In the toddler years, the nights start to feel spooky. Your child is more likely to be frightened by monsters under the bed, the dark and just being alone in their own room.
As a baby as long as they are fed, nappy changed and can sense you are around they are not so bothered where they sleep. You as parents are the ones that need the light to be right and be sure that they are safe.
Once they hit the toddler year and you have moved them into their own room things can begin to change. It can be hard for them to shut off their imagination when you have immersed them into fantasy play throughout the day. They are still learning to distinguish fantasy and reality so the monster under the bed is quite real.
If you find bedtime a complete nightmare, no pun intended, then these tips to help your child settle and cope with being in the dark alone could be useful.
Tips to help them not be so scared of the dark
Watch or read stories that are happy – so many stories can have unhappy endings and even some fairy tales are quite dark.
Have a peaceful bedtime routine – loud noises and bright flashing light are not going to ease your child into slumber mode. A bath is much more relaxing.
A nightlight for their room gives them a not so dark place to be – there are also many toys that have lights in them that they can press if they wake up in the dark.
Objects in the room that cause naughty shadow – it’s worth taking a moment to look at your child’s room from their point of view and see if there is anything that can be rearranged to not look so scary.
Leave the bedroom door ajar – it lets enough light in if the hall light is on.
Remember your own childhood fears – it’s easy to forget what it was like being a child and the things you might have been afraid of. Have a chat with your parents and they might remind you what you were like at that age.
Teach them to self-calm – it’s important for them to know that mummy and daddy are downstairs. Take the time to listen together to the sounds of the house such as the heating coming on or even sounds outside can be reassurance enough.