Our two and a half year old daughter has had a strange fear of slides and swings for some time (maybe half a year or more). She doesn't dare to slide alone, only if someone holds her hand, except for very small slides. And even very slow swinging is too wild for her and after few seconds she has enough. Compared to other children, she is a real coward and hardly dares to do anything. But she is very skillful e.g. at climbing.

In the garden she has a great playhouse with swings and a slide and had already done it all by herself and loved it and also swung wildly when she was younger, but not anymore. In winter, of course, we did this less often, but were still often on playgrounds and the like.

About our daughter: She is generally very reserved and cautious, rather introverted and thoughtful, but makes a very intelligent impression on us, among other things because she is already very developed linguistically. If you want to know anything else, please just ask.

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    "Compared to other children, she is a real coward and hardly dares to do anything. But..." Maybe this is said in jest, which is fine when talking about your child with other adults. But... I hope this isn't your actual thought/belief about your daughter. No matter how jokingly or lovingly it's said/implied, she'll pick up on the fact that she's not "x" enough for you, which is not a good thing to feel. What I'm about to say may sound like a lecture, but please take it how it's meant (something to think about)... Commented Apr 12, 2022 at 19:16
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    I don't know of anyone who asked to be brought into this world with promises made to their parents in return for the work and expense of being taken care of for 18 years. You and your SO made her; she deserves to be loved completely for who she is (not what she does or doesn't do) while you are teaching her about how to live. So if you label her a coward, even just in your mind, try to reframe it to something more neutral or even positive. My more circumspect/responsible kids never broke bones/needed stitches/drove drunk/caused me to lose sleep, etc. ;) Commented Apr 12, 2022 at 19:20
  • So, in your garden she swings and slides without any problem? So it's a problem with other swings and other slides?
    – JonTheMon
    Commented Apr 12, 2022 at 20:40
  • @anongoodnurse I'm totally onboard with what you're saying and that's my line of thinking as well, thank you! But it's sadly what other people are labeling her.
    – Manuel K
    Commented Apr 13, 2022 at 11:55
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    @ManuelK - What other people are saying shouldn't matter if it's not true or important. let them raise their own kids. Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 8:18

4 Answers 4


The thing here is to just step back and let her take these things at her own pace. The two traps to avoid are:

  • Pushing her to do something that she is scared of. That just makes it a horrible thing instead of a fun thing.

  • Hovering ready to catch her. That makes it feel scarier than it actually is.

I suspect that holding her hand on slides is a part of the problem: it comes under "hovering" above.

Just let her play while you sit back and watch from a distance. Help her if she asks, for instance getting into a swing. Give positive feedback if she does something new. She may go to the top of the slide and then back down lots of times before she finally picks up courage to slide down it, but once she does you won't be able to drag her away.


My son sounds similar, his gross motor skills (walking, jumping) came on slower than many of his peers, but he was talking a lot earlier and more than many. We did toddler and parent swim class and he was the least likely to jump into the pool (partly as he couldn't jump!) it took lots of patience and exposure to get his confidence up.

Firstly don't shame her for not wanting to do things which seem scary (you'd be scared of a bungee jump, for example, and fear is a natural response), secondly, always be there for hand holding/encouragement. Offer the chance to have a go by herself, but don't completely refuse to help. Get them distracted, we'd throw toys into the swimming pool to jump in and chase, as they forget about the scary part then! Also, arrange play-dates with slightly more confident children so she can learn from them.


I'll answer my own question since it's been one-and-a-half years since I asked: It was just a phase. She's now over 4 years old and most slides are no problem for her. Some really large ones make her pause, but that's okay.


You should try and ease your daughter into heights and stuff, please take it slow to avoid fear of being rushed.

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