To many parents, their toddler's fears make no sense at all. Daredevil children may become frightened by things that never scared them before-the neighbor's poodle, the dark, the splashy bath, ladybugs, loud noises. Frightened toddlers are often whiny and demanding. This makes them difficult to deal with. Let's look at a few of the most common fears of toddlers.

Fear of separation. Toddler anxiety about separation is an indication of growth. You used to be forgotten when you left. Now, your toddler worries about and puzzles over your departure. Always tell your child that you are leaving. Sneaking out decreases trust. For a better separation, get your child absorbed in an interesting activity before you leave.

Fear of baths. Many toddlers worry about going down the drain with the water. No amount of logical talk will change this. You can help by letting your toddler play with a pan of water, then in the sink, and final over the edge of the tub (don't leave a toddler alone in the bathroom).

Fear of dogs. Dogs are often loud, fast-moving, and unpredictable. Many toddlers fear them. First share pictures of dogs with your child, then watch one from a distance, and finally approach a gentle dog.

Fear of loud noises. Though your toddler may love pounding on a toy drum, the loud noise from a vacuum cleaner or a hair dryer may be very Try letting your toddler look at and eventually touch things in your home before you turn them on. If the fear seems intense, save "loud noise jobs" for times when your child is not tired and in a good mood, or better yet, when he or she is not around.

Fear of the dark. Parents often sheepishly admit that their toddler sleeps with a night light (or the room light) on. Children can sleep with lights on without damaging their health. Gradually reducing the amount of light works for many families. Some children decide on their own to turn lights off. It is important not to rush your toddler.

Your toddler's fears depend on his or her level of anxiety, past experiences, and imagination. If any fears persist, make an effort to avoid things which trigger them. In a relatively few months your toddler will be better equipped emotionally to deal with his or her feelings. Accept your child's fears as valid. Support your child any time he or she is frightened. Eventually most fears will be overcome or at least brought under control; this is a sophisticated task for a little child.