According to research, about 73 percent of children aged 3-12 years often have nightmares. They are usually afraid of the dark. So, what should you do if your child is afraid of the dark?
Fear of the dark can make it difficult for children to sleep at night. Lack of sleep can interfere with your child’s concentration and ability to concentrate. This can make him moody and easy to get sick.
In general, this fear of the dark will disappear by itself as the child grows. However, there are some things you can do to reduce the feeling of fear. Here’s what to do if your child is afraid of the dark!
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Do This If Your Child Is Afraid Of The Dark
Mums can do a number of these things as well as a child afraid of the dark:
Invite Children to Talk and Accept the Fear
Experts say that fears and phobias should be addressed as early as possible. It is important for parents to acknowledge and understand their child’s fears. Use words like, ‘I understand why you are afraid of the dark.’
When your child feels negative emotions, you don’t need to explain at length about the fear or worry to him. You can simply calm him down and let your little one know that you understand him and that you will always be by his side.
Help Children Fight Their Fears
The next step is to help the child deal with the phobia or fear. Fear will only get bigger if it is avoided. Mums can try to take a gradual approach to help your little one face the fear of the dark by gradually reducing the lighting in his room. Over time, your little one is not afraid of the dark at bedtime.
Do Fun Activities in the Dark
Children’s fear of the dark will be reduced if the situation is associated with pleasant moments. For example, you could turn off the lights and read to your child their favorite storybook, or maybe put glow in the dark stickers on the roof and walls of their room.
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Avoid Things That Trigger His Fear
Experts recommend that children do not look at scary pictures before going to bed, because it can trigger children’s imagination to imagine scary things. Make sure if your child watches TV before bed, you monitor the content.
Children have a hard time distinguishing between reality and fantasy, so seeing a fictional character that is scary can frighten him in real life, especially when he is in the dark. Moreover, these scary images can cause nightmares in children.
Give Positive Reply
Giving a small amount of positive feedback or reward each time your child overcomes his fear of the dark can also make the process easier. Children will feel stronger and enthusiastic about fighting their fears.
The answer in question can be in the form of a child’s favorite toy. You also need to give positive feedback in verbal form, for example, you can say, “Wow, you slept alone until morning, you know, that’s great! Mama’s proud.”
If one strategy doesn’t work, you can try another strategy or seek professional help, for example with a psychologist who specializes in dealing with anxiety and phobias in children.
Psychologists will later provide recommendations for strategies that may be suitable for dealing with children’s fear of the dark. If it doesn’t work, the psychologist will give you another strategy. So, Mums don’t give up, okay? Stay positive and patient, and keep trying until your child overcomes his fear!
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Parents. How To Help Your Kid Overcome Their Fear of the Dark. March 2022.
WebMD. Fear of the Dark. October 2011.