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Kids have worries from monsters to natural disasters. They can appear at random or may be triggered by everyday events. Their increasing awareness of the world, who is in it, and being able to anticipate bad things happening, can all increase their alarm.


Many of children’s fears can be existential, meaning they are indicative of a child’s growth and development as a separate being. Separation is the most impactful of all experiences and stirs up the emotional center of the brain and can create feelings of fear. As a child becomes increasingly independent, they are less dependent upon their caretakers, which may foster some worry. As a child ages, this fear is often transformed into different themes, but shares this common root issue.

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Worries and fears that ebb and flow are part of the human condition, in fact, a lot of the brain’s energy is spent on evaluating incoming information for threats and sending out signals to the body. We don’t always know when we are afraid and have an emotional unconscious that operates outside of our conscious awareness. Joseph LeDoux, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists who studies anxiety, has shown that it is possible to be full of fear yet rendered speechless.

Common fears and worries by age groups

The following list contains some of the common fears and worries children may express at different ages. Many of these things are related to developmental changes and immaturity. Sometimes children may not able to articulate what their fears are and strategies for helping kids with higher levels of anxiety can be found in Helping the Anxious Teen or Child Find Rest and When the Worry Bugs are in Your Tummy.

0 to 6 months: Babies can show signs of fear at loud noises given they are unexpected and surprising. The loss of physical, visual and auditory contact with their adults can also lead to alarm because the parts of the brain responsible for object permanence are not fully developed. When they lose contact with someone, they don’t know that this person will return as they lack an understanding that objects are permanent in time and space.

7 to 12 months: A child at this age can show signs of understanding that objects are permanent as well as causality. They realize that their adults can reappear and that they do have some influence on the actions of others, for example, when they cry someone will come to pick them up. At this age, it is common for them to display stranger protest which indicates their brain has developed enough to lock onto one person as a primary caretaker. This can result in playing shy with people they are not in contact with on a regular basis as well as showing preference for being in the company of their primary attachments. They are still often frightened by loud noises as well as objects that suddenly appear or loom over them.

1 year: Separation from parents is a common source of alarm and fear at this age and continues until six years of age. A young child is still highly dependent on adults for caretaking, therefore; they can be alarmed when distant from them. They can also be frightened if they get hurt, as well as loud sounds such as toilets flushing.

2 years: Young children at this age often exhibit some fear or animals as well as large objects. Their smaller size as well as lack of understanding about these things likely increases their alarm level. They may also state they are afraid of dark rooms with separation at night becoming increasingly challenging. Young children often feel most comfortable with structure and routine so changes in their environment can be potential source of concern for them.

3 to 4 years: With the increasing development of their brains, a young child’s imagination and capacity to anticipate bad things happening to them or others can increase. Their dreams may become more vivid with monsters appearing as well as other scary things. They can be afraid of animals, masks, the dark and can seek comfort in the middle of the night when worried. There can be a heightened level of separation from parents because of their increasing independence, as evident in their exclamations of “I do it myself” and “No, I do!”

5 to 6 years: At this age a child may voice fears of being hurt physically as well as of “bad people.” Their play may reflect these themes as they start to imagine bad things happening that are not based in reality. They may voice concerns over ghosts and witches or other supernatural beings. Thunder and lightning may stir them up, too. Sleeping or staying on their own can still be provocative as they are just coming to the end of their development as a separate self.

7 to 8 years: Common fears include being left alone and can lead to wanting company, even if they are playing by themself. They may talk about death and worry about things that could harm them, for example, car accidents to plane crashes. They may still struggle with fears of the dark, as an extension of their growth as a separate being.

9 to 12 years: The “tween” may express worries related to school performance including a fear of tests and exams. They may have concerns with their physical appearance as well as being injured or dying. As they become more of a separate and social being, they can consider and compare who they are against others which can create some alarm. They may state their discomfort that they are growing up and don’t want to while other kids seem eager to leave childhood behind. It is important to note that the more peer-oriented a child is, the more anxiety they may experience at this age as they turn to their peers for understanding who they are.

Adolescence: For the teenager, personal relationships can be a source of confusion, worry and fear. As they venture forth as a social being, they still need to be anchored to caretakers at home to help them make sense of school issues including their friendships. They may voice fears over political issues given their increasing awareness of the world and movement towards adulthood. Some teens show signs of increasing superstition in an attempt to reduce some of the fears they have at this age, too. Anticipating the future and what it holds for them can become a source of worry, along with natural disasters, and other themes related to growing up.

Strategies for dealing with worries

For the young child, their fears are often alleviated through connection with caring adults who provide safety and reassurance. As a child ages, their increasing maturity will mean they will need to find both courage and tears to face their fears. This growth can be cultivated with the help of adults they trust and can count on.

Connection: When kids are worried, the best sources of support will come from their closest attachments. Listening to a child’s worries, acknowledging how they are feeling and coming alongside them can help to lessen their fears. Coming alongside means to listen with full attention and to reflect what you have heard instead of problem solving or negating what they have said. If a child’s level of fears and worries are more persistent and chronic, then taking steps to tackle anxiety may be appropriate.

