Shedding Some Light: When Your Child Is Afraid Of The Dark

What should you do when your child is afraid of the dark? Fear of the dark is a common thing in young children, but why does it suddenly appear in a child who didn’t seem to mind before? And when it does appear, what should you do to help? Today we have the answers to these questions.

When Your Child Is Afraid Of The Dark | parenting | tips and tricks | kids afraid of the dark | children afraid of the dark | parenting tips | parenting tricks

Why Is Your Child Afraid Of The Dark?

Fear of the dark can appear out of nowhere in a child who was previously unaffected by it. The reason why is because as a child’s brain develops and he begins to have deeper thought processes, all sorts of fears can creep up. Fear of the dark is just one of the more common childhood fears.

In general, toddlers become more aware of the world around them and are also very affected by things they hear during the day. That harmless cartoon about monsters could trigger a later fear that monsters will show up in your child’s room at night. All of our imaginations can run wild at night–little children are no exception!

When Your Child Is Afraid Of The Dark | parenting | tips and tricks | kids afraid of the dark | children afraid of the dark | parenting tips | parenting tricks

When Your Child Is Afraid Of The Dark

Most often, fear of the dark begins around the age of two. And it can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Once in awhile, an older child may begin to feel afraid of the dark. No matter what age, there are strategies to help your child overcome it.

When Your Child Is Afraid Of The Dark | parenting | tips and tricks | kids afraid of the dark | children afraid of the dark | parenting tips | parenting tricks

Shedding Some Light

Here are the most helpful strategies you can use when your child is afraid of the dark:

  • Work to create healthy bedtime habits. Routines help dispel nighttime fears.
  • Comfort your child and acknowledge the fear. It’s one of those things that may seem crazy to you, but it isn’t crazy to your child. It’s very real, so allow your child to tell you about it. Reassure your child in a calming manner, but don’t overdo it.
  • Even if your child awakes screaming for the light to be turned on, leave the lights off. Go into your child’s room, sit next to him, and offer that reassuring presence. It’s best if your child remains in his own bed. He’ll begin to realize that it’s okay, even if it takes some time.
  • A child who is older than 18-24 months may like to have a security object at night. It could be a stuffed animal or a soft blanket. This gives her something to hold and squeeze without needing to be with you, and encourages self-soothing.
  • If needed, use a night light in your child’s room. Make sure it is a yellow-based light. The wattage should be less than 7, so it doesn’t interfere with your child’s natural sleep patterns.
  • If your child has a vivid imagination {such as monsters under the bed}, offer an imaginative solution. Make a play of doing a search every night before bed to be sure there are no monsters. Grab a small spray bottle of water with some essential oils added for effect, and tell your child it’s “monster spray.” Spray it wherever your child says it’s needed. It might seem funny, but it works wonders!

When Your Child Is Afraid Of The Dark | parenting | tips and tricks | kids afraid of the dark | children afraid of the dark | parenting tips | parenting tricks

Most of all, when your child is afraid of the dark, celebrate successes. Each night that your child deals well with his fear of the dark, be sure to celebrate his courage in the morning. It won’t be long before your child learns that he can deal with the dark.

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