The dark can be a scary place for some adults, so can you imagine how it might feel for some little ones?
A fear of the dark is actually quite common in children and usually is sparked by a scary story or movie.
Although the fear can last a lifetime there are some things you can do to ease your little one’s fears and help them to overcome it. Overcoming a fear of the dark may even help your child to
overcome any other fears they may have.
Here are some tips on how to help a child with a fear of the dark.
Listen to your little one when they try to express how they’re feeling. Try to avoid any response that is dismissive if they tell you they are afraid of the dark. Don’t say “No you’re not!” or “The dark is not scary!” because to them it is terrifying. Instead, try to get to the bottom of what it is that they are really afraid of. Not only will they feel listened to and acknowledged but you might also get to the bottom of the real fear. It could simply be that they just can't see their way out to the toilet or reach for their drink of water during the night.
Talk about it.
Avoiding the issue with your child and not talking about it may feel like you are helping them forget about the fear but ironically, it may only make it worse. Talk them through it and find some books you can read about other children who are afraid of the dark. There is a plethora of books on the subject as it is such a common fear. It can show them that things appear scary at night but in fact they’re not really scary in the daytime.
Be there to help.
Remind your little one that they are not on their own when figuring this one out. Talk them through what might help them with their fears and make them feel a little less frightened in the dark. It could be a nightlight or some fairy lights around their bed, it could even be sleeping with a comfort toy. But, be assured they will know the answer if you give them space and encouragement to let you know.