Play with fear: One of the ways a child’s alarm system develops is by interacting with the world around them. While they may be startled, or show signs of fear, being able to play at this experience can help to diffuse its intensity. As a child plays their brain can integrate the signals as fear is less likely to hijack their emotional systems. Traditional games that can help include hide and seek, peek a boo, board games, to stories that include risk and fear.

Courage and bravery: Children under the age of five to seven are unable to exhibit courage because of the lack of integration in their prefrontal cortex. They are only able to feel one intense emotion at a time, so their fear can overwhelm them and when pushed, they can become frustrated, resistant, or attack. When a child is six or younger, it may be better to use a relationship with someone they trust to walk them into things that might be new or scary. It is important not to let their fears take the lead in terms of deciding what they should or should not do. For kids who are older, helping them to express what bothers them is helpful. When they can find their words for what scares them, they are better able to articulate their desires that will help them be courageous in the face of what alarms them.

Tears: Fears can also be alleviated by helping a child express their sadness about the things that worry them. For example, they may talk about a friend who doesn’t always play with them to not wanting to grow up. Sometimes the only thing left to do is to cry or feel one’s disappointment in the face of one’s fears. This will result in a release of the fear as well as some resiliency in the face of one’s worries.

The brain is a sophisticated alarm system that is meant to be activated when separation is anticipated or real. As a child ages, the shape and form of their fears and worries can change in reflection of their increasing development. The role of adults in their life is to cultivate deep connections with them, listen and acknowledge that they are afraid, help them be cautious, find their tears or be moved to courage as the ultimate answer to their alarm.

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As a former beauty editor, I pride myself in housing the best skincare products in my bathroom. Walk in and you're sure to be greeted with purifying masks, micellar water, retinol ceramide capsules and Vitamin C serums. What can I say? Old habits die hard. But when I had my son, I was hesitant to use products on him. I wanted to keep his baby-soft skin for as long as possible, without tainting it with harsh chemicals.

Eventually, I acquiesced and began using leading brands on his sensitive skin. I immediately regretted it. His skin became dry and itchy and regardless of what I used on him, it never seemed to get better. I found myself asking, "Why don't beauty brands care about baby skin as much as they care about adult skin?"

When I had my daughter in May, I knew I had to take a different approach for her skin. Instead of using popular brands that are loaded with petroleum and parabens, I opted for cleaner products. These days I'm all about skincare that contains super-fruits (like pomegranate sterols, which are brimming with antioxidants) and sulfate-free cleansers that contain glycolipids that won't over-dry her skin. And, so far, Pipette gets it right.

What's in it

At first glance, the collection of shampoo, wipes, balm, oil and lotion looks like your typical baby line—I swear cute colors and a clean look gets me everytime—but there's one major difference: All products are environmentally friendly and cruelty-free, with ingredients derived from plants or nontoxic synthetic sources. Also, at the core of Pipette's formula is squalane, which is basically a powerhouse moisturizing ingredient that babies make in utero that helps protect their skin for the first few hours after birth. And, thanks to research, we know that squalane isn't an irritant, and is best for those with sensitive skin. Finally, a brand really considered my baby's dry skin.

Off the bat, I was most interested in the baby balm because let's be honest, can you ever have too much protection down there? After applying, I noticed it quickly absorbed into her delicate skin. No rash. No irritation. No annoyed baby. Mama was happy. It's also worth noting there wasn't any white residue left on her bottom that usually requires several wipes to remove.


Why it's different

I love that Pipette doesn't smell like an artificial baby—you, know that powdery, musky note that never actually smells like a newborn. It's fragrance free, which means I can continue to smell my daughter's natural scent that's seriously out of this world. I also enjoy that the products are lightweight, making her skin (and my fingers) feel super smooth and soft even hours after application.

The bottom line

Caring for a baby's sensitive skin isn't easy. There's so much to think about, but Pipette makes it easier for mamas who don't want to compromise on safety or sustainability. I'm obsessed, and I plan to start using the entire collection on my toddler as well. What can I say, old habits indeed die hard.

This article was sponsored by Pipette. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Military families give up so much for their country, particularly when they have small children at home. Those of us who have never witnessed this kind of sacrifice first-hand could use a reminder of it once in a while, which is just one of the reasons we're so happy to see the beautiful photoshoot Mary Chevalier arranged for her husband's return home from Afghanistan.

The photoshoot was extra special because while James Chevalier was serving a nine-month deployment, Mary gave birth to their second son, Caspian.

Getting ready to meet Dad

"During the laboring and birthing process of Caspian, I was surrounded by family, but that did not fill the void of not having my husband by my side," Mary told InsideEdition.com. "He was able to video chat during the labor and birth, but for both of us, it was not enough."

While James had yet to meet Caspian, their 3-year-old son, Gage, missed his dad a whole lot, so this homecoming was going to be a big deal for him too. That's why Mary arranged for her wedding photographer, Brittany Watson, to be with them for their reunion in Atlanta.

