Some children are afraid of clowns

Children and adults can be afraid of clowns

The fear of clowns is a fairly common phobia, mainly in children but it is also seen in adults. The phobia can range from mild to very severe and it is called Coulrophobia. Coulrophobia includes the fear of both clowns and mimes.

It is not known exactly what causes Coulrophobia but a common belief amongst most scientists is that children are afraid of clowns because of the exaggerated face paintings. Babies and toddlers are very reactive to unfamiliar body types or people with an unfamiliar face. Another theory behind the fear is that clown acts often mimic physical pain and the child or adult watching is sensitive to this.

These factors, combined with the often busy, loud bustling places can overwhelm a child and the whole experience can turn into a frightening one.

For older kids the fear may also come from horror movies as the media will often portray clowns as evil characters.



Some useful tips for you if your child fears clowns

  • Don’t force it. If you push your child into a situation where he or she is frightened this could well make their fear worse.
  • Take the time to explain to your child what a clown is. Explain that it is a normal person dressed up with face paint to entertain people. You could look at some photos or clowns or watch clowns on the TV whilst your child feels safe from a distance.
  • You could show your child the transition from the clowns’ normal appearance into their clown character. This will help them understand that they are just an act. You could even do this by dressing up as clowns at home.
  • As with any fear, keep reassuring your child. Be understanding and of course, consider their fear when you are looking for kids birthday party ideas!


You and your child are not alone!

Johnny Depp, Daniel Radcliffe and Puff Daddy all have a fear of clowns. So when you next hold a family party, you may want to avoid inviting them or book a party entertainer who is not a clown.


Click to read more on how children learn

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