At some point during your Parenting journey, there’s a really good chance you’ll experience a familiar moment.
You just finish a long day of washing dishes, playing tag in the back yard, and fixing bowls of goldfish crackers and you finally get to that “finish line” where the kids are in bed and you can relax.
Just when you take a deep sigh and begin to relax, your sweet baby comes out of their room in tears. And it’s those “real tears” not the ones they use when they’re just trying to get something.
They are scared of the dark. They’re terrified to stay in their room, and they’ve come to you for help.
What do you do?
Well here are 3 things you can do right away to help your child.
First, Try to discover the cause of the problem.
There are many reasons a child can be afraid of the dark. Here are a few… You might have a child who’s blessed with an active imagination, but in this case it’s kind of a curse because they are turning shadows into monsters in their room. You also might have a child who’s struggling with separation anxiety. They hate being away from you, and their fear of the dark is more likely a fear of being alone. They also might have seen something on television that scared them, and their having trouble getting the image out of their head.
There are many reasons for having a fear of the dark, but with just a few intentional questions you might be able to discover the cause. That will really help you work towards a solution.
Second, Pray with your child.
This is where our faith can make a huge difference in the life of our child. Instead of just telling them to “think happy thoughts” and go to bed. We can talk to the creator of the universe on their behalf. Pray things like, “God, you set the stars in their place and you are the strongest one in the Universe. Would you please comfort my child and watch over them as they sleep.” The very cool truth is that God was already doing just that, but when your child hears you pray this truth they can be reminded that God doesn’t sleep, and He is with them.
Third, Offer them a small light of some kind.
You may disagree with me here, but I personally believe that “night lights” are awesome. To give your child just a small bit of light that pierces the darkness in their room has the potential to solve the problem right away. If the “night light” works for your child, then I say go for it! It will help them adjust to sleeping in the dark, and eventually they probably won’t even need it. A night light just gives them some comfort to work through this fear over time.
The most important response we can have as Parents who’s kids are scared of the dark is to just “Be there”. Don’t make your child feel silly for having a very normal fear, and make sure they know that they are not alone in facing that fear. You can face the fear together!