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My daughter is a very curious, interested, and active young girl. She loves animals whether they're in a picture book or real life. She goes nuts when she sees them or hears them (in real life). Some animals she imitates herself when she sees one, e.g. dogs, pigs, and horses.

One day, she began to cry whenever we imitated those animals sounds. Currently, one cannot make any animal sound while watching animals without her starting to cry immediately.

Why is that? I don't mind her reaction itself, but I just wonder what the reason is.

Did anybody make similar experiences or has an explanation for this behavior?

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Unexplained/seemingly random toddler phobias are extremely common, and particularly with children that are more anxious or sensitive in general. I know of one small child who would cry hysterically when hearing anyone sing the Happy Birthday song, while my own son at a similar age was incredibly averse to anything with a motor noise like the vacuum, lawnmowers, etc, even if sound is distant or not loud.

Most of these toddler fears pass on their own in a few weeks or months, and aren't usually a cause for concern.

For the most part, it's good to validate and respect your child's feelings-- If you know animal sounds upset her, don't intentionally upset her by doing it in her presence. It may be silly to us, but to her it is clearly a big deal, and teasing her with it could make it worse or prolong it.

If she does get upset at hearing an animal sound, acknowledge her feelings, but without reinforcing that -this is really something to be super upset over-. You can say something like, "I see that you didn't want me to make that cow noise!" Then try to comfort or distract her. Stay calm and don't invalidate her feelings by laughing or confirm her fear/upset by giving it a ton of focus and attention.

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My daughter who is now almost 3 used to cry every time we blew into a toy flute that we had when she was really small. She would blow into it all the time without an issue, but as soon as someone else did it would trigger something to instantly make her cry. As time went on, she forgot about the flute and found it again about a year later. She now loves it when we all play music together. I think it honestly was just a high pitch sound sensitivity that she eventually grew out of. My recommendation based on her age would be to simply apologize, ask what's wrong, listen to her reasoning, and table it for a while. Since she does seem to enjoy animals in person, in books, and imitating them herself, I would recommend just focusing on those methods for now. Best of luck navigating this!

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