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5 Ways to stop kids being afraid of the dark

 
Are your kids afraid of the dark? Do they get upset and can't sleep as they think there are ‘monsters’ under their bed each night? They're not alone! We take a look at some of the reasons behind your kids fears of the dark, ways you can respond, how to make a monster fighting kit and putting some monster rules in place!
Are your kids afraid of the dark? Do they get upset and can't sleep as they think there are ‘monsters’ under their bed each night?

They're not alone! 
 

5 Ways to stop kids being afraid of the dark


We take a look at some of the reasons behind your kids fears of the dark, ways you can respond, how to make a monster fighting kit and putting some monster rules in place!
 

1. Understand why kids are frightened of the dark


Fears of the dark and monsters are common in pre-school age children.

From around the age of 3 years kids are learning the difference between what is real and what is pretend.

Young kids can be influenced by books, TV or what they see online and believe that what they are seeing and hearing is real.

Fears can also be influenced by an event which causes your kids stress such as moving to a new house, the arrival of a new sibling, an illness or death, or parents separating.
 

2. How to respond when your kids are frightened of the dark

 
  • Try to show sympathy and understanding when helping your kids cope with their fears of the dark.
 
  • Work with them to help them overcome what they're afraid of and to ensure their fear doesn't linger, disrupt their sleep or cause anxiety.
 
  • As you talk to them about their fears remain calm and in control of your emotions. This will provide a model for your kids to follow.
 
  • Listen to your kids fears and show understanding, but do not necessarily share their fear. Reassure them that the monsters are not real and they are safe.
 
  • Avoid focusing on your kids fears in front of other people otherwise they could become more anxious.
 
  • As you talk together, try to establish why the fears have happened now so you can minimise the stressor.
 
  • It is important for parents to give their kids ways to cope with their own fears rather than try to solve the problem themselves. This is the way that they will learn that they can conquer their own fears so they feel in control and in turn feel less stress.
 
  • As a parent you shouldn’t worry unless your kids fears are stopping them from leading a normal life and preventing them from going to sleep.
 
  • Turn to your GP or health practitioner for advice if you're at all concerned.
 

3. Put together a monster fighting kit


Make up a monster fighting kit with your kids to help them fight their night time fears.

Ask them what they need in their kit to help them fight the monsters.

It is important that they are actively involved in making the kit so they are more likely to feel part of the solution to the monster problem. 

You may like to include a torch in the kit because monsters like the dark. A favourite teddy bear or blanket for security. Maybe make up some monster spray that they can squirt under the bed to banish the monsters.

Involve your kids in making a special box for the monster kit and finding a place for it to live where they can reach it when required.

If they feel frightened they can then reach for whatever they need from the kit to help them cope. This way they feel in control of what happens and learn that they can overcome their fears.
 

4. Make up some monster rules


To help alleviate any fear, perhaps make up some rules together about monsters; this does not diminish your reassurance that monsters are not real.

Make up a bedroom door sign together saying 'no monsters'.

Perhaps suggest that monsters do not like the smell of minty toothpaste so if your kids brush their teeth really well at bedtime, the smell will keep the creatures away. 

Tell them that monsters don’t like the light and that you'll put a nightlight in the hallway or bedroom.
 

5. Encourage physical exercise


Regular physical exercise helps to reduce stress in kids as it does in adults.

If your kids fears are in response to a stressful life event, as well as trying to minimise the impact of the event, try to increase their physical activity levels.

This could be a daily walk to the park or just letting them run around outside when they need to.

More kids articles to enjoy
Source: This article has been written by Creators, a nationwide service offering quality home-based care and education. Creators are passionate about seeing every child’s unique talent being recognized and nurtured.
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