Son scared of dark at 3yo...HELP

Tami - posted on 10/18/2009 ( 20 moms have responded )

92

46

5

My son woke up 4 times one night flipping the light on. I couldn't understand, but he is now scared of the dark. We have tried EVERYTHING. Night lights, flashlights, etc... Nothing seems to work. He always gets out of bed and switches the light switch on 5 min after we leave the room. Our electric bill is sure to get expensive this month. I thought about taking the light bulb out, but that has to make things worse and more traumatic for him.

I have been reading up on 3 year olds and their imaginations run wild at this age (they can't tell between imagination/reality). I figure he is having scary nightmares. He says he is scared of a green fish in his wall every time, lately they are things he sees on t.v. like dragons and dinosaurs.

Can anyone relate? We are going to have a REALLY expensive winter if we cannot get that light turned off!

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

20 Comments

View replies by

Tami - posted on 10/23/2009

92

46

5

OK OK... So, I slept in his room and there was NOTHING to report. He slept with the light OFF all night with me in there. I am thinking about getting a brighter night light and taking out the light bulb. He is fine. No noises in the wall, nothing. Just an uncomfortable bed I slept on.

So, we ruled out anything WEIRD going on in the room. I did hear a fly on the window. LOL Aiden heard it too and said that was his friend BUG. Ewwww

[deleted account]

Remain calm in front of him. If he senses any stress or worry in you, it will make him worse. I'm sure with reassurances from both parents that this can quickly be resolved. If it is mice, just tell him that they are nice mice with micey children etc.. then when he's not around call in the exterminators. LOL

Tami - posted on 10/21/2009

92

46

5

Ok, ok... Now it is really worrying me... He got up in the middle of the night crying and rocking himself on the bed. My husband was the only one to hear it (SURPRISINGLY, LOL), so he took him into the room and he fell asleep and kept my husband up from snoring. He woke up later to find him crying in the bathroom/rocking himself again...

WHAT DO I DO? Do I take him to a doctor, or is this normal?
(My husband thinks he heard mice in the wall 2 nights ago...I plan to sleep in his room tonight to see what the heck is going on)... NOW, I am officially freaked out.

I just better not watch Ghost Hunters before I sleep in there. LOL, JK

Dionne - posted on 10/18/2009

4

8

0

I would say to take the light bulbs out, but he is only 3 years old!!!! I think it would be so cruel, like you said, he doesn't know the difference between reality and imagination. I have a 10 year old who was terrified of the dark when he was that age, and didn't grow out of it until he was about 7 or 8. Maybe you should have a talk with him to find out what else is bothering him. Maybe the shows he's watching on t.v during the day or the activities he does is coming back to haunt him. Also, try rewarding him or praising him for night he sleeps with a night light, until he can work his way to sleeping without any light... thats what helped with my son. Sometimes, problems could be resolved with just a simple solution that us parents would not have thought of in a million years. And also, what worked for one parent, might not work for all, which is why you should listen to your son- he might be the one to give you the best clue!

Stephanie - posted on 10/18/2009

7

38

1

Be strong but that is exactly what we did they will adjust to it. We have found that if we make concessions that they want more. We get no sleep and they rest easily, but we have to be able to function the next day with no nap!

Stephanie - posted on 10/18/2009

7

38

1

This year our then 5 year old went through something similar. It happened after 4th of July weekend the neighbors were shooting off fireworks. She just became terrified we were in the house watching television. For weeks we could not get any sleep she would cry all night and not want to sleep alone. Her father slept on the floor a couple of nights and we finally told her that she is safe in her own home. She has a night light in her room and she was no longer allowed to get up unless it was to go to the restroom. There was no other solution than tough love. It was hard for us but it worked. On occasion she will hear a noise and get up but, she will no go to sleep if the blinds or drapes are open before she goes to bed, just reinforce that he is safe in his own home, close the closet door and tell him no more getting up in the middle of the night!

Firebird - posted on 10/18/2009

2,660

30

521

something else just came to me.... "I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night" maybe you can try putting some glow in the dark stars and planets on his ceiling. Tell him the stars will protect him. That with a nightlight might help

Firebird - posted on 10/18/2009

2,660

30

521

I took out my daughter's light bulb. She had a large nightlight, battery operated that stuck to the wall or could be set down on a table.... I think it had Dora and Diego on it...

Hanna - posted on 10/18/2009

585

9

56

I would go out and buy the smallest light-bulb you can (i.e. 9W or something like that) and screw it into the night light rather than the main light (and by night light i mean a lamp that goes on the night stand, not one of those tiny plug in ones). if you can get a cool one like a lady bug or a disco ball or something that spins or creates cool patterns on the wall & ceiling it, he'll probably like it (take him with you to go pick it out) and it'll prevent him from turning the main lights on because then he wont' be able to see the cool patterns as vividly. but unfortunately, you do need go with this. he might have watched a cartoon or heard something in day care/kindergarten and is now afraid of it for whatever reason so rather than traumatizing the baby further by working against him & turning off the lights when he falls asleep -- figure out a solution that's less costly for you & is comforting for him :) good luck to you!

Kate CP - posted on 10/18/2009

8,942

36

754

Leaving one light on is not going to cost that much money. Let him have his closet light on or put a small lamp in the room he can have on. My daughter is terrified of the dark and we let her keep the closet light on. Eventually she will learn to sleep without it but for now it's a comfort. I know exactly how she feels as I was (and am) scared of the dark, too.

