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  • Vaccum Fear

    Hello all!

    I was wondering if I can pick your brains. I have a 12.5 month old daughter. She was a preemie, therefore I was intoduced to babywearing from that experience. She was also mis-diagnosed with colic. So I was forever putting her in the Moby Wrap and vaccuming.

    Then one day she literially made airplanes fall from the sky when I took the vaccum out of the closet. I think she was around 4-6 months old. Ever since then I have been hand vaccuming when she is asleep and sometimes she would wake up freaking out.

    I have tried vaccuming while she was in the Moby, as well as holding her. I have also tried leaving the vaccum out, so maybe she would become "friends" with it, but all that did was make her afraid of the living room! I since moved the rug into the other room and leave the floors bare (which I know is better for babies and children, but I was thinking more padding for those dreadful falls).

    Any sensitive ways on showing her that the vaccum will not harm her at all? Any ideas of what she might be thinking or feeling. I guess if I can understand the whys of this situation, I would be better to understand her thinking. Does that make any sense?????

    Anyways, thank you for any responses on this matter.

  • #2
    my ds1 was afraid of the vaccuum for a looong time. as he got a little older, i would tell him that i was going to vacuum and he would need to go to another room. he still freaks out if i don't give him a warning that i'm turning it on.

    i have friends whose ds sounds exactly like yours, too. he can't tolerate even seeing the vacuum. if he even sees the closet door cracked, where the vacuum is, he freaks out.

    it is my opinion that we should be respectful of our children's fears and desires. if her eardrums are sensitive, she could actually be feeling pain from the noise. she would then have a pain reaction when even seeing it. it sounds like you are being sensitive to her discomfort. i say, go w/it!

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    • #3
      The little boy I babysit for has a similar fear when he was that age, he has seemed to have gotten over it now (he is 2) so there is hope! IT is kinda a loud intrusive mechanical thing! Do you remember those hand sweepers that they use in movie theatres to get stuff up with. Maybe you could try that in the meantime?..and of course real heavy vacuuming when she is out of the house! I think this is a pretty common reaction and worth respecting.

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      • #4
        I am not sure if I can describe her reaction to the vaccum, it's more the a whine at first then she started shaking. It's more like fear, I am thinking maybe she had an undetected ear infection when she was younger and the noise hurt so that is where the association came from.

        Thank you for your replies, I am trying to respect her wishes, and take her cues. That was why the rug is in the other bedroom now (still unvaccumed LOL). My husband says I am nuts and that she is pulling my chain.

        I guess I just needing positive reinforcement of what I was doing was ok, and a little window to think about what she may be feeling. I was also concerned that this fear could have been branched from another situation too. Sooo hard to be a detective sometimes (I guess that's why they pay me the big bucks.... nothing! LOL).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by PaxMamma View Post

          i have friends whose ds sounds exactly like yours, too. he can't tolerate even seeing the vacuum. if he even sees the closet door cracked, where the vacuum is, he freaks out.
          I am not sure if Dedra means us (I am co-leading with her )but this is us with my son to a T..

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          • #6
            sorry, traci, although you are a dear friend, i was actually speaking of some other friends. i guess vacuum fear is popular!

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            • #7
              My oldest was absolutely terrified of the vacuum cleaner. It took years before he tolerated it. Now he tries to ride it (hes 4 now) but I just would have daddy take him in the other room when I vacuumed. I never pushed it because a)I did not want to traumatize him LOL and b) I figured he would work it out eventually....or his future life partner might hate me forever. LOL Anyway, he did work it all out and is totally fine now. I did nothing special....when he was very young daddy would take him out...as he got older I would tell him that I was going to vacuum and ask him if he wanted to stay and watch or go in the other room. One day he decided to stay and watch and slowly became more and more okay with it. Now he even picks up the dustbuster and tries to vacuum himself!

              In my opinion I would just let her work it out on her own. Allow her to get away and in time she will make peace with it and open up to it. Its got to be extremely frightening though...those machine the size of you or bigger making the loudest noise you can imagine....yeah I would stay in the other room as well.

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              • #8
                My girls were afraid of the vacuum also. I would have to hold her while I vacuum, vacuum when she was out with daddy, or sometimes she would sit on the bed. She felt safe there. My almost 5 year old has grown out of the fear now and will offer to help me vacuum instead. My 2 year old is fearful still but that is ok, I know she will grow out of it and it will go away but till then I wil be respectful of her fear and just hold her or do it another time.

                HTH

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                • #9
                  My 15 month old is afraid of the vacuum cleaner. It helps a bit to give him a toy vacuum cleaner to play with while I vacuum, but mostly I just try to keep vacuuming to a minimum when he's around. He's also less scared of the smaller, quieter battery-operated vacuum cleaner than he is of the bigger louder one.

                  He's generally not very fond of anything loud (he thinks showers are terrifying).

                  I'm sure he'll outgrow it eventually!

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                  • #10
                    Hey I just had a thought, you know when some children realize water and dirt goes down the drain after a bath. Then they become fearful of the tub / drain because they fear if those things can go down there so can I.

                    Well do you think maybe she might have seen something get sucked up into it? Then feared that she too came be sucked up? Still grasping here...

                    Thank you for the all the postings, I figured her fear has to be because of something that I did, or didn't do.. I have been wracking my brain for 6-7 months now. Now I feel better about it, I knew some children go through it, of course no one I knew. Why does it work like that????

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tonia View Post
                      Hey I just had a thought, you know when some children realize water and dirt goes down the drain after a bath. Then they become fearful of the tub / drain because they fear if those things can go down there so can I.

                      Well do you think maybe she might have seen something get sucked up into it? Then feared that she too came be sucked up? Still grasping here...
                      That sounds logical to me (in my toddler like mind). I vacuum at least twice a day (a little OCD here) and would likely lose my mind if I wasn't able to get everything off the floor. Maybe you could start using a Dustbuster or Shark when she is around and slowly get her used to a miniature version of the same noise. She might even want to help soon! If she is still showing fear, a broom and dust pan might be the solution.
                      Last edited by LisaS; 05-08-2008, 08:08 PM. Reason: Attempting to correct "quote" formatting

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                      • #12
                        That is the weird thing, she LOVES the hand vac! But not the upright. Maybe I should just be quiet and save up for a dyson LOL

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                        • #13
                          Hi Tonia,

                          You've already gotten some great advice! I don't know how you feel about TV, but I just thought I'd add that my daughter's fear of the vacuum was helped a bit by watching teletubbies. She doesn't watch a ton of TV, but she had one teletubbie video around that age. She was scared of NuNu at first, but after seeing the teletubbies play with him, she started wanting to play follow the leader while we ran the vacuum. She helped us make eyes out of construction paper to make our vacuum look more like NuNu (this was her idea). It didn't erase the fear, but it helped a little. She still (at 4) doesn't want to be in FRONT of the vacuum, but isn't quite as terrified.

                          I wouldn't introduce her to TV just for this, but if she already watches, it might help...

                          WBB

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                          • #14
                            Thank you for all your postings. Sorry for not saying that earlier, it's been one busy week! LOL.

                            At least I know I am not alone.

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