How to Overcome Fear of the Dark in Kids

    How to Overcome Fear

    Very often kid’s fear of darkness causes troubles falling asleep. So, how to overcome fear of the dark easily and funny? The following merry games will help your little one to forget about his fears and to sleep soundly.

    1. Animals in the hole

    With the lights on, lie in bed with your toddler, cover yourselves with a blanket and say something like this: “You and me are little squirrels and we are lying in our warm cozy hole. It’s cold and dark outside, it’s raining and the wind is howling, but our burrow is always snug and warm, and quiet. No one will come here, we won’t let anyone come in. Our burrow has thick walls and we are afraid of no one.” Let your voice be soft and lulling as you speak, so to let your kid relax and fall asleep gradually. In the morning, you can play a big bad wolf who tried to get into the hole (offer your kid to be the wolf) but animals chased him away. Don’t play this part of the game so that your kid doesn’t get too excited.

    2. Beavers

    A hunter tries to catch a beaver (or beavers, if there are several kids). The beaver hides under the table covered with a cloth hanging down to the floor and stays there until he makes sure that the hunter went away and he can get out of his hideout. Try to gradually increase the time your kid spends in darkness. For example, the hunter can say that he will look for the beavers in a neighboring forest (that is, you walk away to another room and then come back). Help your kid take a more active part in the game: let the beaver not just hide but also think of the ways to defend his home.

    3. Who’s hiding in the dark?

    This is a more active game, especially if several kids take part in it. One of the children (let him use his own name) lies on the bed or on two chairs moved together and pretends he falls asleep. At first you can just pretend you turn off the lights but later you can actually do that. All of a sudden the sleeping kid notices a hairy monster! He trembles and wants to cry for his mom to come but then he summons up courage, gets up, turns on the light… and sees that this hairy monster is really a sweet fluffy kitten (which can be a toy or another kid).

    You can make this game a little bit more complex for older kids. Let your kid try to tell what he saw in the dark using gestures only, and let the other kids try guessing what it was (later you can change the game and let your kid name the first and the last letters of the word that the others will try to guess). The one who guesses right gets the bonus points.

    4. In a dark hole

    Two friends, a Duckling and a Bunny, go for a walk. They meet a Fox on their way. She lured them into a dark burrow by promising to give them a treat. When the little friends came to visit the Fox, she opened the door to the burrow and said they should go first.

    But when the Duckling and the Bunny stepped over the threshold, the Fox locked the door quickly behind them and laughed: “Ha-ha-ha! I’ve tricked you so easily. I’ll go get some wood now to make a fire to heat some water and cook you little ones in it. Now this would be a treat!” The Bunny and the Duckling heard the Fox and understood they got into a trap. The Duckling started weeping and calling out for his mom, but the Bunny wasn’t weeping; he was thinking. And at long last, he suggested they should dig a hole to get out of the burrow. They started digging, and soon they saw a small eyehole. Gradually an eyehole was growing bigger until it got big enough for them to get out! The Duckling and the Bunny hugged each other and ran back home together happily. When the Fox came back to her burrow bringing some wood she was really surprised: there was no one there!

    A burrow can be any room with no natural lighting in it (a corridor, a closet or a pantry, for example). Kids will “dig” their hole by scraping a door with their fingers. After some time, you will start opening the door slowly.

    If your kid doesn’t have a partner let him either play both characters (tell him it’s even more interesting this way: he’ll be able to try to speak in different voices or to take a soft toy for a partner) or to play one of them.

    5. Hide-and-seek for toys

    Now you hide toys, not kids. You hide some of them in a well-lighted room and others in a dark one (this can be a room with windows screened by thick curtains if it’s daytime or a room with a night-light if it’s night). The kid gets more bonus points for the toy found in a dark place than for the one found in a lighted room. You can help your kid at the start by “hiding” toys where they can be well seen.

    6. A brave scout

    This game can be played by a group of kids or you can just play it together with your kid. If you want to make this game more interesting, just make this scout scene a part of a bigger war game. At some point, your kid (let him use his own name again) will receive a task to scout a territory at night. Put some “enemy weapons” in a dark place. The kid has to count all the weapons and then come back and tell his captain what he has found. The captain will award him with a medal for his bravery.

    These are just several games you can play together but if you are creative enough you can think of numerous ways to play with your kid so that your little one never gets bored and gets rid of his fears in this fun way.

    What did you do to stop your kids from being afraid of darkness? What kind of games did you play? Please share your ideas with us!


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