Being afraid of the dark is a common fear, especially among young children. Between the ages of two and three, many children develop a fear of the dark. They are old enough to have an active imagination at this age, but not old enough to distinguish what is real from what is fantasy. Unfortunately, this can lead to a fear of the dark or increased anxiety during the night time.
It is important that you maintain calmness when talking to children about their fear of the dark. Reassure them by telling your child that a fear of the dark is completely natural and normal, and there is nothing wrong with them for being afraid. The best way to tackle the situation when your child is afraid of the dark is to empower your child. Give your child control over the fear by offering to come in and check on him or her in a set period of time. For example, ask your child if you should come back in five minutes, ten, 30, or an hour. Let your child decide which amount of time makes them feel safest.
Arm your child with comfort items like a security blanket, a teddy bear or even a flashlight. Night lights are also effective for this purpose. These items are like shields and weapons for your child against his or her fear, and can really work wonders in helping to alleviate it.
It is important that you avoid playing into your child’s afraid feelings regarding the darkness. Do not talk about checking for monsters or chasing away the boogie man. Do not tell your child that the monsters will go away if he simply goes to sleep or behaves. This may sound like a good idea, but it actually gives credibility to the fears that your child has, and will not allow your child to get over those fears as long as they are manifested.
Bedtime should be a soothing time for everyone involved. Make sure that your child feels safe and comfortable when you put him or her to bed every single night.