Young children live in their own imaginative world. Random things that might not have any significance for grownups might make them happy or scare them. Young children are generally scared of random things.
But most of all the list of things that children are afraid of tends to increase at night. Most of the children are afraid of the dark and they tend to dread going to bed alone at night. It is quite common for all the children to have some or the other form of nighttime fears at some point of their childhood.
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Sometimes children are so afraid of the dark that they do not even want to go to bed and they also try to avoid falling asleep. This they do so that the things that they are most scared about do not appear in front of them. Some of the things that scare the child at night are discussed as follows:
1. Darkness itself
When it comes to darkness, even grownups have their own fears. So, it isn’t surprising that the darkness tends to scare small children. One of the biggest fears that the children have of nights is the Darkness itself.
Children are very scared of anything that they can’t see and darkness tends to hide everything. So, whenever it is dark and young children can’t see anything they tend to get scared and worried. They try to avoid darkness as much as they can and even prefer to sleep with a light on to keep it away.
Some children are also scared of the shadows of various things. This is so because shadows are of different shapes and sizes and they look different from the things whose shadow they are. Sudden shadows when visible look really scary.
Children get really afraid on seeing them. They don’t know what they are. Sometimes these shadows are big sometimes they are small. They make the children feel fearful. They don’t know how to remove them so they try to run away from these shadows and cannot understand if and when these shadows follow them.
3. Monsters under the bed or almirah
Children have a very vivid imagination. They can think of different things being at different places especially in the ones where they can’t see. So, they create their own stories.
Children often think that there are monsters hidden under their bed or in almirah. They also think that these monsters will come to eat them the moment they fall asleep at night. This is the reason they always want their elders to check all their hidden corners before they go to bed.
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4. Evil characters from their storybooks
Children love reading storybooks. But, each story has a good and bad character. All these characters inspire them. They learn good things from these characters and tend to get inspired from them.
However, in all the storybooks there are characters that are bad and do horrible things. These characters are generally negatively inclined and tend to scare the children. They do not understand how can someone do such bad things and also begin to think that what if these evil characters come out of their story and harm them.
5. Nightmares about rude teacher or people
Sometimes there are certain people or teachers in a child’s life that scare him with their behaviour. They could be strict or talk and interact in a rude manner with the child. This might scare the child and he might have nightmares about it at night.
Due to these nightmares the child might not be able to sleep peacefully at nights. He might be dreading meeting that person the very next day and at night times all his fears would come true. So, it is another major things of which a child is scared at night.
6. Being left alone
A major fear of every child at night is being left alone. Young children are by default afraid of staying alone. They think that when they are alone then something bad might happen to them. This fear tends to increase manifold when they are left alone, at nights.
So, they try to avoid as much as they can from being alone at nights. They try to do everything possible so that some or the other family member stays with them during the night.
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7. Waking up and finding oneself in a different place
A big fear that a young child tends to have is that he might sleep in his own bed and home one night and wake up in an entirely different place. Every child has this hidden fear that what if he loses his room and wakes up in a place that is alien to him.
This fear, at times, even stops the child from going to sleep. He thinks that if he doesn’t sleep, then no harm will fall on him and nobody will take his home and comfort from him.
8. Sleeping alone in an empty room
An empty room is one of the biggest fears that a child has and faces every night. Every child wants to have a company when he goes to bed at night. He thinks that if he sleeps alone in a room then some or the other harm might befall him.
So, he tries to make many excuses in order to avoid sleeping alone at night in an empty room. He also thinks that if there is someone in his room at night then he will be safe from all harm.
9. Horror stories being told by a friend or family member
Sometimes, friends or family members while having fun tend to tell horror stories to each other. These stories, while might be fun for grownups, mostly tend to scare young children.
They might not say so, for the fear of being made fun of but when night befalls these stories come back to haunt or scare them. They think that the characters of those horror stories will come and harm them in some or the other way. It makes them afraid of each sound or shadow they see or also prevent them from sleeping alone in their own room.
10. Scary television shows
Sometimes certain cartoon characters are quite scary but children love to watch them. However, at nights when they tend to remember those cartoons then they get scared and afraid. They remember the whole scenes and get afraid in the manner that it happens.
They, at times, do not share the same with their parents or family members thinking that they might believe that the child is not strong enough. This leads them to face this scare alone, which gets heightened at night.
11. Physical distance from his parents
Every child has this major fear. It is to be physically distant from their parents. This fear is especially paramount when the night comes. Children want to stay with their parents at night. They want the warmth and comfort of their parents’ arms as they believe that no harm can befall them when they are with their parents.
However, when the children are asked to sleep in their own rooms then the physical distance from their parents becomes a major scare for them. They become very afraid on being asked to be physically distant from their parents.
How to Help Your Child Not be Scared at Night?
There are many ways in which parents can help their child not be scared at nights. However, the fastest and the quickest way is to try to resolve their night-time scares. Until and unless the child overcomes his night fear, his night time problems will not go away.
This can be done by doing and implementing the following things:
- Set proper lightening in their child’s room so that there is no darkness or shadows lurking.
- Interact with the child and tell them that they have to be brave and cannot be scared of any random noise, thing or shadow that they might see at night.
- Shift your child’s attention elsewhere if your child is getting scared of any particular thing.
- If your child starts having nightmares then keep a constant tab on him to check if he is sleeping fine, in the middle of the night.
- Slowly, ask your child to shift in his own room, over a period of time not suddenly in just a day. Make this transition in a slow manner.
If parents follow these points then they will be instrumental in making their child confident and removing all his night-time scares.
Night time fears are a common occurrence in children as well as some adults. But, while adults tend to hide or overcome their fears, children are unable to do so. They need certain assistance or help to overcome their night scares. They at times also need a person who will understand their fear and will help them overcome it.
They need their friend or family members to comfort them, to give them gentle support, and guide them towards how they can win over their nighttime scares. This is where parents’ rational and calm parenting and guidance comes into the picture. They should be patient and kind with their children while teaching them how to overcome their night fears.
They can do so by doing certain fun things with their children. In order to find out what fun activities to do with your child at night, read our article Fun Activities to Do with Your Child at Night.