Gage was so happy to see his Dad 

"[He] had no idea he was going to be getting to see his daddy that day," Watson wrote on Facebook. "The family met at the Southeastern Railway Museum for Gage to go on a special train ride... little did he know, he'd be doing it with daddy!"

Watson did a beautiful job capturing the high emotions of every single family member, from Gage's surprise, to the delight on baby Caspian's face. It's no wonder her Facebook post went viral last week.

"Caspian is natural, a very happy baby, but both James and I felt like Caspian knew who his father was almost immediately," Mary told Inside Edition. "He was easily comforted by me husband right off the bat and seemed to have an instant connection. It was very emotional."

The moment this dad had been waiting for 

If we're sobbing just looking at the photos, we can't even imagine what it was like in real life.

"We are all so blessed and take so much for granted," Watson wrote. "I cannot contain the joy I feel in my heart when I look at these images, and I hope you feel it too!"


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During both of my pregnancies, I was under the care of an amazing midwife. Every time I went to her office for check-ups, I was mesmerized by the wall of photos participating in what may be the most painfully magical moment of a woman's life: giving birth. But there was a painting that always drew my attention: a woman dressed in orange, holding her newborn baby with a face that could be described as clueless. The line above the canvas read, "Now what?"

I felt like the woman in the painting as I kissed my mother goodbye when my daughter was born. She came from my native Colombia to stay with us for three months. When she left, I realized that my husband had been working as usual during those first 90 days of our new life. My baby was born on a Friday and on Monday he was back at the office. (No parental leave policy for him.)

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Now what? I thought. The quote "It takes a village to raise a child" suddenly started to hit home, literally.

After a few years in Miami, I had some friends, but it truly didn't feel like I had a village. Some were not mothers yet, most of them worked full-time and others didn't live close by. My nomad life left my best friends spread out in different places in the world. I found myself signing up for "mommy and me" classes in search of new mothers, immigrants like me, alone like me.

It seemed like a utopian dream to think about when my grandmothers became mothers. Both of them had 6 and 10 children and they were able to stay sane (or maybe not? I don't know). But at least they had family around—people cooking, offering help. There was a sense of community.

My mother and father grew up in "the village." Big families with so many children that the older siblings ended up taking care of the little ones; aunts were like second mothers and neighbors became family.

When I was about to give birth to my second baby, my sister had just had her baby girl back in Colombia. Once, she called me crying because her maternity leave was almost over. My parents live close to her, so that was a bonus. Hiring a nanny back there is more affordable. But even seeing the positive aspects of it, I wished I could have been there for her, to be each other's village.

The younger me didn't realize that when I took a plane to leave my country in search of new experiences 19 years ago, I was giving up the chance to have my loved ones close by when I became a mother. And when I say close by, I mean as in no planes involved.

It hasn't been easy, but after two kids and plenty of mommy and me classes and random conversations that became true connections, I can say I have a mini-village, a small collection of solitudes coming together to lean on each other. But for some reason, it doesn't truly feel like one of those described in the old books where women gathered to knit while breastfeeding and all the children become like siblings.

Life gets in the way, and everyone gets sucked into their own worlds. In the absence of a true village, we feel the pressure to be and do everything that once was done by a group of people. We often lose perspective of priorities because we are taking care of everything at the same time. Starting to feel sick causes anxiety and even fear because it means so many things need to happen in order for mom—especially if single—to lay down and recover while the children are taken care of. And when the children get sick, that could mean losing money for a working mother or father, because the truth is that most corporations are not designed to nurture families.

In the absence of that model of a village I long for, we tend to rely on social media to have a sense of community and feel supported. We may feel that since we are capable of doing so much—working and stay at home moms equally—perhaps we don't need help. Or quite the opposite: mom guilt kicks in and feelings of not being enough torment our night sleep. Depression and anxiety can enter the picture and just thinking about the amount of energy and time that takes to create true connections, we may often curl up in our little cocoon with our children and partners—if they are present—when they come home.

Now what? was my thought this week while driving back and forth to the pediatrician with my sick son. I can't get the virus, I have to be strong, my daughter can't get ill, my husband needs to be healthy for his work trip next week, we all need to be well for my son's fifth birthday. And so, it goes on. I texted one of my mom friends just to rant. She rants back because her son is also sick. She sent me a heart and an "I'm here if you need to talk."

I am grateful to have talked to her at that random postpartum circle when I first became a mother. She's a Latina immigrant like me and feels exactly like me. I will do it more, get out of my comfort zone and have—sometimes—awkward conversations so I can keep growing my own little village.

It may not look like the one I'd imagined, but still may allow me to be vulnerable even through a text message.

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Halloween is around the corner, but if you are like me you are still trying to figure out what to dress your family (especially the little ones), so here are some cute ideas inspired by famous characters. There's something for everyone—from cartoon lovers to ideas for the entire family!

Here are some adorable character costumes for your family:

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