My Child Is Afraid of the Dark

I was talking with a friend today at work.  She shared that she was tired from lack of sleep.  I sympathized with her as I listened, also suffering from lack of sleep.   My sympathy changed to confusion when she shared the reason that she stays up late-she sits with her son until he falls asleep every night because her son is afraid of the dark.  My daughter was afraid of the dark when she was young.  However, I slept soundly.  Each night, after reading to my daughter and kissing her goodnight, I left the light on as I left the room.   My daughter fell asleep without issue.  After she was sound asleep, I turned off her bedroom light.  My daughter grew out of her fear of the dark.  Not sure how long it took before she slept comfortably with the light off, but I can tell you that I did not lose any sleep while the transformation took place.  I shared my experience with my work friend.  A few days after we talked I saw her in the hall again.  She looked well rested.  I asked her about her son’s issue.  Her son was sleeping soundly with the light on.   I doubt that many parents stay up with their children to protect them from the boogie man but I thought perhaps this post may help one sleep-deprived parent out there. 

If your child has trouble sleeping in the dark because of fear and can’t sleep with the light on because the room is too bright, use a lighting system that allows you to dim the lights.  If the lights are bright the brain may be sending a signal to the body telling it to get up.  Dimming the lights will help avoid the brain sending the wrong signal when you want your child to sleep.  One more thing to consider if your child is afraid of the dark. Your child’s fear may not be of the dark but the fear my be a symptom of an emotional issue that your child faces. Is there a new challenge in your child’s life. Are the parents arguing? Is there a bully at the daycare? Talk with your child to see if you can determine if the fear of the dark is something else.

My friend at work no longer lies in the bed with her son waiting for her son to fall asleep.  However, I am still sleep-deprived.

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