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Helping Your Child Overcome Their Fear of the Dark


Most of us remember being scared of the monsters under our bed or the boogey man in our closet and know that these fears are unfounded.  Of course, there's no monsters that live in our kids rooms, but in a child's mind, these monsters are real.  It can be a scary thing for children to learn to go to bed in the dark.  What's behind the dark doorway or out in the backyard after the sun goes down?  How do you help your child overcome their fear of the dark?



Don't Dismiss the Fear

Fear is a real emotion.  Just because there is no truth to the fears does not mean that the emotion is not valid.  When your child expresses an unreasonable fear of the dark, don't be dismissive.  Instead, acknowledge and validate their feelings.  Most children go through stages where they experience fear of the dark.  This is a normal part of growing up.

Find Ways to Fight the Fear

Sometimes a little crafty creativity can help children overcome their fear of the dark.

Do you need to use a flashlight and check under the bed to prove that there is nothing hiding?  Would your child benefit from a craft project where you create a monster-be-gone spray?  Are there scary shadows that need to be examined?  Maybe a coat is hanging up and causing a scary shadow on the wall.

Would a simple new nightlight in the hallway help alleviate the fear and give your child a comforting source of light?


Look For Root Causes

Some children will become suddenly afraid of the dark.  If this is a new fear that is just occuring, then look for the cause.  Was there a scary show on tv?  Did an older sibling jump out of the dark and scare them by accident?  Did something happen recently that is causing the new fear?  Did you have a power outage that left the house eerily dark?

Some children may benefit from the security of a flashlight that stays by their bed for those just in case moments.  When kids have access to light at any time, it may help them overcome the fear of the dark.

Let's discuss: What other tips can you share to help children overcome their fear of the dark?


Annmarie John
38 Comments
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38 comments:

  1. My DOG has a fear of going outside in the dark! I think this is so common among kids and even some adults. Good suggestions to combat it.

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    1. I've never known dogs to fear the dark. How do you help him with that?

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  2. I hate the dark as an adult. Just a little light from a clock helps me to sleep.

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    1. My daughter has a fear of the dark as well and I have to keep a nightlight in her room.

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  3. Fantastic post, all great suggestions! If truth be told, I'm not altogether comfortable going out in the dark!

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    1. And that is totally ok, but what do you do when you do have to go in the dark?

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  4. It's interesting - mine have never really expressed a fear of the dark but they do have a nightlight. So I wonder what would happen without it? I'd love to follow these tips.

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    1. Madison has a fear of the dark and I have to keep a nightlight in her room because of it.

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  5. A flashlight is a good idea! Thanks for the tips!

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    1. You're very welcome Heather. Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. Do you know I am still slightly scared of the dark (I have my reasons and I have got better - it is a long chore though getting back to being OK with it). I can't imagine how being scared of it as a child feels, being unable to work out why. x

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    1. A lot of adults do have a fear of the dark. Have you figured out why and how it all started, and ways you can get better?

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  7. If you have a full proof way to get over a fear of the dark let me know. I do not do 'the dark'.

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    1. While I don't have a full proof way of getting over it, there are ways to help you make it a bit more tolerable.

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  8. Great guide for parents, child fears are so common and people usually don't know how to managed it properly

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    1. That's true. My daughter also has an irrational fear of the vacuum although we know that it won't eat her, but yet she still fears it.

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  9. These are very helpful tips. Fortunately, my kids are not afraid of the dark. They cannot sleep if their is a light that they can see.

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    1. That's awesome! My older kids are like that while my youngest still needs a light.

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  10. I'm a dark lover. For a while our bedroom was in a room without any windows. I slept so good! We keep a light on when the grands are over. I like your list of "why" a child suddenly becomes fearful of the dark.

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    1. I'm not a fan of total darkness myself. While I can do it, I do prefer to have a little bit of light and some noise, so my TV is on constantly. :)

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  11. These could be some good strategies. I think it's an irrational fear so it's always been difficult to pin down the source of it.

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    1. I wouldn't call it "irrational" because what's rational to you might be irrational to someone else. There are reasons but we just don't understand it.

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  12. I hate the dark. I still sleep with the light open in the hallway, and both my kids have nightlights in their bedrooms. I sleep so much better with a light on.

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    1. A lot of people do hate the dark. Do you know why you hate the dark?

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  13. Sometimes, I haven't overgrown my fear in darkness too especially when the clock turns at 3am! Great tips.

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    1. Why 3am? Did something happen before at 3am that now have you scared of the dark, especially at that time?

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  14. When I was a kid I used to be afraid of the dark too, especially since I like reading and my imagination goes wild when it comes to the things that you can encounter in the dark. I think it's good to train your kids to not be afraid of the dark, these are very nice suggestions.

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    1. While I was never afraid of the dark, I never thought of monsters under the bed etc, I still preferred having some light in my room.

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  15. This is such a great post. I was never afraid of the dark, but my husband and my youngest daughter are. I try to talk to her all the time about the dark. She sleeps with a night light in her room, and so do my husband and I haha. He doesn't like how dark it gets in our room at night. I think it's great to talk to your kids about the dark to help calm them down.

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    1. Your daughter sounds very much like Madison. She would refuse to go to ANY room in the house if there are no lights on. She's really afraid and would never listen to me about it being ok. Hopefully your daughter and mine might outgrow it.

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  16. Fear of the dark was never really an issue for me. I guess me and my daughter were strong enough to conquer that fear easily.

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    1. It's never been an issue to me either but unfortunately my youngest does have it and it's something that we're dealing with.

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  17. We always provided our kids with a nightlight, so they knew there was nothing to be scared of. I think it helps.

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    1. I'm pretty sure that it helped. It's the same thing that I do for my own child as well.

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  18. WOW! Such a prominent and brilliant post. Excellent tips that I know many will find insightful

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    1. Thank you and I hope we were able to help you too.

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  19. Taught the kids that when they pray, God is giving them shield for anything. Awesome post! I enjoyed reading it. When I was younger, I was sooo afraid coz whoever is in that room, they are only jealous with it.

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    1. That's a great way to help with their fear and what a great way to encourage their faith in God. Thank you for sharing that.

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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