Most children at sometime have a fear of the dark.
They want to sleep with the light on. They can’t reach the light so call for help before they step out into the darkness of the hallway or landing.
It’s easy for parents to forget how frightening fear is around darkness. It’s probably been a long time since we were so afraid of darkness. Now darkness and silence can bring the shivers back to many of us as we hear our own feet clipping along or our heartbeat.
Imagine our children….and their wonderful imaginations.
Here are a few ways to ease our children through slowly getting over the fear of the dark. It’s not going to happen overnight but take heart their fears may slowly start to ease and if we’re lucky go away.
1. Practice walking in the dark together
During the early dark evenings, while we are all in one room. The lights are off in the hallway and other rooms. Here’s the perfect time to walk with, talk about how we can get from here- lit room to the dark room and turn on the light.
Yesterday we were sitting eating our meal and the little one needed to grab a dustpan and brush from the kitchen. With the light pouring into the room he could see it but didn’t want to walk the dark walk of shame. I encouraged him to go and get it if we go together without the light on. Just the act of going with him perked him up. I don’t think he would have gone in without the light. First steps.
2. You sing or they sing
We’re a loud bustling family of five. There’s always sound going on unless the children aren’t around. The children are used to all this sound too. With darkness there’s often silence and now you hear humming, whooshing, and the mechanical sounds.
These all seem to become bigger in the darkness.
Try singing a tune as you send your child to go in and get something obvious in the darkness. Maybe it’s the book on the bed or off the table or the coat of their peg or the shoes off the floor. But keep singing. Just knowing you’re there maybe enough to go in grab and come out without the light. The next step is to get them to sing songs to themselves, quietly or hum it to dissolve the fear of the dark away.
It may seem strange to try to slowly get our children over the fear of the dark by letting them try the dark but I’ve found how powerful it is to be willing to ask them to try when the stakes are low.
Not when the milk spilled and you need the cloth quickly and the room is dark.
Instead pick a moment when you can stop reassure and encourage.
Light pollution is a bit deal in our house with the landing light and bathroom light on most nights because of fear of the dark. We have experimented with little lights and night lights. We want them to be comfortable making the short walk from bedroom to bathroom at night without feeling the fear. Still now we hear the run and sometimes when they were younger they didn’t want to make it.
What tips do you have for slowly getting over the fear of the dark?