Every child seems to go through a stage where they are afraid of the dark.
Here are some simple ways to help calm your child’s fears.
- Ask your child if they can tell you why they are afraid of the dark. If you know what they are responding to, you can address the problem more effectively. Perhaps they see a scary shadow, which you can fix by rearranging their room.
- If your child is afraid of monsters, one of the easiest ways to conquer this fear is to make monster repellent spray. There are commercial products available, but any spray bottle with a little water and scent will work. Just explain to your child that the spray keeps monsters away. If you choose a calming scent like lavender or vanilla, it will also encourage your child to relax. The scent should not be overpowering, but should be strong enough for your child to smell so that they will know its working.
- Consider using a night light or giving your child a flashlight. The ideal night light is bright enough to make your child feel safe, but dim enough to allow easy sleeping. A light that burns for some time and then turns off may be a good choice. Having a flashlight, or a toy that lights up when squeezed, may also make your child feel secure.
- If your child is worrying about you not hearing them if they call out, try using a baby monitor. They are inexpensive, and can provide real security to a worried child. Inexpensive walkie-talkies can also work and later be converted to playtime.
- Consider giving your child a special “lovey” to which you have given special protection powers. This may be the next best thing to having Mom or Dad in the room.
If you provide support for your child during this time of anxiety, this fear of the dark will usually resolve itself without further treatment or intervention.
If however your child is having increased anxiety despite your efforts, consult your child’s pediatrician to rule out any underlying health issues.