Skip to content
Night time park scene

Dr Rebecca Chicot's Six Tips for Conquering a Fear of the Dark

How to Help Your Child Conquer a Fear of the Dark

By Dr Rebecca Chicot

Fear of the dark is very common in both adults and children. It likely survived an evolutionary purpose, helping in the survival of our shared ancestors as they needed to be cautious and wary of their surroundings when they couldn't see easily.

If your child is scared of the dark, it’s good to remember that this is an instinctive fear that can increase as a child’s imagination develops. Your understanding, empathy, and patience will help your child to cope with this common anxiety.

These 6 simple strategies can create a sense of safety for your child when they have to deal with the darkness at night-time:

  • First, let your child know that it's okay to be scared of the dark and that lots of children and even sometimes grown-ups can be a bit scared when it’s really dark. Knowing that their fears are not unusual will help them feel more at ease.
  • Encourage your child to talk about how they feel and reassure them that you are there or nearby to support and protect them.
  • Fear of the dark often occurs when the lights go out in the home so it is helpful to create a comforting bedtime routine. Activities that promote feelings of security and comfort include reading a happy bedtime story, singing lullabies, or cuddling together with a favourite soft toy that stays with your child at night.

 

Dr Rebecca Chicot

Dr Rebecca Chicot

Knowing that their fears are not unusual will help them feel more at ease.

  • A night-light can be reassuring for some children who fear the dark as the light provides a soft and gentle glow.
  • Making their bedroom a safe and comfortable space: shut wardrobe doors, put away masks or anything that could be seen as a bit scary and cut back any outside branches that might loom or scratch a window.
  • Remind your child of how safe they are, such as by reminding them that doors are locked or that there are no dinosaurs in the world.
Dr Rebecca Chicot

Dr Rebecca Chicot

Fear of the dark often occurs when the lights go out in the home so it is helpful to create a comforting bedtime routine.

Download a printable version

About the author

Dr Rebecca Chicot is one of the founders of https://essentialparent.com/https://essentialparent.com/ a digital child health and development platform that works with the NHS and Local Authority Early Years Teams across the UK to deliver digital parent packs of evidenced based videos and information direct to a parent’s smartphone.

She has a doctorate in child development and parenting from Cambridge University and is the author of The Calm and Happy Toddler: Gentle Solutions to Tantrums, Night Waking, Potty Training and More.

Dr Rebecca Chicot, Child development author 

Related content

Toddler tips family resources banner

Toddler Tips

Read more
Episode 68 thumbnail image

Dark

Read more
bedtime routine teaser

Creating a relaxed bedtime routine

Read more
Bing Bedtime Stories with JB Gill

Bedtime story with JB Gill

Watch Icon
Read more
Bing and Coco sleepover

How to handle the clocks going back

Read more
Hoppity Voosh and the Moonkeeper story image

Hoppity Voosh and the Moonkeeper

Watch Icon
Read more
Bings Bedtime Routine Chart activity image

Bing's Bedtime Routine Chart

Play Icon
Read more
Bing Books

Books & Stationery

Shop
Read more
Bing-and-Pando-Bedtime-Colouring-Sheet activity image

Bing and Pando Bedtime Colouring Sheet

Play Icon
Read more
Find Hoppity

Find Hoppity

Play Icon
Read more
Brush your teeth with Bing

Brush your teeth with Bing!

Play Icon
Read more