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How to Help Your Child Overcome Fear of the Dark

The nights are drawing nearer each day as we approach winter, which means we see darkness a lot earlier. For many kids, the darkness is something to be scared of as it houses the unknown (like monsters under the bed!). This can be problematic at bedtime for parents who are trying to get their kids down for the night. If you’re one of those parents, read on to find a few tips that can help children overcome their fear of the dark.

Acknowledge the Fear

Some parents are quick to dismiss their children’s fear of the dark, thinking it is a phase that most kids go through. While it is a very common thing for kids to experience, being afraid of the dark is a very real emotion that should be acknowledged. Psychologists have said this tends to come with the development of imagination, as kids imagine what could be lurking in the darkness, such as monsters. A lot of this can come from television and books.

Ask your child why they are afraid of the dark – what is it that they think is going to happen? You will be in a better position to help them when you understand why. It may be something that you never even thought of before, like animals that may be portrayed as “scary” such as wolves or bats in some stories or TV shows.

Stay Calm

As much as the fear can seem totally ridiculous and unfounded to you, again, to a young child, this is very real. Try to stay calm without showing frustration. Your tone and actions when addressing your child will make all the difference, so help them feel safe. Also, let them know that it’s okay to be afraid of the dark and that it’s perfectly normal. Never make them feel bad for how they feel.

Don’t Play on the Fear

You may want to do a check for “monsters” as part of the nighttime routine to help reassure your child that there are no monsters lurking about, but this is telling your child that there could be monsters after all. Stay away from television shows bedtime stories featuring monsters, ghosts, and the like for the younger ones as it gives them something to let their imagination run wild with. Children who are a bit older and able to rationalize a bit more.

Make Lights Accessible

There should be some form of light that your child can easily turn on if needed. Nightlights are perfect, as they are not overly bright but still let your child see the room. Battery-operated push lights are also ideal, ad they’re a soft glow and can be placed nearly anywhere. You could also have a hall light on with the bedroom door open just a bit to allow light in. this also gives your child the power to control the darkness, which can help them overcome it. When they know that with a flip of a switch or touch of a button, they can add light, it helps dissipate the fear.

Add Distractions

Giving your child a distraction will make sure they can’t even think about their fear. Glow in the dark stars or light projections on the ceiling are useful, as well as soft music. There are some great sleep aids out there like this Bable stuffed penguin that offers both a light and soothing music and even white noise, sure to be the distraction and friend your child needs in the night.

Don’t Give In

These tips may help, but it isn’t something that will work right away. Helping your child overcome their fear will take time and plenty of reassurance.

Try, if you can, to not let your child climb into bed with you or a sibling if they are having a hard time dealing with the dark. This does not help solve the issue and will only lead to other habits that are hard to break. You also do not want the sibling to feel like they have to take care of the problem either.

Stick to it! You got this!

How Do You Help?

What sort of tips or tricks do you have for parents who are looking to help their kids in their fear of the dark? What have you tried? What works and what doesn’t? Let us know in the comments or pop over to our Instagram to let us know and say hello!

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