My three year old recently started expressing that it was too dark in her room when I put her to bed. She never really had a fear of the dark until now. I thought it would be interesting to research how this fear even comes about and I found a great article on WebMD. They talk about how that the fear of the dark develops when they are old enough to have a sense of imagination.
“Usually, the fear of the dark hits home for kids around the ages of two or three, when they’re old enough to imagine, but not wise enough to distinguish fantasy from reality, Berman says. This gives the unknown an opportunity to turn scary. Add to that a blank slate of a young brain — with no distractions to preoccupy the mind — and a shadow in a dark corner of a child’s bedroom can easily become a three-headed beast.” - WebMD The article goes on to talk about the causes of this fear. They say that television is the one of the main contributors.
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“Television is one of the worst offenders when we’re talking about a fear of the dark, Berman says. Parents don’t recognize how much TV can affect their children. The sights and sounds on TV are too stimulating for their brains, she says, exposing kids to things that might not be scary for an adult but are terrifying for a child.”
I guess I never realized that even watching non-scary movies would attribute to my daughter’s fear of the dark. As parents, I think we forget that even if they are getting older, there are still aspects of life that we need to shield them from even if we think they are harmless.
As I continued to read the article it goes into ways to help your child conquer the fear of the dark. I am not going into each element, but the one tip that stood out to me was: ” Don’t Get Frustrated - Reassure your child that his fear of the dark is normal,” Dobbins says. “But don’t get frustrated just because you know what he’s afraid of doesn’t really exist. Don’t say this is stupid or belittle or tease. While the monsters may not be real, the fear is.” I think this is so important not to belittle your children. They look to you as a safe haven and if you ignore their fears, I think they will begin to look elsewhere for peace. And guess what, that is not happening in my house.
I encourage you to read the full length of this article on WebMD called Fear of the Dark. It is truly informative for every parent. My daughter is definitely going to conquer this fear the right way!
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