Fear of the Dark

Posted by Signature Little Ones on 10/22/2014

Everybody is afraid of something.  Some fears are common, others are seemingly bizarre.  Some fears are those of childhood and are outgrown before puberty; others progress and become worse in adulthood.  Some people have fear that is debilitating; others have fear that makes them behave comically and laugh at themselves. 

Most childhood fears dissipate early on, but when a child feels fear it is very real for them, oftentimes causing them stress and maybe upsetting their eating and sleeping habits.

One of the most common fears for small children is the fear of the dark.  What makes them so fearful?  Small children tend to be afraid of unfamiliar things that they don’t understand or can’t control.  They have active imaginations.  This is evident in their playtime antics.  Whether they have an imaginary friend, spend hours playing with Barbie or GI Joe or entertain dolls with plastic cake and empty tea cups. Sometimes their inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy means they may believe that monsters are under the bed or in the wardrobe waiting to spring once the light goes out.

If not addressed, a child’s fear of the dark may linger and continue to disrupt their bedtime routine and sleeping habits.  There are many ways that parents can help their child to overcome a fear of the dark.

Establish a bedtime routine that your child finds relaxing and enjoyable.

Put a nightlight in your child’s room, or let some light from the hallway.

Make sure their television viewing habits and reading materials are appropriate to their age and avoid content that can be scary to them.

Look around their room at night and try to see things from their perspective; is there something in particular that is causing them fear?

Make sure your child has plenty of physical activity during the day to reduce stress and to encourage physical tiredness.

Your child may want a special friend to cuddle with that makes them feel safe.  Signature Little Ones has a lovely selection of plush toys to comfort you child in their time of need or to even share a cup of tea with!