Is Your Child Afraid of the Dark?

Many kids believe that something is lurking in the dark waiting to swallow them up.

Fear is a normal part of life for everyone, including kids. It tends to start when you attempt something new, something that you've never done before, something that is unidentified.

For children, this occurs practically daily, so fear has a greater chance of looming specifically during the night.

Here are some dos and don'ts that can help eliminate nighttime fears:

Do remain calm and patient. Be as calm as possible when you're speaking to your child concerning her fear of the dark. Pay attention as well as make certain you do not exaggerate or exacerbate to make it even worse.

Do give your child a feeling that she is safe and that she can deal with fear. Label the fear with a name. Explain to your child what fear is in the simplest way. This will help her to understand that fear is normal.

Assure your kid that his fear of the dark is perfectly normal. While the bogeyman may not be real, the fear is.

Do encourage your child. Children sometimes have different feelings at nighttime. If they call you during the night let them know that this is OK and you are there to help if they need it.

Don't do occasional sleepovers. It may be an easy solution to allow your little one crawl into bed with you, resist the impulse. Maintain the borders that work for you and give your kid the confidence to deal with her fear.

Do empower your child. Encourage your child to deal with her fear. Give her the option if she would like you to check her once or twice before she goes to sleep. Let her decide whatever makes her feel secure and safe.

Do make the surrounding comfortable and protected. Her favorite blanket, a cozy animal or bed canopy draped around the bed to help her sleep peacefully.

Don't humor her fear of the dark. Don't say to your child, 'Let me make sure there aren't monsters hiding in the cupboard'.

Do make bedtime a happy time. Always avoid television at nighttime and frightening books. Rather, concentrate on something relaxing, like making up a bedtime story with her as the main character.

Don't handle this issue alone. There are many parents experiencing the same concern with their child. Join a parenting network group for support and advise from understanding moms and dads. Seek help from your pediatrician if the fear continues.

Do get support. Unexpected family issues such as separation or death can trigger fear of the dark. Beware of such connected issues at home and talk to your pediatrician for advice.

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