My Child Is Scared Of The Dark! (How To Introduce A Nightlight)


Feb 29, 2024


Do you have kids who are a little bit older and are finally telling you that they are scared of the dark? This is a day I dreaded.

This was a real reality for the Campbell household a while back when my oldest daughter said that she was afraid of the dark… and I was stunned because I had just been hoping this was never going to happen!!

But it did! Today I want to share what we did, how we did it, and how you can make these exact same strategies without disrupting sleep and offering confidence in their sleep!



Now, before I kind of walk you through our story and being afraid of the dark, I want to start with an age marker here. When I ask parents to make the child’s room as dark as possible, I often have parents ask me if they should take the nightlight out of their child’s room.

If you have a child that’s 2 and under, usually the parents have a night light in their room for them, so they can see in the middle of the night if they have to go in their child’s room. 

But there is no reason to have a nightlight for your child when they’re newborns! Yes, you’re gonna go into their room in the middle of the night when they are even 4 or 5, maybe 6 months old, but after that, there should be no more.

We are getting your kid to sleep through the night and the darker the room, the better the sleep. 

So, even with newborns and all the way up until as long as we can possibly get it, I want that room to be pitch black when it’s time to come in in the middle of the night.

Don’t depend on a night light because it actually does disturb your child’s sleep. Why? Well, when any light source, whether it’s the sunlight or a night light in your child’s room, it actually is disturbing their sleep cycles.

Even if your child’s eyes are closed, the light is actually coming in through their closed eyelids and signaling to their brain it’s time to wake up. So what’s happening is your baby is thinking it’s time to get up, it’s time to start the day, or it’s time to wake up from the nap, and that is causing a disturbance in their sleep.

So, for your babies and toddlers, I want you to make sure that the room is totally, totally dark. There is no light source that’s coming in to disturb them, no night light! They don’t need it.



If you have a kid, it kind of depends on their age and cognitive ability, but around age 3 is when they can start to say things like they’re scared of the dark.

They might ask for a night light or they’re asking you to leave the door open, leave the door cracked, or maybe they’re asking you to stay with them because they’re afraid of the dark.

When this happened with our oldest when she was 4, she had been sleeping great with her midnight dark room for years and all the sudden she was sleeping under the covers and saying she was afraid of the dark. At first we didn’t do much about it but she started to mention it more and it turns out she was afraid of this toy horse at our friends’ house.

There was nothing disturbing happening in her room and nothing making shadows or anything, so finally one night after we couldn’t get her to take the covers off of her head, I grabbed the only thing I could think of which was the salt lamp in my office.



The reason I had a salt lamp and thought to grab it was because this is exactly what I had asked my clients to do! They are a great way to get a light in your child’s room but not disturb their sleep!

Here’s why – On the light color spectrum, there are certain colors of light that will disturb your sleep. Blue light is one of those so, for example, if your child is watching tv or they have been exposed to blue light, it will cause their melatonin to not be fully released. They will actually get stimulated from the blue light and won’t be able to fall asleep easily. Not a good deal!

Another of those colors that can cause a disturbance is white, so you want to avoid that one.

But there are a few colors on the color spectrum that don’t disrupt sleep! Red is one of the only ones that doesn’t, so as weird as it sounds, you could get a red night light for your child.

I like salt lamps because they give an orangey red glow and you can even get a salt lamp with a dimmer, like this one here. The dimmer is where the magic is at! You want to dim it all the way to the lowest setting so that there’s just a really soft amber glow which should be enough for your child, especially if the room is super dark with no sunlight coming in.

That tiny little dim light will help your child be confident and more comfortable with falling asleep in a room that’s not totally dark.



So the first night, the salt light was something we used on a whim. 

But after that, and what I want to recommend for you, is to set it up as part of the bedtime routine. So we did her shower, brushed her teeth, pajamas were on, and then we turned on her salt lamp.

We even put a little marker on the dimmer to know exactly how bright to make it for her overnight so that if she does want it to be brighter during the day, it can be! But then we can turn it back down to the lowest setting at night.



If you have a child who is fighting bedtime and they’re thinking that they’re scared of the dark, a red night light or salt lamp can be your answer!

And remember, if your child is 2 and under, we want no light in the room at all, so if you need recommendations for blackout options, click here!

Let’s KEEP sleep a thing for your child… even when they’re afraid of the dark!



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