Beards, Boiled Eggs and Bagels

Brit Kids Reveal their Weird Childhood Fears

Spiders, dogs and the dark are among British children’s biggest fears – while beards, boiled eggs and bagels are among the most peculiar, according to new research.

Other common phobias in the top 40 include monsters under the bed, clowns, going to the loo and the tooth fairy.

Some of the more unique fears experienced by some kids include buttons, gravy and the sound of cutlery rubbing together – while one child is scared their hair will blow off whenever it’s windy.

Around seven in 10 mums and dads said they had a fear as a child and 68 per cent of them have taken their phobia into adulthood.

The research of 1,582 parents with children age 16 and under was commissioned to celebrate the DVD release of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’, which is released on Monday 6 February.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Michael Rosen, author of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ and former British Children’s Laureate said: “When children join in the Bear Hunt, they discover that the thing about today and tomorrow is that you can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, you do have to go through it!

“This is a fantastic opportunity to think and talk about feelings. The film will show children that it’s a good thing to face up to our fears and worries.”

On average, respondents said their kids have three phobias – typically developing them at around three years and 10 months.

One respondent said their child is afraid of mushrooms, another’s doesn’t like red cars and another’s bursts into tears whenever they see anyone wearing hats – apart from when their mum wears one.

While one parent said their child is scared of hand dryers, another’s offspring is afraid of the colour green and another has a phobia of socks.

Thirty per cent of mums and dads think their child’s phobia has hampered their development to a degree.

Nine in 10 parents have attempted to help their child overcome their fear and almost a fifth of parents have used books or films like ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ with their children to help them overcome their fears.

Over half of respondents said their child have slept in their beds as a result of their fears.

Thirty eight per cent of parents, who on average had three phobias as a child, admitted their childhood fears hampered their development.

Of the seven in 10 parents who took their childhood fears with them into adulthood, a quarter said they have passed their phobia on to their children.

And 55 per cent of respondents with a fear of their own said they have attempted to shield their offspring from their own phobias.

However two in five mums and dads said their child has actually helped them to get over their fears.

While 46 per cent of respondents admit they had to deal with their childhood phobias alone without help from their own parents.

Other common fears among children include needles, people wearing masks and loud noises.

While ghosts, wasps, strangers – and thunder and lightning also feature in the top 40 – along with dentists, snakes and moths.

Eileen Hayes MBE, Parenting Consultant said: “It’s important for parents to remember that it’s completely normal and natural for children to have fears, especially in the pre-school years when they don’t have an adult understanding of the world, but have very fertile imaginations.

“Some fears are perfectly rational, especially seen from the child’s point of view, but even when they seem irrational, parents shouldn’t laugh at fears or say they are silly, as they are very real to children.

“The best thing parents can do is acknowledge and talk about them, so using a film or a book such as ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ can really help frame that conversation.

“Today’s parents are much better dealing with these issues than their own parents, when the attitude was often one of ‘keeping a stiff upper lip’ and they were likely to say ‘pull yourself together’”.

Ruth Fielding, producer of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’, said: “First and foremost, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is a charming story, about children heading out on their own for an adventure, but it also provides a great opportunity for parents to talk to their children and let them open up about their feelings.”

‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ is available on DVD from Monday 6 February.


  1. Spiders
  2. The Dark
  3. Monsters under the bed/in the cupboard
  4. Thunder and lightning
  5. Wasps
  6. Being alone
  7. Loud noises
  8. People wearing masks
  9. Dogs
  10. Strangers
  11. Dentists
  12. Clowns
  13. Ghosts
  14. Needles
  15. Snakes
  16. Moths
  17. Death
  18. Costume Characters (eg Football mascots, characters at theme parks)
  19. Heights
  20. Zombies
  21. Doctors
  22. Toilets & Bathrooms
  23. Blood
  24. Sharks
  25. Loneliness
  26. Bears
  27. Cats
  28. Loss
  29. Ants
  30. Santa Claus
  31. Flying
  32. Worms
  33. Dolls
  34. Water
  35. Birds
  36. Cars and other vehicles
  37. Butterflies
  38. Fish
  39. Forests
  40. Tooth Fairy
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