My kid is afraid of the dark
All kids are afraid of it. Explanations and advice.
Rare are the persons who avoided it : between 2 and 5, darkness terrorises.
But why ? and how to react ?
It is actually very simple: darkness is synonym of danger for your kid and, contrary to adults, your child cannot rationalise and be sure he is safe.
In the dark, he loses his bearings and has no control over his environment. Yet, this is precisely the age when your kid’s imagination develops as well as many emotions he has a hard time understanding and controlling. As a result, your kid’s imagination plays him tricks and he thinks he is in danger, surrounded by monsters or wolves.
This fear of the dark will disappear with time if you have the right reflexes.
First, you need to accept your child’s fear and make him feel you do not deny the existence of his fear. Talking with him about his fears, their origins, their unlikeliness and, above all, reassuring him will help him gain confidence.
Then you will have to accept not to leave him in the dark. Indeed, you could think it would get him used to it, but you would just be accentuating his fear.
Buy him a small light or leave the door open with the light on outside. This way he will be able to see for himself he is safe and there are no dangers around. In no way should you leave his light on though! It would give him a bad habit and would not help him conquer his fear.
It would also help to read him positive stories before going to sleep, reminding him of how strong, intelligent and big he is, and to check with him there are no monsters or wolves under the bed, in the closet etc.
Finally, do not ever allow him to sleep with you in your bed. It would give him the impression his fear is justified (if mom and dad agree to let me sleep with them then there is a monster for sure) and he would get even more frightened.