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2year old afrad of the dark?

hi everyone,

gota a sleeping problem with my son (aged 2yrs7months)  at the mo, basically he has been goingto bed really well for the last few months, he shares a room with his 5 year old sister, they usually chat for a bit with the light off and door half closed after there normal routine,then they both drift of to sleep 10-20mins later.

however for the last few nights when i kiss him goodnight and go to leave he gets very upset and demands i leave the light on, i tell him no and go out the room and he just runs out after me, i have tryed putting him back in bed over and over again but he just gets himself in such a state  very quickly til he can barely breath ,(he has been diagnosed with asthma)i then have to calm him down give him his inhaler and then just hang around the door till he falls asleep,

just dont no what has gone wrong i havent change there bath,pjs, milk, story routine. He has even started crying in the night shouting at me to turn light on, i ignor him for as long as i can but i dont want him getting out of breath, i really hope this is just a short faze has anyone else experianced this sort of problem, its like hes terrified of bedtime all of a sudden as in the day if i start tidying up he says ''its not bedtime. i dont want to go to bed'' sometimes this is like lunchtime and i have to reassure him its not bedtime...image .

any advice would be very much appriciated.

molly xxx


  • Although it has been a long time since mine were little I can remember my son at a similar age wanting his bedroom door left open and the landing light left on. I have certainly bought very low wattage lights for all my children so the room is very dimly lighted at night. I think at around 2 or so they can get very fearful of the dark and can start having nightmares. If possible I would leave a very dim light on in the room for him. Remember he is not being naughty it is a completely ratonal fear to him.
  • Hello,

    Harry started to become more fearful of his bedroom but his imagination runs riot with him and he has monsters, and friendly monsters ... which he sees.  I have a couple of nightlights on in his room as i always have to shut his door (we have two cats who would make themselves comfy on his bed otherwise)... and the nightlights mean its not pitch black in his room.  Actually the problem started around a year ago - when he first saw the gruffalo on telly - but now we tell him Alfie (our springer) wont allow any monsters - nasty ones anyway in our house and that helped.

    Have you tried asking  him during the day why he doesnt want to stay in his bed (probably best not to talk to him about it just before bed)  maybe he can tell you why he has become fearful and you can help prevent the problem.

    Funny how they change all of a sudden.... hope things improve for him soon. Not nice to see him get in a state like that

  • Hi

    My lo slept in her room with the lights out fine until she was about a year old.  Then she woke up in the night 2 or 3 times every night for months.  She would only let me see to her as well.  If her dad went in to her she would get hysterical and scream for me.  I was getting very little sleep.  Some nights I would get no sleep at all and that made me very anxious and emotional.  The problem was particularly worse when she woke up to find herself in the pitch black.  We sometimes left the landing light on but it didn't seem to make a huge amount of difference.  I think by then waking up had become a habit.  I bought a cheap & cheerful battery-operated nightlight from Ebay and it was as if a miracle had happened!  From the very first night of us having it she slept right through and she has only had about 3 bad nights since December. It might be something worth trying.

    Does he have a favourite teddy?  If so you could always try letting him take the teddy (or whatever) to bed with him and telling him that teddy will look after him when he's asleep.  Or get his sister to tell him that she will look after him when he's in bed. 

    Do you think it might be his asthma that is frightening him?  Does he have attacks during the day or are they mainly at night?  Do you think he might associate bedtime with his asthma attacks?

    It may be just a phase he's going through and will grow out of in his own time.

  • Very good idea, Harry loves to cuddle up to his monkey and he has the nightlights too! One plug in and one buzz battery one.

  • I have those little character lights for two of my children.They charge on the base and they can be a little dim lamp and if they need to get up for the toilet they take the lamp off and it's a torch.They have control of the light.

    Once their imagination takes off they imagine all sorts in the dark.I leave the landing light on and the door ajar while my little ones go off to sleep.My now 8 year old used to have lots of trouble settling.There was always something in her room always real to her.She had a big brown bear and he used to have the job of keeping watch all night and she agreed big brown bear would scare away all the scary dreams.He helped a little.He slept next to her every night for years.I've noticed he sits at the end of the bed these days,but she still has her Disney princess lamp/torch thing.Maybe ask in the day if your son can tell you or show you if something 's scary.I can still remember  when I was little my brother had a red Indian head dress that hung on the back of our door all day,but at night I was convinced it was a lion's mane.I can also remember there being a real live bear under my bed.All sorts of things go on in little minds,but if you can talk about a specific fear that might help.

    I think it's just one of those things,you have to reassure them at the time,and they will grow out of it.

  • hi thanks for responses, i bought him little light today he was excited all day about having it at bedtime, but after routine and kiss night night, he didnt show any interest in the light just kept crying 'i cant go to sleep' i sat on his bed asked why he couldnt he just kept saying he just couldnt its really upsetting as i wana undersand why he feels he cant go sleep,

    tryed talking to him in the day but get no ideas as to what hes upset about...

    only thing that work a bit tonight was standing out of sight but outside his room door, as when he come out ijust  took him straight back in  he got very upset but then clicked on to the fact i was only outside the room and the lasttime i put him back in bed he called to see i  was still there then went to sleep, just such a set back as he was settling so well befor.

    he just seems really insucure at the moment, im expecting a baby in 5 weeks, wondering whether talking to him and others about baby and putting up the cot has anything to do with it.


  • also he has actually said after hes been upset in the day 'i cant breath' , he's breathing was fine at the time,but maybe this could be a sign hes fearfull of the asthma, not really sure how i can go about making him feel ok about it though... x

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