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4-year-old afraid of the dark


I need help addressing my 4-year-old’s fear of the dark at bedtime.



This is not an unusual fear. We recommend that you establish – if you don’t already have one – a set bedtime routine. It should begin and end at the same time and include the same activities, such as having a snack, brushing teeth, using the toilet, putting on PJs, reading a book, saying prayers and maybe giving a back rub during the prayers to relax her. Be sure to pray that she is safe and not scared as she falls asleep. 

We also encourage you to add a few things to her routine to help her overcome her fear. First, present your daughter with a small spray bottle in which you have put water and a few drops of lemon juice. This is her “monster spray.” She should make one squirt in the areas she thinks the monsters are: behind the door, under the bed, etc. Tell her that the spray keeps monsters away because everyone knows that monsters hate sour ​things like lemon juice. Then put the bottle away until the following evening at bedtime.  

Second, add a nightlight to the room if there is not one present. A small flashlight in bed may give her additional confidence.