Is Your Child Afraid of the Dark? – How to Help Them

Being afraid of the dark is a common fear for many children. It’s been said that nightlight manufacturers are not going to experience a decrease in sales anytime soon.

In fact, many parents seek child counseling in San Diego and the surrounding areas simply to help their children face this fear.

Most parents genuinely want their children to feel better, sleep more soundly, and experience a sense of safety. Furthermore, as any parent will tell you, a good night’s rest is priceless. And that’s not always possible when there are suspicious shadows haunting the corners of your child’s room.

Yet, plugging in a nightlight isn’t the only solution. There are plenty of ways you can successfully help your child to be less afraid of the dark.

Validate Their Fears

To help your child be less afraid of the dark, it’s important to listen to their fears. Give them the space to tell you how they feel. It may not seem valid to you because you view their room as a perfectly safe environment.

Nevertheless, listen to them anyway rather than brushing it off. Another common response is simply to disregard their fears, telling them that they have no reason to be afraid.

Your child believes that there is a reason to be afraid of the dark. They want you to acknowledge those feelings, too.

Be that listening ear. Validate those big and sometimes dramatic emotions. This will help them to know that you truly care and want to help them through this.

Explore Their Fears

In addition to listening to them, ask them questions about their fears. Explore what makes them feel afraid.

Is it that they feel alone? Are they afraid of monsters in their closet? Do they dislike the darkness because they can’t see what’s out there?

Dig a little deeper into their fear. Then, find ways where you can learn more about them being afraid of the dark.

For example, plenty of helpful videos and books exist that focus on this fear. Based on their responses to your inquiries, find one that fits their unique situation. Watch the video or read the story together, answering their questions and comforting them as you do.

Find Ways to Comfort Them

Books and videos are only a couple of ways to support your child. As mentioned, nightlights are usually the go-to solution.

To find the best way to help them be less afraid of the dark, ask them. Your child might surprise you with some pretty creative ways to feel better! Praise them when they do.

Some children feel safer when they sleep with a favorite stuffed animal. Others opt for the nightlight or even a dimly lit magic wand or toy.

The goal is to empower your child to face their fears. Sometimes, the simplest snuggly toy can be like armor to them.

Praise Their Effort

Lastly, facing any type of fear is a big deal—for adults and children alike. It’s important to praise your child when they open up to talk about their fears as well as the effort they make to face it.

Remind your child of the wonderfully creative mind they have, enabling them to imagine stories and create amazing art. Explain how their mind sometimes plays tricks on them by imaging monsters and such.

You can even teach them to reward themselves. Even though their minds may have imagined frightening things, they still had the capacity to create such an intricate storyline. Which is, in itself, an amazing thing.

If you’d like support in helping your child not to be afraid of the dark (or another issue altogether), please reach out today.

We provide child counseling in San Diego and would like to help you and your family. Please visit here to learn more.