Taking care of children with acrophobia
Fear of heights, also known as acrophobia, is very common in childhood. However, during the first months, babies are naive to the fear or phobias associated with many situations. In this stage of their lives, even after suffering from falls, accidents, and scares, they are willing to repeat actions that may have caused them pain, and they learn from that.
Most experts agree that babies do not develop fears until approximately nine months. From this age on, they may encounter situations that can trigger phobias. Don’t be surprised if your child develops a phobia after the ninth month. The most important thing is to identify it and help your child overcome it.
When a child meets or exceeds a height limit considered mentally insecure to an infant, this can trigger a natural survival instinct. However, you shouldn’t mistake it for acrophobia because it is pretty normal. Here we will tell you how to know if your child suffers from acrophobia.
Acrophobia warning signs
First of all, you should know that acrophobia and vertigo are not the same. The first is the irrational fear of heights, and the second is a vestibular disorder related to balance and spatial perception found inside the ear. Therefore, a person can suffer from vertigo without necessarily suffering from acrophobia.
Some warning signs of exposure to heights are:
- Muscle tension
Children can experience acrophobia even when doing daily activities that involve heights and not just before something perceived to be a great height. For example, riding an escalator or elevator, looking out a window, or riding a swing can stimulate their brain and cause panic.
What to do in cases of acrophobia?
It is first and foremost important not to force the child into these situations. Instead, you should seek professional guidance and evaluation. If you are frequently noticing symptoms of this disorder, ask a professional.
Professional treatment of these cases includes behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy. The specialist can try progressive and controlled exposure to heights according to each patient. So the child will get used to the situation and experience the fact that there is no real threat to them.
Other complementary methods to professional help can be relaxation techniques, meditation and breathing. Additionally, these tools are valuable for any situation a child may face in the future, regardless of whether it is related to a phobia.
It is not clear what induces the appearance of acrophobia in children. However, a relationship has been found in exaggerated reactions and parents’ overprotection in some cases. Be there for your child as they explore the world, but control your reactions. Take care of their safety without interfering with their growth.