Are you afraid of the dark? It's a question asked countless times to people of all ages, but for many children, the answer is a resounding yes. Some amount of fear of the dark is hardwired into the human brain, but this phobia can become extreme in children to the point of disrupting sleep patterns. At 5 Little Monkeys, we've encountered this fear as parents ourselves – and if your little one is having trouble dealing with a fear of the dark, these tips can help.
How to Calm Your Child's Fear of the Dark
While some kids are fearless sleepers, others struggle with fear of the dark that can border on extreme. If your child is scared of the dark and it's starting to impact their sleep, here are a few tips to help calm that fear and set them on the path to sleeping soundly, even in the dark:
- Always Validate Feelings: It may sound counterintuitive, but the first step when your child tells you they're scared of the dark is always to validate their fear. Make clear that you understand that they are scared and that it's a perfectly normal fear to have. Before beginning to address the fear, it's important that your child feels heard.
- Explain That Imagination Can Trick Us: Many children develop a fear of the dark as a result of their imagination developing for the first time, so they may not even realize their fear is just imagination! Explain that the dark is only scary because we can't see, and our imagination sometimes tricks us into worrying about something that isn't there.
- Give Them an Accessible Light: Make sure your child has a dim light in their room they can turn on, and explain that when they feel scared, they can turn on the light and see that it was only their imagination. This may not be a permanent solution, but it can help to calm fears over time.
Try a Better Children's Mattress
Kids being scared of the dark is a tale as old as time, but these tips can help you rewrite it and calm your child's fear of the dark. Another important consideration is your child's overall sleep health and hygiene, and their children's mattress is a major part of that. At 5 Little Monkeys, we've worked hard to design a world-class kid's mattress from the ground up, and we're proud to say it's received rave reviews from parents everywhere. Want to see the difference that better sleep can make? Try the best mattress for kids today!