5 Ways to Help Your Kids Stop Being Afraid of the Dark
A study that surveyed 122 people found out that 54% listed the dark among their top 5 fears. So if adults have this fear, it’s no wonder kids build on it and imagine monsters under their bed and see scary shadows. And while many children eventually grow out of this, there are still ways you can help them get rid of this fear earlier.
We at Bright Side don’t want kids to be afraid of the boogeyman — we want the boogeyman to be afraid of our brave little kids. So here’s what you can do to help your child build up some courage and stop being afraid of the dark.
1. Listen to your kid.
Take your child’s fear seriously and hear them out. Don’t dismiss it by simply checking under their bed and saying there are no monsters there. That can actually make things worse because you might show your kid that you believe those monsters could be real.
Ask them what exactly makes them feel scared and show that you understand their fears but that you don’t necessarily share them. Finally, reassure them that they’re safe and that you’ll be there for them if they feel scared again.
2. Praise your kid.
Research has shown that positive affirmations can change the way we think. That means that if you tell yourself something positive, you might start to believe in it. It can help if you tell your kid that they’re brave and praise them for facing their fear of the dark. Those positive words from you may help them really believe they can overcome their fear, be it monsters under their bed or a scary shadow.
3. Have fun with night lights.
There are many creative night lights that can help your child relax and feel safe. For example, there are night lights in the shapes of animals, star projectors, or stick-on push lights that you can put around your kid’s room or your house if they need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Also, make sure that if you’re using an ordinary lamp, that it doesn’t cast scary shadows. Another thing to be aware of is the brightness of these gadgets that could interfere with sleep.
4. Turn their dark room into a playground.
Your kid might see darkness as something scary and dangerous, but you can change the way they see their room and how they feel when it’s dark. For example, you can have a shadow puppet performance, a party with glow-sticks and glow-bracelets, or wear shirts with prints that glow in the dark. Then they’ll learn to associate darkness with something that can be fun and entertaining.
5. Try this 10-second trick.
The reason your child is afraid of the dark might not actually be based on a fear of darkness itself but the transition to it. When you suddenly turn off the light, your eyes go blind for a few seconds because they need to adjust. And those are the seconds when your kid might start to feel scared.
There’s a trick you can try to help your kid adjust to the darkness easier. Ask them to close their eyes while the lights are still on. Then turn them off, put your hands over your kid’s eyes, and ask them to count to 10 with you. Once you’re done, ask them to open their eyes. Now when they do that, the room won’t feel as dark as it used to, especially with a night light.
Are your children afraid of the dark? What do you do to calm them down?