Why are children afraid of the dark

Fears in children: how to get a grip on them?

Parents are important supporters

Normally the child learns to overcome typical fears in the respective development phase. To do this, it needs the support of its environment. If they don't dare to do something, parents should gently encourage them to do it again and again: "Come on, you can do that." "Over time, the child learns that nothing bad will happen if they overcome their fear," says Schneider.

If the child is afraid of monsters at night, it can help if a night light is lit after a soothing sleep ritual or the door is ajar. A cuddly toy can make you feel like you're not alone. "It is even better to support the child in being able to control the situation themselves," says Schneider. "Anything that increases his self-confidence is ideal." She recommends taking the little one's thoughts into account during the magical phase: For example, parents can put an imaginary monster spray by the bedside that they can use to drive away the monsters.

Take with you to your parents' bed?

Expert Schneider believes that taking the child with you to the parents' bed is counterproductive. "Of course it's not realistic that a child of this age can always sleep alone," she says. "But there should only be well-founded exceptions, for example if it is sick." If the child cannot generally fall asleep or stay asleep through the night, special sleep training can help: the parents first explain to the little one that they should now gradually learn to sleep alone. The first thing to do is fall asleep: parents and child should agree on a short, quiet ritual - a bedtime story, a song together, a radio play. "It is important that the parents leave the room afterwards," says Schneider. "The child has to learn to regulate his arousal and calm himself down." If that works, the second step follows: the parents discuss with the child what they can do when they wake up at night - instead of immediately fleeing to their parents' bed. Night lights, cuddly toys - or monster spray can help here.