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For many children, loud noises are a real problem - sirens, fireworks, hand driers, vacuum cleaners, train engines make them cry or they say it hurts their ears. But, a fear of loud noises is perfectly normal in little children and even if it seems unreasonable to be scared of something we know is harmless, we need to deal with any fears as gently as possible so so not to make it worse.
New born babies show a reflex to a sudden noise, so fear of noise is an innate characteristic. As humans, we are "programmed" to be wary of anything loud and threatening so it is normal to have a fear.
Part of the reason children fear loud noise is that is that they simply don't understand what the noise is and they feel scared of that unknown. It also shocks them if it comes out of the blue so that startles them too.
- Try not to expose children to unnecessary noise.
- Be calm when they get anxious and show them that everything is okay.
- Don't try to make them "face" their fear by exposing them to noise. This will not help and will actually aggravate the problem.
- Talk about the noises and why they happen.
- Don't laugh so mock their fears.
- Let them touch the vacuum cleaner before you turn it on it might help.
- Discuss how you might cope with the noise together.
Make it into a game:
- Each time you hear a firework, shout whoosh bang! back at the firework.
- Each time you hear a siren chat about what it could be. Use characters and ideas you child will appreciate. Is it a fire engine saving a family of mice in a tree?; an ambulance rescuing a princess who has fallen down a hill or a police car catching baddies?
- When you hear the noise, you have to clap or say hooray! The first person each time, wins a prize!