When your child is afraid of the dark, bedtime can be an issue night after night. It may be exceedingly difficult to get your child settled down and ready to sleep, and he or she may have outbursts throughout the night. This issue can extend into the daytime, too — a child who doesn't sleep well can be tired and cranky day after day. It's worthwhile to schedule an appointment with your child's pediatrician if your child is having trouble getting over his or her fear of the dark. Before the appointment comes, here are some steps that you might wish to take.
Hear Out The Child's Concerns
It can be easy for parents to simply tell the child that there's nothing to be afraid of in the dark. While this is true, it can be hard for children to hear this message. You can make this situation better for your child simply by allowing your child to voice his or her concerns — and actually listening to them. Remember, children like to be heard, just as you did when you were your child's age. Sometimes, allowing your child to voice out his or her concerns, and then openly discussing them with him or her, may help.
Try A Different Sleeping Arrangement
There are many different ways that you can change your child's sleeping arrangement to help this issue. A simple adjustment is to provide a nightlight. Instead of getting a generic one, look for something fun that your child will find comforting. For example, you can often get nightlights that depict your child's favorite cartoon character. In more serious cases, you might want to think about having your child fall asleep with you in your room. When he or she is sleeping soundly, you can take the child to his or her bed.
Change Pre-Bedtime Habits
Give some thought to your child's habits before bedtime. In some cases, what the child does during this timeframe may get him or her feeling unsettled. For example, many children's books have villains or monsters — not exactly ideal pre-bed reading material for a child who is afraid of the dark. Some parents allow children to watch a bit of television in the evening, but scary shows can make bedtime a challenge. Evaluating this situation and making some necessary changes can be effective. Your child's pediatrician can further be an asset in helping you, and your child get through this situation.
Contact a company like Kitsap Children's Clinic LLP for more information and assistance.