Being a great parent that’s always there for their child requires patience, dedication, and love. From the moment they are able to speak and express their thoughts and emotions they’ll have a pretty large list of questions. Questions that only you should be able to answer. One of these dilemmas that they might have is related to their fear of the dark.
Toddlers have quite a fascinating imagination, and when sight fails to show what’s in front of them due to lack of light, they tend to imagine things. If your toddler experiences similar problems, it’s time to help them overcome their fear of the dark. Here are a couple of possible solutions to your kid’s irrational fear of the dark.
Have you ever wondered why are kids afraid of the dark so much? Black and white are the only colors that a baby sees once they come to this world. After a while, they’ll develop, and start seeing other colors like red and yellow until they have a full spectrum of colors in front of them. They’ll have plenty of questions about the world around them, at first mostly about the objects and things around them that they don’t understand. This is where you come up to explain and give them additional information about the world around them.
However, when the lights go down and they are alone in their room ready to sleep, their brain starts to manufacture answers for all of those imaginary shapes and things that they see due to lack of light. You need to explain that what they are experiencing at those moments doesn’t have anything to do with closet monsters and other imaginary things. In fact, it’s their brain and imagination that are doing the work and tricking them into thinking that they aren’t safe alone.
Sometimes, the answers alone won’t be enough to calm them and make the fear go away. You’ll need to help them overcome it, and the best way is to get them a sleeping toy next to which they’ll feel safe. Look for something larger than regular toys, but still cuddly and soft.
This way they’ll have someone to replace your warm and gentle hug at any time during the night. Make them feel secured next to that toy animal and before you know it they’ll have their favorite sleeping toy to comfort them when you’re not around. It’s far from sufficient to keep their fears away, but with your tutoring and a bit of help from fluffy toy friend, they’ll overcome their fear of the dark in no time.
Another way you can prepare your toddler for sleeping in a room with the lights out is to play it safe, making one step at a time. They shouldn’t sleep with lights on because they won’t get the rest they need and it’s generally not healthy (however, night lights and projectors might come in handy). So if you’re still haven’t figured out why are toddlers afraid of the dark that much, keep in mind that it’s defined as the fear of the unknown. Fear actually helped us evolve into beings that we are now. Fear is the trigger that makes us alert and on guard because we don’t know what’s about to happen and the anticipation isn’t helping. It is only when we find out the truth that we liberate ourselves from that irrational fear. Once we know what we’re dealing with our fears tend to fade as we prepare ourselves for the situation ahead.
So, in order to make it easy for your toddler to sleep alone in their room try to dim the lights for the first period instead of turning them off completely. This way they’ll progress towards overcoming their fear of the unknown/dark, making one step at a time. Next time you kid shows that they aren’t really comfortable sleeping alone, try to talk them into sleeping with dimmed lights. This way, their eyes will get the rest they need in oppose to sleeping with the lights on, and you’ll gradually prepare your toddler to sleep without even dimming the lights.
This one is a classic, yet still effective when putting a child to sleep. Not only that you’ll teach them a thing or two about life through these stories, but you’ll also start their imagination and prepare them for sleep. When picking a bedtime story, try to aim for those that that are educational and fun while still being understandable for toddlers and older kids. Also be sure that there is some point in the story and that your kid can learn something from it.
Don’t hesitate to read them stories from the same book. This way they’ll fully understand the morale of the story and get to know the characters even better. Ultimately, reading one story at a time and repeating them, gives you a chance to plan how they’ll interpret it. So plan your bedtime stories and try to read them according to situation.
If you had a rough day, or your kid had an unpleasant experience, try to find a story or a poem that suitable for such scenarios. It will comfort them in a way that your hug and gentle touch sometimes can’t. Once you finish each story, wish them a good night and dim or turn of the lights completely. They’ll contemplate on what they’ve heard and have a good starting point to let their imagination drive them into slumber.
Being afraid of the dark at that age is perfectly normal, and you should understand this before you try to apply radical measures to relieve them of these problems. It’s important to talk them through it and explain why they are experiencing this irrational fear and how they’ll overcome it. Be sure to make progress step by step, as they need time to reflect on your words and guidance. It won’t be easy but if you’re patient and keep the routine, your little one will sleep with the lights of in no time.