Heather - posted on 10/18/2009

2

26

0

I had that issue with my daughter when she was little, and just recently with my niece. They were both afraid the 'monsters' would get them. There was no telling them that monsters didn't exist since they are very prominent in some very popular kids shows (ie Sesame Street). What I did was bought some 'magic monster remover' (aka clear glitter) and took them both to sprinkle it outside the house, telling them that whatever it was they were afraid of can't get across it because they are scared of the sparkles. It worked like a charm. No more issues of them being afraid to sleep, or afraid the monsters will get into the house during the day either.

[deleted account]

Remove the light bulb and plug in a night light. They won't have a decent night's sleep if there is too much light in the room and of course, it is expensive. Providing, you give reassurance and empathy to the night terrors, then this is not cruel. Don't make too much fuss or give in to unreasonable demands or this 'phase' will develop into a 'bad habit'.

Tami - posted on 10/18/2009

92

46

5

Anyone else having issues with Circle of Moms lately? Every time I go to a different page, I have to log back in? Just wondering.

Thank you for all the advice. I will try the free things first. Also, man oh man are you right about what they watch on tv. I was watching Kipper the other day (geared towards 2-4 yo's... They were talking about ghosts and stuff. UGH!!! I am trying to get my son to sleep at night!!! What is this world coming to? Even harmless tv shows say REALLY bad words.

Also, God is in his life. I have talked about that. My son is still really unfocused at this age and he doesn't sit still to REALLY listen to us quite yet. We try and it doesn't work much. He turned 3 last July, so I think a couple months will do wonders with the comprehension and listening skills.

Debbie - posted on 10/18/2009

10

4

2

I think the best positive thing you can do is lots of reassurance that Mommy and Daddy are here and will keep him safe. Also you could find a good story book maybe and read that to him each night before bed. Give him or her lots of affection prior to bed time. Also, I have heard that some foods if eatin too close to bed time can cause a child to have nightmares...one of them being CHOCOLATE. Also you can share that when he or she wakes up that you have something special planned for the next day and then follow up with that. Introduce the child to Jesus and that way they know that they have a friend that they can talk to all the time. Let them know that HE will keep them safe. Another thing is to let your child know that they can call you at anytime if they feel frightened and that you will come and comfort them. Sometimes it's just that they need to know that you are always there for them if needed. That can be a real comfort to them..One other thing, you may wanna monitor more what it is they are watching on TV. Not all kids shows are good. Hope this helps a bit.

Shauna - posted on 10/18/2009

4

8

0

Mobi TykeLight
it is the best ngith light ever it stays cool has a charge bas and can hold a charge for 10 hours. you can sleep with it! it never gets hot. my kids LOVE it and I do too! So worth the 20$ and more!

[deleted account]

I'm going through the same thing with my 3 year old. She slept in the dark with her door shut every night until a few weeks ago.... We are now having to leave her door open and turn the bathroom light on. It drives my husband and i crazy because our bedroom is next to the bathroom. As of last night we turned on a night light and made her deal with it. She cried and cried. We are going to do it again tonight. Somethings gotta give~! Take out the light bulb...Good Luck!

Emma - posted on 10/18/2009

507

15

63

I understand how frusturating this can be for you. My step daughter was terrified of the dark, stating that monster are coming out of her walls. It was so bad, she had a soother till she was about 3 yrs old. We first tried just a nightlight, that helped but only a little. The next thing we did was at bedtime we banished the monsters (wherever she said they were hiding) with her snuggie (blanket) which was a magical blanket that once the monsters were forced from her room kept her safe all night long.



Your son is old enough that you can talk to him and ask where the scary green fish is in his walls and then you can make a big deal like making up a phrase to banish it from his walls. The fish will move to different parts of the room, you just keep repeating that until he is comfortable with being in there by himself.



Its going to take some time and alot of patience and creativitly on your part to help him through this stage. If I remember it took us a couple of weeks until she was completely comfortable, and she would call me back in the beggining to re-banish the monsters too. You can also see if putting a sweater of yours or his dads in bed with him will help him. That way he has something of yours to settle down with when those monsters come back.



I would also take out the lightbulb and leave the nightlight on. That way he won't be able to keep turning on the overhead light. Good luck, I know how you feel.

Lauren - posted on 10/18/2009

11

49

0

My son used to do the same thing but we DID take out the light bulb. Yes he cried and yes it sound crule but he got over it.. he got tired of crying about silly things. Try it and see what he does. It may or may not work but you wont know till you try. You can even try using a lite bright and let him make his won night light with it.. something fun for him that he knows is not real and will lige up his room.. maybe even a special animal for him to take to bed with him might help or even reading a funny book.. Try not to let him watch anything that may frighten him when it gets close to bed time.. or even turn it off and let him relax and forget what he saw on the tv.. try anything.. he will get over it.. it may take some time and you may have to do thinkgs you dont like BUT something will eventually work in your favor..

Morgan - posted on 10/18/2009

3

28

2

I would take the lightbulb out and put a nightlight in his room. If the nightlight should be enough, It sounds more like a boundary issue than fear. If he is afraid of fish then you could try making fish a positive experience for him, like getting a pet fish or something so he can relate to them in a positive way. You know that he isn't being harmed so it shouldn't traumatize him if you take the lightbulb out at night, this way he will get used to and adjust to the nightlight. My 3 year old is almost 4, and had many little quirks like this and it was for me about finding ways to make a positive out of a negetive... hope I was helpful... ~Morgan

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms