My 3-year-old is terrified to be outside...advice?

I have a 3 year old, who recently became terrified of the outside. Can’t have the windows down in the vehicle. Won’t go outside longer than to get to the car and back inside. He used to LOVE to be outside. We had all that bad weather for them few weeks and now he is terrified. To the point of shaking uncontrollably and sobbing non stop until he is inside or the windows are up. I have a daughter who plays softball. And a son who plays baseball. Please help! I’m tired of missing ball games to sit in the car


I’d consider taking him to a child psychologist. They can help you guide him through this. These things can weigh so heavily on a young child’s mind, especially when they have no way to understand logically that they are at no risk.


Have you tried exposure therapy with positive reinforcement and encouragement? Kind of like when you get a baby to sleep in the crib in their own room and self soothe to sleep


One year my son loved the slide. The next year he was scared to death. Get him a bubble machine to lure him outside. He’s most likely afraid of the wind. It happens around that age as they don’t understand storms or where the wind comes from.


I work with youth. I would suggest you seek an assessment from a mental health care provider. Things can be really traumatic for kids without us having the same experience. Sometimes youth need professional support to work through it. It sounds like you’re a parent looking to get your kiddo help and I think that’s your best option.


What does the pediatrician say?

You need to talk to him , something happened to him outside to scare him. A child psychologist , if you can’t figure it out it’s not normal , for him to love being outside , to being petrified. Please don’t just ignore this.


Maybe they have sensory issues? Too many noises probably freaks them out. Too many noises freaks me out sometimes…trying to lighten you up a bit…could be something trauma related. Talk to pediatrician and possibly get a referral, maybe autism?

How was the storm handled by parents? Was there fear? Is he allowed to watch the weather news or disasters on TV? My friends child was like this…they watched the news around him and he seen hurricane damage. We don’t even have hurricanes here and everytime it would rain he would panic that a hurricane was coming and his family was going to die. Turn off the TV in front of young children!

Has something else happened ??? Try talking to him. Ask a pediatrician ? Also try behavior modification… treats for “good” behavior, etc.

1 Like

If he’s verbal…talk to him…Ask him questions about what scares him.
Then work to help alleviate the anxiety.


Definitely take him to a therapist or psychiatrist. He was traumatized by it somehow in his little head momma. And we’re not equipped to understand their beautiful little minds. Seek some professional help momma!


I went through something similar when I was 10 due to experiening a tornado near by. I was terrified of tornados, storms and rain in general. I would see a cloud and freak out because it meant it may rain and escalate to a tornado. This fear went away eventually on its own. I love rain now.

The therapy advice is way dramatic. Therapy won’t solve all life problems.

Try to teach your little one about weather…the more informed they are the sooner that dear will fade.


The wind in the car could be taking his breath away. My kid went through a small faze with grass. It’ll be ok. Maybe start with walks.


My son went through a phase like this. He was absolutely terrified of the idea of tornados and wind. We don’t even have tornados in our area. He would scream cry I would have to pick him up from school on windy days. He eventually grew out of it. He was recently diagnosed with autism at 9. So I would definitely talk to someone like a therapist

This happened to me when I was around 5 after a tornado hit our home. It took me years to get over the trauma. Was scared of wind, rain, airplanes, clouds, u name it I was terrified of any weather related event. I slept with my mom for years after because I was so terrified. This went on until I moved from the Midwest to the east coast, where tornados aren’t as prevalent. It eventually went away and now I can tolerate thunder storms but still get anxiety. Idk if therapy would help, as I never went, but worth a shot. Also, as mentioned above teach him about weather and know this fear is very real.

Take him somewhere fun outside show him there’s nothing to be afraid of start small and slowly my daughter did same thing after a tornado at 4 took us a month of constantly showing her she was safe good luck mama

I remember my oldest around 3 or 4, was terrified of fireworks. They never bothered him before. To make him feel better we decided that for the 4th of july we would watch from our apt on the balcony. Couldn’t see the greatest, but it would be enough for my oldest to have fun and than my son could watch TV inside. But nope, he freaked out at the first boom and made us all come inside and stand in the kitchen lol. For some reason he felt the kitchen was the only place we would be safe. Like everywhere else I’m sure, ppl lit fireworks all summer. Up til the end he was so afraid of them. Every night but he kinda phased outta it. Idk if theres much u can do to speed up the process but he might just have to wait til he feela safe again. It wouldn’t hurt to take him to his pediatrician and see what they say

Keep taking him outside as much as possible but hold on to him and reassure him. Try making it positive like buying bubbles. Painting rocks and that sort of stuff

Get a bunch of helium balloons with a present tied to the end.

Show him out of the window that the outdoors left him a present to say sorry for scaring him! :heart:

1 Like

keep trying every day, bring something he loves outside with him, play music, anything to distract him and make it a positive experience. The sooner he changes his mindset, the better, before it really becomes a ingrained fear.

My daughter went through that after a minor tornado, had to take her to a therapist one time. All the therapist said was Do you think mommy would let anything happen to you? Do you think mommy would protect you?

My little girl is 7 nearly 8, she was absolutely fine around animals she loved them then one day when she was 4 a dog snapped at her and since that day she’s absolutely terrified of any animal! As small as a fly!!!
It has scared her so much that if a dog is in eye sight of her she panics and screams jumping on me to pick her up, she will scream and shake until she’s pretty much sat on my head or the Animal has gone.

She did the same when she was 4 she choked stopped breathing etc and it scared her that much she didn’t eat a single thing for 10 weeks. She had to go through dietitian etc, finally one day 10 weeks later she woke up and asked me for a picnic dinner, so that is what she got it took her 3 hours to eat a sandwich, grapes, yogurt and a chocolate bar but she did it!

Therapy…this is extreme like agoraphobia.

What bad weather exactly? Maybe show him how stuff works and what goes on and it can possibly help him. Otherwise I’d take him to a therapist

1 Like

Definitely needs a therapist