Is a child afraid of the dark because they are timid? What can we do? - abyssglow

Is a child afraid of the dark because they are timid? What can we do?

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Many parents may have had these experiences: even though the child has a separate bed from the adults, every night they insist on having mom and dad accompany them to sleep. They cannot be left alone before falling asleep, and they refuse to have the lights turned off. Some children wake up in the middle of the night and start crying when they see the darkness around them, insisting on having a light on to feel secure.

Is a child afraid of the dark because they are timid?

The answer is no!

Why are children afraid of the dark?

Renowned Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget proposed the concept of animism in psychology. Animism refers to the psychological tendency of children to perceive everything as having life and meaning. This mentality can instill unknown fears in children. Piaget, through years of research, discovered that children aged 2-6 generally exhibit this unique psychological phenomenon, which is the fundamental reason why children are afraid of the dark.

Furthermore, children in the 2-6 age group are in the early stages of developing their understanding of the world. They have rich imaginations, tend to be fanciful, but often struggle to differentiate between reality and imagination. They may believe that the events in picture books or cartoons could happen in real life, and they might imagine a scary monster appearing in reality, hiding in the darkness. This is another reason why children are afraid of the dark.

Fear of the dark also stems from a child's perception of the uncertainty of their safety, representing a natural instinct for self-protection.

To help children overcome their fear of the dark, the best approach is to confront it, conquer it, and embrace it.

So, what should be done when a child is afraid of the dark?

Accepting the child's fears, listening to their inner world

Firstly, we need to acknowledge and accept the child's feelings of fear, listen to their inner world, let the child describe their fears, release emotions, and follow the child's emotions to identify the reasons for their fear.

Parents should figure out what exactly is making the child feel afraid. Let the child describe the reasons for their fear, and provide comfort and targeted psychological guidance based on the child's emotions.

When a child is afraid, it is crucial not to say negative things like "There's nothing to be afraid of" or "You're really timid." Using such language that denies the child's feelings will not make them brave. Instead, it may cause the child to become silent, stop communicating their feelings to parents, impact their psychological well-being, and in severe cases, lead to anxiety or depression.

The fear of the dark is a common experience in many children's growth processes, and what parents should do is help and accompany them through it.

Create a reassuring sleep environment for the child, providing a sense of security

Long-term sleeping with the lights on can have an impact on a child's body. So, for parents who want to avoid having their child sleep with the lights on while helping them overcome the fear of darkness, consider trying a nightlight or motion sensor night light. Place the nightlight on a table or the motion sensor night light under the bed, using a faint light to dispel the darkness. This not only provides a sense of security for the child but also doesn't negatively affect their health.

In addition, parents can offer a comfort object to the child. For example, if the child likes Ultraman and sees Ultraman as a powerful hero, parents can let the child sleep with Ultraman and reassure them that Ultraman will scare away monsters. Such a comfort object can enhance the child's sense of security.

Face the darkness together with your child and explore the fun of darkness.

Parents can take their children camping, listen to the sounds of nature, gaze at the sparkling stars in the sky, and perhaps even discover the faintly glowing fireflies. Parents can hold their children, tell them interesting stories, and create warm parent-child moments. Through such experiences, children can realize that darkness not only brings the unknown and fear but also many wonderful, beautiful, and joyful feelings.

The fear of darkness in children is a tug-of-war that requires patience and encouragement from parents. Before bedtime, parents can tell their children stories, trying methods from books such as having a room with a hint of mint fragrance, maintaining a clean and tidy bedroom, playing soft music, having the company of a stuffed animal, and ending the night with a goodnight kiss. With repeated reassurances of safety, will the child still be afraid?

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