8 Ways To Help If Your Child Is Afraid Of The Dark

The human brain develops at the rapidest pace during childhood. As the baby begins to grow, the cognitive development occurs tremendously fa...

The human brain develops at the rapidest pace during childhood. As the baby begins to grow, the cognitive development occurs tremendously fast and this gives rise to imaginations. Kids have the capability to build imaginary stories around anything and everything that they are exposed to. As bizarre as it may sound to an adult, the boogeyman or the monster with a red eye should not be neglected as a figment of a child's irrational imagination. As children gain better understanding of the world and learn to use their cognition, they also learn to imagine things that frighten them. Neglecting their fears can result in adjustment problems at later stages of life. So what can we do about irrational qualms like fear of the dark? As mothers, we cannot make the fear disappear like magic. But we can do several things to help the child cope with the fear of the darkness and help them gradually grow out of it.

1. Listen To Your Child's Fear

Kids with their ever evolving imaginations will go to great lengths to describe their fears to you. Do not dismiss or ignore these stories. Be patient and listen to your child. Once you understand what it is exactly about the dark that scares them, it will be easier for you to deal with the problem.

2. Prepare Your Child For A Happy Bed Time

Sometimes kids refuse to go to bed while parents are still awake and going about their work. Mothers often force them to go to their rooms and sleep. In their defense, kids may often use their fear of darkness to postpone sleeping. So here's what you can do. An hour before your child's sleep time, spend time doing things they like to do. Read a nice book with happy pictures. Listen to calming music or songs that you and your little one can hum along. Tell a happy story while your kid is tucked into bed. Let these things work like cognitive cues for your child to go off to sleep.

3. Switch On A Dim Bed Lamp

We all sleep better in the dark without any lights. But children who are afraid of the dark may often wake up and be frightened to find themselves in complete darkness. The best thing to do is to keep a dim bed lamp turned on in their room. Also have the night bulb switched on in the house or the corridor so that the child can see some light whenever he or she wakes up in the night.

4. Change Their Perception About Darkness

Most children are afraid of the dark because they cannot see anything clearly in darkness and make up scary stories to justify what lies in it. Parents should not talk about darkness as something frightful. You should explain your kid that it is just absence of light that is required for a peaceful night's sleep. Make them aware that everything in the house remains the same and it's just that the lights are switched off. Such ideas should be inculcated in their little minds in the form of stories and games.

5. Make Your Child Feel Secure At Night

It is important to make children feel safe and secure, especially while sleeping at night. In order to help children cope with their fear of darkness, mothers should help them fall into a peaceful slumber. Always be in proximity to attend to them, in case they wake up. Make sure that the room your child sleeps in is not stuffy. It should be well ventilated and have an optimum temperature. You need not sleep with your kid in the same room, but give them the assurance that you are close to them.

6. Companion Goes A Long Way

Siblings sleeping in the same room help in coping with the irrational fear of the dark. But, if it is the only child at home, give the kid a happy companion like a soft toy or a doll to sleep with. It should be something the child loves and plays with during the day. Holding it while sleeping will give the kid a sense of relief and helps them in coping with the fear.

7. Never Play Into The Fear

This is one of the common mistakes parents tend to do. If the child is scared of a red-eyed monster that sleeps under the bed, parents tend to play into the story and say things like, "Ok, I will kill him" or "Chase him away." This strengthens the child's belief that such things do exist. So do not get trapped in the story. Instead listen to children and then explain that no such thing exists or show the child that there is nothing under the bed.

8. Don't Rebuke Your Child For Having Fear

It is ok to have fears. All of us are scared of something or the other. So try not to make your child feel ashamed of their fears. Just follow some of the tips above and try to comfort your kid at bedtime. The idea is to help kids cope with their fears until they gradually overcome them.

So with the tips mentioned above, I hope you will not have to be worried parents wondering how to deal with your child's fear of darkness. Go sing a gentle song and rock your little one to the night of peaceful sleep.

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Contributed By: Kriti Mazumdar


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  1. Fear of darkness is not only in kids but even adults get scared at times. This is coz of the fear which has grown in them since childhood! These tips are surely helpful.

  2. I can so relate to this article, I still have nyctophobia..
    So well written Dear :)

  3. Even i am scared of darkness..i just cant stay a single minute in dark. Very nice article.


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