Most of us remember being scared of the monsters under our bed or the boogeyman in our closet and know that these fears are unfounded. Of course, there are 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?