Fear of the Dark

Has your child suddenly developed a fear of the dark? Is she refusing to sleep at night without a light on?

Fear of the dark is common, particularly for toddlers still having trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality.

Thinking about something that may have scared them—a story, the dog down the street, a costumed character—while lying in bed in the dark can cause a little panic.

Here’s how to help your child cope:
  • Don’t tease your child or dismiss her fears.
  • Don’t show frustration or annoyance, even if this has happened several nights in a row.
  • Designate a doll or favorite stuffed animal as his guard or “protector” (you can even tell stories during the day in which that “protector” watches over others).
  • Invest in a night light, or leave a hallway light on with her bedroom door partially open.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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