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.
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.
Dd (4) got a really funky glow light torch thing ma Bob for Xmas. It automatically turns on with movement. They can put it on the side once they have finished using it as a torch and it becomes a night light. (Glows more than a light)
It turns itself off after 2 minutes.
We also went on a nighttime adventure one night with the lights off and used a torch showing dd that everything was still the same even in the dark