Comforting the ‘Fraidy-Cat’
Yet another important milestone has been reached in my household. My toddler is now officially afraid of the dark. Just because this fear is natural, doesn’t mean it’s an easy one to handle–for my toddler or me. It’s distressing to see your little one afraid–and maybe even more so to know that all the reassurance you provide isn’t quite enough to forever quash the fear–that it will likely resurface again tomorrow night. And once again, the bedtime routine will include combing the bedroom for monsters and “spooksie” things.
At this age, being afraid of the dark is said to be completely normal. The bittersweet part, though, is that this new fear signals that my toddler is growing up. He’s coming to better understand the world around him.
Beyond listening to my toddler and acknowledging his fears, I find it useful to pull out two secret weapons: a night light and a flashlight. Ensuring a night light is plugged in is part of the bedtime drill now, as is giving my toddler a flashlight to bring along into the bed–apparently a flashlight makes hiding under the covers more fun.
What tricks do you have up your sleeve for helping children conquer their fear of the dark?