While he was falling asleep without problems, your child refuses to go to bed at night because he is afraid of the dark. How to react and help him overcome this normal stage of his development? Anne Bacus, clinical psychologist, talks about this universal anxiety.
How is the fear of the dark?
- This fear arises suddenly, around 3 years in practically all children. Your toddler may not be showing it that clearly, but overnight, he's asking you to leave the door open or not to turn off the light in the hallway while he was falling asleep without any problem.
- This fear will disappear a few years later as suddenly as it arrived.
Why is he afraid of darkness?
- Black is synonymous with danger because in the dark, you lose your bearings and anything can happen. It is now manifested in your child because he is at a very rich age psychologically with lots of emotions that he does not always understand and an imaginary that just waiting to get carried away. The shadows, the noises in the house and even the silence, stimulate his imagination, especially if you read him stories rich in twists and turns.
- But rest assured, these are not the stories that create her fear of the dark, they simply help her to formalize and name her. His fear of darkness that he has trouble understanding then becomes "fear of ghosts" or "fear of wolves".
How to reassure my child?
- Take his fear seriously and do not make fun of him by telling him that he is no longer a baby. Help him overcome it and control it.
- For him to fall asleep without fear, put a night light in his room or a bedside lamp that he can light as he wishes. You can also leave the light on in the hallway for a stream of light to pass through your room.
- Around age 3-4, if he's afraid to pee alone at night, leave a pot in his room to make it easier for him. If he is a bit taller, show him where the switches are to the bathroom and leave him a flashlight if needed.