Child, fears

My child is afraid of the dark

My child is afraid of the dark

When children are afraid of the dark…

Almost all parents are challenged at some point when the infamous monster lurks under the crib at night and the offspring can’t fall asleep because of fear. Fear of the dark is very common among preschoolers and is fed as much by wild fantasies as by everyday experiences. When a curtain moved by a draft suddenly becomes a ghost or the child is rock-solidly convinced that a ghost is lurking behind the closet, then we as parents are called upon.

Adult logic will not get us anywhere with small children. Especially with 5- to 6-year-old children, the boundaries between reality and fantasy become blurred and they experience their fears as extremely real. All appeasements a la: “There is no monster in the room! Now close your eyes and go to sleep!” won’t help the child. But something else can help: let the fantasy become a bit of reality and put yourself in the respective situation with the child. Admittedly: for us adults, this view may seem strange, but that is exactly what children need. They want to be taken seriously and understood and, above all, have a partner by their side who listens to them. More on the topic: fixed bedtimes for children

But what exactly can help with the fear of the dark look like?

Well, it’s always good to do something concrete about the child’s fears. The monster comes into the room at night? Before your child goes to sleep, you can make a tour together with the light on. Look under the bed as well as behind the closet or the desk. And feel free to build a trap together with your offspring. If the monster does appear, it will be paralyzed right here.

Not all children can precisely define their fear of the dark, and by no means all kids are afraid of ghosts & co. In many cases, it is simply that the darkness itself triggers a feeling of insecurity. At night, the familiar furniture and toys in the room simply look different and sounds are perceived much more intensely than in broad daylight. These facts are reinforced by the child’s imagination and anxiety can be the result. Even a little more light can provide security for the offspring. Very popular are night lights, which you simply plug into the socket. They spread only a hint of light, do not disturb the child while sleeping and still give orientation in the room. Even the children’s room door opened a crack wide can have a calming effect when the light shines outside in the hallway. A little tip: simply turn the night light into a “protector light” or a “magic light”. That way, you can reinforce your child’s sense of security.

Did you used to go to bed with your favorite teddy bear? Yes – such a cuddly toy can be a really good friend! You can tell him everything and he protects you in all your fears. If your child doesn’t have such a companion yet, then it’s time for one to make its way into the nursery! Whether “protect-me-dog” or teddy, whether plush bunny or doll – to have something to cuddle in the arm has a calming effect and conveys security.


At what age are children afraid of the dark?

As mentioned at the beginning, most night terrors occur at kindergarten age. But even school children are not always immune to them. However, you can talk to them in a completely different way than to younger children. The play of light and shadow, for example, can be illustrated by making corresponding movements with the fingers, which are executed in front of a light source and cast their shadows as animals on the opposite wall. The phenomenon of wind can also be explained vividly. The child may then be less afraid when the curtains shake or a gust of wind knocks over a light object in the room. Some children are also helped by a walk around the apartment in the evening and the fact that they are allowed to close the apartment door themselves.
Fears in children are quite normal and are simply part of their development. We can’t prevent them, but we can try to contain possible causes. In order for the offspring to sleep well at night and not sit in bed trembling with fear, the day should end calmly. It is recommended that children are not left alone in front of the television and that they pay close attention to what they are watching. Even the news can upset a sensitive child to such an extent that the issues raised there haunt him or her even into dreams. Anyone who thinks that children’s films and series are harmless for the youngest is mistaken. Because what is normal and perhaps even funny in our eyes can move a child deeply and possibly also cause fears. An adult can sense the child’s discomfort in time and respond appropriately.Child in the parent’s bed – how to break the habit?

Night lights and bedtime rituals can help

Evening sleep rituals calm and give security. Younger children love it when their parents read them a story or sing with them. Older kids like to use this time to discuss the day’s events. Anything they can “get off their chest” here helps reduce anxiety at night and help them fall asleep relaxed.