One of the most common childhood fears is fear of the dark or nymphobia. It usually occurs in toddlers between the ages of two and four, but it also affects older children. For many parents, this problem is very urgent. Therefore, we want to talk about how to save a child from the fear of the dark, and expand this topic in more detail.
When I was little, I was afraid of the dark too. Therefore, I expected my children to have this fear as well. Now I have four wonderful children, and only two of them are afraid of the dark. As a result, I tried to analyze and understand what makes my children afraid. I will present my findings as well as some good ideas on how to rid a child of the fear of the dark, especially when it comes to sleep.
Why are children afraid of the dark?
Babies are not born with this fear. They’ve already spent a lot of time in the dark, so they’re used to it. For my first children, I left a table lamp overnight. This went on for a year, and it just helped me see my babies during the night feed. With my subsequent children, who did not have a fear of the dark, I did not do this. Therefore, I believe that this can also be one of the causes of the fear of the dark in children.
Babies already have imagination, and in most cases, they are not able to separate reality from fantasy. Therefore, think about anything that might have influenced their fear of the dark. For example, you said that you would punish children when they misbehave. It may seem right to some parents to be categorical with children, but they have completely different thoughts.
How to cure a child from fear of the dark
In order to relieve your child of the fear of the dark, start talking to him about it. It is important to take this issue seriously, and to show interest and calmness when discussing the problem. Don’t just try to brush it off, make fun of fear, or say something frivolous. Try to find out why the child has this fear. Usually, cartoon monsters or ghosts can be the real cause of fear. And when a child is alone in the dark, he has a lot of time to use his imagination. If you also think that this is the reason for your child’s fear, then talk to him and explain that there are no monsters.
Watch what your child is watching on TV
When my son was four years old, he really liked the Scooby-Doo program and the Casper cartoon. Various friendly ghosts evoked a lot of emotions in my children. In retrospect, I understand how such programs can instill fear in a child, especially a fear of the dark. Television programs or computer games for children can really create fears. Simply because children at an early age are not yet able to discern what is fictional or real. With my last two children, I tended to check more closely what they watched on TV. And as a result, they did not have the same fears that the first two had. So just because a kid’s TV show is on before your kid’s bedtime doesn’t mean you can watch it. And if a child has a fear of the dark, you have to be very vigilant and sensible about what you allow him to watch.
Show your child exactly what is causing their fear.
The next way to relieve a child of the fear of the dark is to show the source of his fear. Some children are afraid of noise in the dark. Neighbors behind the wall, the sound of water flowing through water pipes or a creaky door. All of these can cause fear in children. To get rid of this, if possible, take the child to the source of the noise, and show what is causing it. It is advisable to do this during the daytime. Check your child’s bedroom. Go and see things that can be perceived as scary in the dark. Put yourself in the child’s shoes. What shapes and shadows do you see in his room? What can be perceived by him as a terrible object? Ask your child to tell you how he wants his room to be decorated. And where does he want certain things to be placed.
Buy a book on why people are afraid of the dark
Try to let the child understand that other children are also afraid and explain how they overcome their fears. Through books, stories or videos, you can also help your child get rid of the fear of the dark. Only when buying books, always check that there are no scary pictures. Also, calm your child down before bed. The calmer he is, the better. Read books to him at night, but stick to happy stories. Be sure to study parenting psychology. Hug your child before bed, and let him know that you are there and he has nothing to fear.
Do not completely close the doors to the child’s room. Buy him a soft toy that looks friendly. I bought polar bears for children, and said that these are special bears that will look after them until they wake up. I also read that one woman sprayed some kind of spray (water with essential oils) around the room to relieve the child from the fear of the dark. But I have not yet arrived at this method.
You shouldn’t take your child to your room all the time.
Even if you do not already know how to rid your child of the fear of the dark, resist the temptation to constantly take him to your bed. This will only increase the fear and prevent you from overcoming it. Some parents do it out of desperation. But if it has already come to the point that you do not know what to do. Then it is better to ask for help than to resort to such methods. Only, in no case should you show disappointment and anger towards your child, because of his fear. If your child sees that you are alarmed, he will become even more frightened. This child needs a calm and self-controlled parent.
It may be that you have a too sensitive and anxious child. So you have to ask yourself what worries him? Maybe there are often conflicts in your house, do you quarrel with your husband? Or is there something else that makes the child nervous and worried? If all your attempts to rid your child of the fear of the dark are unsuccessful, there is nothing wrong with seeking professional help.
You should definitely show love and care for your child. But it’s worth noting that children tend to outgrow their fear of the dark. But there are many cases where this fear goes with them into adulthood. Therefore, you should be very serious about this and closely monitor the children.