How to Overcome Children’s Fear of the Dark
9th February 2018
Children have wonderful imaginations but because they’re unable to decipher between what’s reality and what’s fantasy at such a young age, it can lead to fear and confusion. Curiosity can often be exciting and exhilarating – it can even encourage children to study harder – however it can also be a hindrance when some of their thoughts begin to manifest into fears. This can become particularly debilitating during the night time, when they’re left alone with their thoughts in the dark. This month Tiny World Day Nursery are here to help parents with a common fear many face, fear of the dark.
Why do children develop a fear of the dark?
Unlike adults, children are able to retain an exceptional amount of information because they’re currently in the ‘critical period’ where their brain is still developing and growing, making it much easier for them to soak up what’s around them. So as you can imagine, after a busy day, your child’s mind might go into overdrive when the night-time comes. Perhaps they were frightened by an image on a billboard or an advert, maybe they were taken back by the sound of a dog barking or took a disliking to a bush rustling in the park. It might even be the shadows that move around their room when cars pass by and although this might sound all doom and gloom, there are a number of things you can do to ensure very best for your little one.
How you can help a child’s fear of the dark?
Talk to your child
Ask them what it is that’s scaring them. You might find out that there’s something in the room that can simply be taken away. When you talk to your child, you’ll both be able to trust one another with your thoughts and this will help them to communicate with you (now and in future).
They might suggest there’s a monster under their bed or in the wardrobe. If this is the case, try to show them that not all monsters are scary – you could show them the Monsters Inc film or read them a book about friendly monsters. Otherwise, spray ‘monster repellent’ (e.g ‘water’) into the areas where the monsters hide.
Get a night light
There are many fun lights out there including clouds, stars, teddy bears, animals, dinosaurs and many more! These clever devices provide enough light for your child to see in the dark – they’re fun and they’re a reassuring buddy there to help, should they wake up in the middle of the night.
Make shadow puppets
Once they have a night light installed, teach them to make shadow puppets, and this can help them to see that even we can make our own shadows. Explain to them that moving shadows at night could be anything, like a bird passing by a street light or a car’s headlights.
Goals and rewards
When your child begins to sleep through the night with the light on, try alternate nights without it and make sure you talk to them about this. When they manage a whole night with it off and start to overcome their fears, treat them with a reward.
Have a bedroom guard
Sit your child’s favourite teddy bear on a chair and they can ‘keep watch’ during the night. Over time your child will see that no harm comes to their favourite teddy bear and eventually they will just want their bear back with them, to cuddle during the night.
It can be hard to know what to do when faced with situations we can’t relate to, but it’s always important to get advice from others that are also going through the same with their children. Always give your child a listening ear, to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep.
Tiny World Day Nursery have been caring for children for countless years and we enjoy what we do. Our friendly team offer a number of fun activities including: painting, crafting, exercising, socialising, drawing, storytelling, playing and learning. If you would like to know more about us and see our premises for yourself, please feel free to get in touch today!