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

5 Ways to stop young kids being afraid of the dark


1. Understand why young children 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 children are learning the difference between what is real and what is pretend.

Children 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 little one stress such as moving home, the arrival of a new sibling, an illness or death, or parents separating.


2. How to respond when your child is frightened of the dark

  • Parents should show sympathy and understanding when helping their little one 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 child to follow.
  • Listen to your child’s 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 child’s fears in front of other people otherwise your child 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 that parents give their children ways to cope with their own fears rather than try to solve the problem themselves. This is the way that your little one 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 child’s 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 little one 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 your child can squirt under the bed to banish the monsters.

Involve your little one 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 'no monsters'.

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

Monsters don’t like the light so put a nightlight in the hallway or bedroom.


5. Encourage physical exercise

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

If you child’s 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 your child being able to run around outside when they need to.

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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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