Fear of the dark is a common concern among children. The dark can symbolize the unknown and trigger the imagination to run wild with scary possibilities. As a parent, witnessing your child struggle with this fear can be heart-wrenching. To help your children cope and overcome this fear, here are a few tips.
Acknowledge and Validate Their Feelings
The first step in helping your child overcome their fear is to acknowledge it without judgment. Let them know that it’s okay to be scared and that many children and even adults feel the same way.
Address and Remove Scary Stimuli
Make sure that your child’s room is a comforting environment. Remove or rearrange items that might cast scary shadows or look intimidating in the dark. Discuss any television shows, movies, or stories that might be contributing to their fear and limit exposure to these, especially before bed.
Use Imagination Positively
Finally, children have vivid imaginations, which can fuel their fear of the dark. But you can help them redirect this imagination in a positive way. For instance, you can create a story together where the child is a brave hero who protects their room or use “magic” items like a special blanket or stuffed animal that keeps them safe.