Toddler scared of the dark

What do you say to a toddler who is scared of the dark?

“Mommy, Daddy, I’m scared.”

My husband was gifted a parrot once. This was no ordinary parrot. It would choose the darnedest things to repeat which seemed to have no rhyme or reason. It is certainly the fodder of many good stories. As our kids pick and choose their vocabulary, they can also be quite entertaining and occasionally worrisome. Nighttime is no different. There are just so many words around bedtime and concepts that toddlers are just beginning to understand. So, as you might guess, they try different words on for size, to see which one will garner attention, engagement and interest. Are they being manipulative? Absolutely not. They are curious; and as they do, we have an extraordinary opportunity to speak to the deepest parts of them and provide a very important resource….reassurance.

Oftentimes, when a toddler says they are scared…it is a word that populated their vocabulary (sometimes put there at our suggestion) and it can start to unravel the elements of nighttime that actually speaks to their sense of security. So, looking for monsters, ghost-spraying the closet and having long talks about fictional outcomes can seem helpful for a season but addressing the issue is actually much easier.

So, what do you say to a toddler who is exploring the word “scared”?


It serves both the scenario of the toddler that is experimenting with words and also the one who is conveying that they just became more aware of their surroundings and are trying to sort out what it means for nighttime. If you have spent night after night checking under beds and leaving doors open “just in case”…this is your ticket to calmer, more confident nights. Three little words and the action behind those are powerful in the long game. Plus, the one that is bigger and stronger than them, that puts life into toddler-sized, understandable bits of truth; that person, they are not scared. And that is powerful.

And as any parent may, as you navigate the questions and details of the things your toddler says, we would love to be YOUR voice of reassurance. So that we can send the most prepared, confident person possible into all those challenging parenting situations. We will not make it perfect, but we can definitely make it easier and much less scary.

Moms on Call has many resources, tips and tricks that are judgement free and help you parent out of truth and not fear. Our Online Video Courses and books cover everything you need to know including feeding, sleeping, typical day schedules, FAQs and so much more! Our swaddle blankets, apps and certified consultant network will support you as you use the Moms on Call method. Sign up for our newsletter to join the Family!

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