How to Calm Kids Scared of the Dark

Does your Mini have a fear of the Boogeyman? Do they talk about a monster under their bed? Or are they just scared of being alone at bedtime? A fear of the dark can develop at any age, although its most popular among kids ages two to three. This fear of the dark can continue on throughout the preschool years and while it can range in severity, some children simply find themselves more scared than others for the following reasons:

Genetic Susceptibility

Some children are just generally more sensitive and emotional in regards to personality and temperament.

Anxious Parents

Are you an anxious person yourself? Unfortunately, this can have an effect on your little ones. Anxious kids typically absorb behaviors from watching their own parents.

Overprotective Parenting

If you describe yourself as a “Helicopter Parent,” or are known to be a little overprotective, your children might be more likely to feel helpless or nervous holding their own (especially at night, in the dark). 

Life Events

Big events like a move, injury, new baby, divorce, or short separation from one’s parents (a stay at the grandparents, for example) can make your Minis a little more fearful of turning off the lights.

Just remember, it is not uncommon for kids to be scared of the dark and in fact, just a few easy steps could help cure them of their lights-out fright altogether! 


Morgan Pansing for Mini Magazine

Listen to them

The first step in calming a fear of the dark is to identify what it is that truly scares them. Listen to your child and don’t make fun or dismiss their fears. It may sound silly to you, but it’s important to acknowledge that you’re really hearing their concerns.

Don’t hunt the Boogeyman

Saying things like “I’ll catch the monster!” or “I got rid of the Boogeyman” tells your Minis that the creature was real.

Identify the noises

If it’s strange sounds at night that frighten your kids, sit with them and identify each one so they know the next time they hear them, “Oh, that was just the heat turning on.”

Reassure them

It is key to reassure your little ones that you are there to keep them safe and are always nearby. If that means checking under the bed or taking a sweep of the closet, then so be it.

Avoid scary movies and games

Many times what scares kids at bedtime is something they picked up in a game, TV show or movie. Steer clear of such potentially grim imagery before bed.

Hillary Ungson for Mini Magazine

Add extra security

If a blanket or nightlight helps your Minis sleep better at night, be sensitive to that. You can also leave the door ajar, but just be sure to communicate to your kids that it is not OK to run into Mom and Dad’s room every five minutes.

Are or were your kids scared of the dark? How are you helping to calm their fears? 

You’ll also want to see How Blogger Hunter Premo Made Over Her Nursery Closet or read How Spring Cafe Founder Sabrina Rudin Approaches Clean Eating as a Family.

Opening Image: Vanessa Tierney for Mini Magazine