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At what age do children become afraid of the dark, and why?

My 16 month old son suddenly panicked and started to cry when I turned the lights off for sleep. First time he’s done that. He ended up sleeping with the lights on all night. I have no idea what brought on this fear of the dark, though I remember being afraid of the dark too when I was a kid much older than him. Are your kids afraid of the dark? At what age did that start? What do you think led to this fear?

  • Anonymous
    Jan 07

    Being 'afraid of the dark' is a common theme on shows sometimes, does he watch videos or tv? maybe it was mentioned and it put monsters in his head or something of the sort. Or he could have recently experienced his first bad dream. If you dont already have a nightlight/lamp I would recommend a cute one of his favorite character or something cute/happy to put him at ease. My niece (a bit older at 3-4 years old) loves this bunny character "Miffy" and I found a really cute Miffy night lamp for her room. She LOVED it and it helped her sleep every night. You can find all sorts of inexpensive ones online.

  • Amanda
    Jan 07

    I wonder if, given his age of 16 months, it’s less being afraid of the dark and more that turning off the lights means that mom/dad are leaving the room. It could be a resurgence of mild separation anxiety.

  • Cathy
    Jan 13

    Around 2. We bought a light from Amazon that plugs into the wall and it can change colors if you want. Or stay white. That helped my son.