Have you noticed how fast the nights seem to be getting darker these days? The days of summer when it stayed bright until past 9pm are long gone, replaced by an early winter chill. And just as your children have got used to going to bed when it was bright, suddenly it's pitch black again.
One thing I'm finding is that my children are starting to complain about feeling afraid of the dark. These days they want the door left open or a light on when they're going to bed.
It's extremely common for children to be scared of the dark, but there are many things you can do to help. One new product which will help this year is the range of Lego LED lights, shown on the right. How fantastically cute are they? I like the brick light the best, you can plug it in anywhere so it's useful if your child is going to stay somewhere new.
The little figures have posable arms and movable legs, so you can light up any two spaces at one time, as light pours out from the bottom of their feet. The dynamo torch is environmentally friendly, coming equipp ed with its own generator. Children generate power by turning the crank handle which then stores energy to produce light - no need for batteries. Though whilst they're perfect for Lego fans with a fear of the dark, you do slightly run the risk that your child won't be able to get to sleep because they'd rather play with these little guys.
The new range of Lego LED lights is available from Toys R Us and Argos from September 2009.
Other things you can do to help your child cope with a fear of the dark include:
- Take your child's fears seriously
Don't tell them not to be daft - acknowledge that you can see that they're scared. But also point out that there's nothing frightening around, and that you're nearby if they need you.
- Watch out for things that might make your child fearful just before bed
- This includes TV, bedtime stories and scary games.
- Talk to your child about your own fears
What were you scared of when you were little? How did you deal with that. Show them than everyone feels scared sometimes.
- Let your child use whatever prop helps them feel safe
This could be a cuddly toy, or a low nightlight. My daughter used to be scared of lions, so she would go to sleep holding a plastic snake to ward off the lions. If it works, don't knock it.