A lot of parents have probably wondered why their baby is scared of the dark. It seems like such a natural fear, but where does it come from? Is it something that babies are born with, or do they learn it over time? In this blog post, we will explore if infants are scared of the darkness and what may cause this fear.
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Do Babies Get Scared at Night?
No, newborns are not born afraid of the dark. In fact, they don’t even have a concept of day and night. In the womb, it is dark and noisy, so babies are used to these conditions.
The fact is that babies can find the dark comforting and it will be much easier to settle them to sleep in a dark room. However, if there is a sudden noise or movement in the darkness, this can startle them and cause them to cry. So, it’s not the darkness itself that babies are afraid of, but rather the unknown.
Sleep training techniques often involve putting baby in a dark room with no distractions.
What Age Do Babies Get Scared of the Dark?
As children grow older, they become more aware of their surroundings and what goes on in the world around them. They learn about things that are dangerous and this can cause a toddler afraid of the dark. It is perfectly normal for children to be afraid of the dark at some point in their lives, its part of everyday life.
Normally by the time children develop imagination, they develop a fear of the dark. You can help your child overcome their fear by teaching them there is nothing to be afraid of and by helping them feel safe in the dark.
Why Is My Child Afraid of Dark?
There are many reasons why children may be afraid of the dark.
They Can’t See:
One of the most common reasons is that they simply cannot see. When its dark, their view is limited and things can appear more intense or foreboding than they actually are.
They Feel Helpless:
Another reason why children may be afraid of the dark is that they feel helpless. In the dark, they cant see what’s coming and may feel like they’re unable to defend themselves from potential danger.
They Hear Things:
Another reason children may be afraid of the dark is because they can hear things more clearly. In the dark, sounds are amplified and can be more startling than during the day.
The Dark Is Unknown:
Lastly, children may be afraid of the dark because it is simply unknown. During the day, they can see what’s around them and know what’s coming. But at night, the dark is a mystery and anything could be hiding in it.
How To Deal With Your Child’s Fear of Dark?
If your child is afraid of the dark, there are a few things you can do to help them feel more comfortable. Show them that you take your child’s fears seriously and you are there for help, whether it takes a few days, a few weeks or even a few years.
A child who has been perfectly happy in the dark before can be suddenly afraid, and this can be down to a number of reasons including separation anxiety (have they just started nursery or school).
Acknowledge the fear:
Let your child know that it’s okay to be afraid of the dark and that you understand how they feel. There are plenty of kids scared of the dark, its not unusual and you should let them know this.
Empathize with your child:
Try to put yourself in your child’s shoes and see things from their perspective. Imagine how you would feel if you were in their situation. Teach your child not to feel bad about this, help them to realize it’s fine to have anxiety or fears when going to bed, and you can help them to get through it.
Let your child know that you are there for them and that they are safe. Children’s rooms should be a place of safety and reassurance and it’s vital that you make them feel secure in their own space.
Add a nightlight:
You can also try to create a safe space for them by adding a nightlight to their room or leaving the door open so they can see outside. One thing you can do is to leave a nightlight on in their room so they can see that there is nothing lurking in the shadows.
- Ensure the night light is very dim and does not interfere with their need to fall asleep.
- Get one with a timer so it can turn off after a period
- We love this remote control night light which you can turn off if you hear your toddler waking up.
A nightlight can get rid of scary shadows and kids learn that they can see everything in their room, as their imagination runs wild, this can help curtail it. Even allowing the hall light to go in can help distinguish fantasy from fact and keep that dreaded three-headed beast away!
A dim night light is better than turning the lights on because it can provide a sense of security without interfering too much with a child’s sleep.
Try not to force your child to face their fear:
If your child is unwilling to face their fear, don’t force them to do so. This could make the situation worse and cause them to feel more scared.
Take things one step at a time:
If your child is willing to face their fear, take things one step at a time. For example, start by turning on the light for a few minutes before bedtime and gradually increase the amount of time as they feel more comfortable.
Encourage positive thinking:
Help your child to see the situation in a positive light. For example, you can tell them that the dark is just a time when we sleep and it’s nothing to be afraid of. Keeping your child’s mind occupied with happy thoughts will leave less room for negative thoughts to enter.
Talk about happy memories:
Remind your child of happy times they’ve had in the past, such as playing outside at night or camping under the stars. A child’s bedroom is a great place to unwind with them and talk to them about good memories and how they are feeling.
Offer a security object:
If your child is still feeling scared, you can offer them a security object to help them feel safe. This could be a stuffed animal, blanket, or even just your hand to hold. A child psychiatry specialist says having these objects can help a child to feel more secure.
At What Age Should a Child Stop Being Afraid of the Dark?
Some children are afraid of the dark until they’re quite old. My son, for instance, was scared of the dark until he was about eight years old. I remember one night when he was four years old and I had to sleep in his room because he was so terrified of the darkness.
There’s nothing wrong with being afraid of the dark. It’s a natural, normal fear. And it’s one that usually goes away as we get older and become more comfortable with the idea of darkness.
So if your child is still afraid of the dark, don’t worry. It’s probably just a phase that will pass in time. In the meantime, you can try using a night light or leaving the door open a crack so that some light can come into the room. And if your child is really struggling with their fear, you can always talk to your certified sleep consultant or your family therapist about it. They may be able to offer some additional advice or resources.
The Bottom Line on Kids’ Fear of the Dark
Having a fear of the dark is a normal part of childhood. You just need to help your child have coping mechanisms so that when the light switches turn off and the dark hits home, it doesn’t turn scary for them.
Most children grow out of the fear of the dark corner but ther is no magic wand. If your child does feel insecure, then whether they are toddlers or older children, help them to realise that you are there for them, they can feel secure in their room and in reality, there are no monsters just a loving mother or father to protect them.
And when all else fails and your child is still struggling, seek professional help. A therapist can help them to understand and process their fears in a healthy way. So if your child is afraid of the dark, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. It could make all the difference in their life.