Overcoming Fear of the Dark - 5 Tips for Relighting
Once our holiday tree is up, a mysterious thing happens. If I turn out the lights and let the tree do what it does best - light up the living room with soft golds, reds, and greens - my children fall asleep on the couch without so much as a five-minutes-to-bedtime warning. A lit Christmas tree is the ultimate night light - it gives off a warm, evenly spread glow that makes the traditional electric version seem more like a boogeyman spotlight than a true source of comfort.
This year, I was prepared. I purchased two tiny pre-lit trees in January and stashed them in the basement until it was time to put out our holiday decorations once again. For parents of children who are afraid of the dark, placing a smaller version of the family tree near the bed can temporarily free up a few late nights for some grown-up eggnog. If you want to create a permanent safe and snuggly nighttime atmosphere for your kids, try revamping the lighting schemes in their bedrooms, starting with these five tips:
1. Accent the back of a dresser with a row of small flameless candles to create good light dispersion. If the room is still too scary, consider hanging a couple of small mirrors on the opposite wall to expand the aura's range.
2. Peel and stick a few strands of glow in the dark wall stickers along the wall near the ceiling. They're electricity-free and can easily be rearranged to brighten the spookiest corners of the bedroom.
3. Replace traditional on-and-off light switches with dimmers. As long as your home was professionally wired within this century, you can learn to install them while your kids browse the candy smorgasbord at the checkout counter. It takes a little bit of work, but permanent control over a bedroom's ambiance is definitely worth it. Plus, monsters don't stand a chance against a dim overhead bulb set low enough to soothe little ones to sleep.
4. Take a second look at your bulbs and lampshades and make a few adjustments. Check out a few secondhand stores and stock up on shades with thicker fabrics and warmer colors. Pick up a pack of three-way bulbs to give older kids with residual nighttime fears a few bedside options.
5. Try on a new paint color. Darker walls tend to absorb any light, so even the brightest phase of the moon can't shoo away the darkness.
Of course, tiny pre-lit trees can be revised to fit any season with just a little creativity and a glue gun. Ask your kids for input and give them a sense of control over their own year-round bedtime environments. Once they're consistently feeling Christmastime cozy, you can enjoy your own peaceful, silent nights.