Scared of the dark(3 Posts)
My DS is just 3 and has recently become scared of his room in the dark. He woke up a few mornings ago from a bad dream I think and was very upset and scared. He has talked of not wanting his bed to be dark ever since and has been upset and worried at bedtime and waking up that way too.
I bought him a cuddly toy that glows hoping this would help. The first night it helped him to settle quite well. He was still worried and kept calling out for me but I didn't have to stay with him. The 2nd night with this toy we stayed over at his grandpas house. Surprisingly he slept in a strange room in a travel cot really well and was mostly happy. Tonight he is back in his own room and was really upset again at bedtime. Talking again of not wanting his bed to be dark. His room is fairly well lit up from the hallway light and he had his cuddly toy lit up. So it's not the dark as such that's the problem - it seems to be something about his bed being the dark.
We were planning to change him into his big boy bed soon, as he still has the sides up on his cotbed, so do wonder whether to try this now in an attempt to break the way he has started to feel about his bed.
Anyway this is all new to me and was wondering if others who had been through this had any tips on how to help him past this? Did it last long with your child? I find it really sad as he's always been so happy and good at bedtime often singing himself to sleep.
This happened to DS1 when he was not much over 3. I think its a developmental thing, they just reach a point where they can imagine scary things in the dark.
The way we got over it was weeks of lying down beside his bed until he was properly asleep, we gave him a torch and dug out the old star projector from when he was a baby. The torch gave him control.
Also by not playing into his fear with but making everything very matter of fact worked as DS1 is a very literal boy, he is reassured by us behaving normally, answering questions about nighttime and bedtime and the dark with straight uncomplicated plain answers.
I think its just time and reassurance and not pandering to the scaredness but making it just normal.
Something developmentally must happen at this age. My three children who are over 3 years went through exactly the same scared of the dark phase at the same age. They all continue to refuse to sleep in complete darkness (ages 10, 9 and 5) even though they did as babies and toddlers.
We installed dimmer switches in all bedrooms (a few quid from B&Q and easy to install). They now sleep with their main light on, but dimmed right down.
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