I think a fear of the dark is something that many children go through. I know that my own son certainly did. The funny thing about it, and I am sure this is the case with many people out there, there is no one thing that I can point to and say this was the cause for his fear of the dark. I know that some children may see something scary and that is the trigger, but for many it’s a fear that just seems to appear out of nowhere. Well today I wanted to share a few thoughts on how to help your child get through their fear of the dark.
Child’s Fear Of The Dark : It’s Real To Them
The first thing I want to tell you guys, and this is just so vitally important, is that you take what they are telling you seriously. While a fear of the dark to us adults may seem “silly”, to a child it is absolutely terrifying and the last thing they need is you not taking it serous or making them feel bad about it. Think before you speak to them and make sure they know you are there to support them. Do not say something like “what are you crying for there is nothing to be scared of” instead something like “I can see you are really scared let’s see what we can do to make it better” is much more open and supportive and less judgmental.
Make Sure They Know There Is Nothing There & You Will Protect Them
While you know that there is nothing lurking under their bed or hiding in the closet, the fact of the matter is a child’s imagination is so vivid that they will work themselves up to the point where they really do believe that there is something waiting to “get them”. The easiest way to reassure them is to let them see you looking under the bed, inside the closet or wherever it is your child believes that there is a monster. And let them know that you are there for them and if they get scared all they need to do is call for you. Now I know it can be tough when you are called by your kid at 3am for what is the third time that night to do a monster check, but this is something you need to do to reassure them that there is nothing there.
Help Them Take Control Of Their Fears
You do not want to do this right away with your kids, but read them stories about kids and monsters. There are a ton of books about kids who are scared of the dark and they are written in a way to help your child realize that there is nothing hiding in their room. The Disney movies, Monsters Inc. and Monsters University are a great way to make light of the situation and help your child see monsters in a different light. Another way that you can help them master their fears is with a teddy bear or some other kind of stuffed animal. My son for example loved the Ninja Turtles. So we bought him a soft Leonardo and each night me and Leonardo would go and make sure there was no monsters anywhere in his room and then Leonardo would sit guard over him while he slept.