride it when I vacuum but if we get out the hand held blender he hightails it for the other room screaming in terror. I have no idea why.
As parents we never know what will fascinate or frighten our children. The best toy choice for one child can send another child into a crying fit of fear.
I had bought my daughter a talking Giraffe when she was a year old that she adored. She packed that giraffe with her everywhere she went so I was convinced that she would like a horse who would whinny and neigh when its ear was pressed. It was soft, stuffed and cute. She opened the present and threw the horse to ground in a fit of tears. She hated the horse. Any time I would bring it close to her she would vigorously she shake her head no. If I continued to try to show her what a cool toy it was she would eventually burst into tears and act like the world was coming to an end. So I put the horse away. I decided that in time she would get over her fear.
After six months I brought the horse back out cautiously and introduced it to her. She was leery at first but then she wrapped her little arms around it. Her fear of the horse was gone.
Sometimes you simply must be patient with your child. If you cannot convince the baby or toddler that the toy is actually cool and fascinating, then put it away for awhile. After a few months bring the toy back out again and reintroduce the two of them. If your child is still afraid then take the toy back and put it away for another six months. Eventually your child’s fear will be gone and he or she will embrace the toy as any other.
If your child shows a brief interest in the toy but also exhibits fear then place the toy up somewhere that the child can clearly see. Tell your child that any time he or she wants to look at the toy you will get it down and let them hold it. I’m sure that your child will continue to eye the toy and get used to the idea that its there. Over time the fear will be overcome and the toy will become something of a curiosity. Children are naturally curious by nature so in time they will ask to see the toy and their fear will be forgotten.
We handled my sons fear of the blender in this way. We left the blender sitting on the counter where he could see it. Eventually his fears were gone and we could plug it in to use without him running in tears from the room.
No matter what the toy or the object of your child’s fear never use it to tease or scare the child with. Try to understand your child’s fears and see them as a very real threat to your baby or toddler. If you laugh at or scare your little one more with the object then their fears could become very real phobias later in life that will require therapy to overcome.
It does not matter how irrational your child’s fear of an object or toy might be because all that matters is that they are afraid. They expect you to comfort them, protect them, and keep them safe even from a big bad stuffed animal or a nasty blender. So humor your child and lavish them with love. Tell your child that you completely understand and you will make it all better. Always try to put yourself in your child’s tiny shoes and see the world as he or she sees it. This will help you be an understanding parent and it will give your child encouragement that he or she needs to face the challenges that await each child as they turn into adults in this world.