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Helping Children who are afraid of Dark.

Article posted on Friday, September, 24th, 2010 at 9:02 am

Afraid of the Dark? Just Turn on the Lights.

Each time Neely has had a seizure, she temporarily loses her sight. Temporarily means about 45 minutes. Which is a very long time for a 3 year old that doesn’t understand what is happening to her.  And now, she is very afraid of the dark!

She won’t go into a room that is completely dark without someone there to immediately turn on the light. She can’t sleep in a dark room and is terrified if she wakes up during the night to find the lights off.  A fear that is completely legitimate given her experiences with temporary blindness.

Our response to her fear is simple. We don’t turn the lights off. Some would say that I am enabling her fear or that I am not doing anything to help her overcome the fear by eliminating opportunities where she is forced to deal with darkness, but I don’t care.  And I mean that with the utmost sincerity.

What’s wrong with keeping the lights on? Nothing, as far as we are concerned. Neely sleeps in a room with 2 night lights. Those 2 lights bask the entire room with a soft glow. Enough so that she can see every part of the room when she opens her eyes. There have been times when we have left the overhead light on as well when we have found ourselves in a hotel or a room with no night lights.

And it works! The light doesn’t keep her awake or limit her ability to get a good nights sleep. She feels save and secure when the sun goes down, confident that when she opens her eyes, she can see the world and everything in it. So I say, Turn on the lights!

Besides, I think this world could use a little more light now and then to help shield us from “being in the dark.” It’s amazing what can happen to your perspective and approach when someone “turns on the lights.”

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