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Books are also culpable in creating nighttime havoc for a kid, Berman says.

"Television is one of the worst offenders Nike Roshe Mens Red

"Most parents don't limit what their kids are watching on TV," Dobbins tells WebMD. "For instance, a young child, in a room watching TV with an older sibling, might be watching something totally age inappropriate."

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This gives the unknown an opportunity to turn scary. Add to that a blank slate of a young brain with no distractions to preoccupy Nike Roshe Run Mens Dark Grey the mind and a shadow in a dark corner of a child's bedroom can easily become a three headed beast.

"What exactly they are afraid of when it's dark I'm not sure, but I do know their fear is very real," she says.

´╗┐How to Overcome Children's Fear of the Dark

also an assistant professor of pediatrics and child psychiatry at Southern Illinois University. "So instead, his imagination runs wild, and as a result, a kid who seems well adjusted during the day may be more vulnerable at night."

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Where Fear of the Dark Comes FromSo what causes kids' fear of the dark?

For kids, this happens almost every day, so fear has a lot of opportunity to rear its ugly head especially at night.

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The images can be intimidating and provoke already active imaginations, stirring up all sorts of ideas that can come back to haunt a child who is lying alone in the dark. From drawings of monsters to fairy tales and witches, kids can misinterpret images and conjure up fears that an adult might not recognize.

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Fear is a normal part of life for all of us, including young children. It tends to start when you try something new, something that you've never experienced before, something that is an unknown.

when we're talking about a fear of the dark," Berman says. "Parents don't recognize how much TV can affect their children."

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Bianco isn't sure when or why her children developed a fear of the dark, but she's absolutely positive her kids' anxiety level goes up when the lights go down.

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"While most kids will have some degree of a fear of the dark as they're growing up for whatever reason, the good news is, it can be solved," Dobbins says.

Fear of the Dark: Dos and Don'tsThe best thing a parent can do for a child with a fear of the dark is to communicate, be respectful, and show that you understand.

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"There are fewer distractions to keep a child's mind occupied at night," says Dobbins, who is Nike Roshe Run Pink And Grey

Fear of the DarkLots of kids are afraid of the dark. Her 6 year old daughter absolutely must sleep with a blanket to help combat her fear, and her 4 year old son insists on sleeping with a Roshe Run Design

The sights and sounds on TV are too stimulating for their brains, she says, exposing kids to things that might not be scary for an adult but are terrifying for a child.

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"The fear of the dark tends to evolve around the time children are old enough to have a sense of imagination," says Jenn Berman, PhD, a family therapist in Beverly Hills, Calif.

And surprisingly, another culprit when it comes to nighttime fears is a well intended parent who tells a child, "You better behave, or the boogeyman will get you," Dobbins says. Although it might seem like light hearted discipline, this simple phrase can instill a solid case of nighttime heebie jeebies for a kid.

Whether it's a violent news story or even a popular cartoon program, both experts say that TV can give kids plenty of ammunition when it comes to fear.

Usually, the fear of the dark hits home for kids around the ages of 2 or 3, when they're old enough to imagine, but not wise enough to distinguish fantasy from reality, Berman says.

First Fears"Some people expect that kids should never really have fear, and of course they do," says Mary Dobbins, MD, a pediatrician and child psychiatrist in Springfield, Ill.

night light.

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"If you've been communicating with them from the start, they can understand when you talk to them about their fear of the dark," Berman says. "And be respectful don't tell them their fear is silly, because not only does it not help and they're still scared, but now they feel guilty and ashamed, too."

Millions of kids are convinced that something is lurking in the shadows waiting to gobble them up. Experts share with WebMD some theories on where the fear of the dark comes from, why it feels so real when you're only 3 years old, and what parents can do to help their kids tackle their anxiety.

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