My girl has developed a fear of the dark at age 5. I remember being afraid of the dark too as a child. I remember mum would get my older brothers and sisters to pretend to be animals mewing in the dark to "accompany" me and make me laugh. I would also insist that she waited till I slept before she did.
Recently my girl has been insisting that she sleep in a lit room. "I don't want to sleep in that room. The bed moves. The bed moves when its dark." she says.
"No, the bed doesn't move. There's nothing to be afraid of. You're a big girl now. There's nothing to be afraid of. Mummy is here." These were some of the things I told her and they haven't helped much because they are the wrong things to say according to some articles I've read. She would rather go and sleep alone in a brighter room than sleep together with me in a dark one. Her fear is real but I don't know how to help her overcome it.
I like this excerpt from askdrsears.com article on 7 ways to help your child handle fear.
" Acknowledge your child's fears in order to help her work through them. Strike a balance. Don't ignore the fears, but don't get over-involved in them either, or your child will play up the fear to get your attention. "
That makes sense. I am worried she will play up the fear because sometimes she is "rewarded" with being able to sleep with daddy in the brighter room instead of sleeping with baby in the darker one because of this fear. Its really hard to strike a balance. Guess I will try to implement some of the suggestions offered in the article and report back here if there is any improvement.
In the meantime here are some other article links that will be helpful to other parents facing the same "fear of the dark" issue:
- Fear of the Dark: Conquering those nighttime anxiety from Canadian Parents.com
- Parenting the Preschooler - Helping your child Overcome Fears by Joan E. LeFebvre
- Comforting your Fearful Preschooler by Dr Caron B. Goode
- 7 ways to help your child handle fear from AskDrSears.com