Many children are afraid of the dark. This can make them feel unsafe in their dark bedroom and have a hard time falling asleep. A night lamp can be a simple and effective solution. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a night light?
And what is the best night light for your child? Everything you need to know before buying a light for the night. ‘Mama, can you turn on the light?’ Does your toddler or preschooler also ask you every evening if you want to leave a lamp on?
Not strange. Being afraid of the dark is a common fear in children. You may also recognize the fear from your childhood. Sometimes it helps to leave the lamp in the hallway on for a while, with the bedroom door ajar. But light for the night can also offer a solution.
Different functions of light
With the help of a night light, your child learns to sleep independently “in the dark” in his room, without you constantly having to comfort and reassure him. The night lamp provides a familiar, cozy environment and a safe feeling: the basis for a good night’s sleep. Such a night light is not only useful for children who are afraid of the dark.
Light can also help teach a good sleep rhythm: these night lamps are also called sleep trainers. More on that later. There are also night lights that play lullabies or project fun figures on the ceiling. All these functions have a positive effect on your child’s sleep.
Benefits of Night light
The advantages of night light at a glance:
- Night light helps children who are afraid of the dark to fall asleep in a safe environment;
- Does your child have to go to the toilet often at night? Night light helps your child to find the potty or toilet faster. It lowers the threshold for getting out of bed in the dark;
- Night lights often have multiple functions: they also serve, for example, as a thermometer (for the correct room temperature), as a baby monitor, ‘music box’ or sleep trainer;
- Do you still breastfeed at night? Or has your child often lost his pacifier or cuddly toy? The light also helps parents see something at night. Now you don’t have to ‘wake up your child to the high beam or the bright blue lighting of your phone;
- Do your children sleep in the same room and one goes to bed later than the other? Then the child who goes to bed last does not have to wake his brother or sister with light. The night light provides enough light to find its bed.
10 tips: this is how you teach your child to ‘sleep late’.
Disadvantages of night light
- In addition to a lot of advantages, there are also a few (possible) disadvantages that you should take into account.
- Turning on a light while sleeping inhibits the production of the hormone melatonin. This hormone makes you sleepy and ensures a good night’s sleep. Does your child have a hard time falling asleep or does he often wake up? Then he may benefit from a bedroom that is as dark as possible;
- Blue light (tablet, TV, telephone) is the most harmful when it comes to the production of melatonin. So make sure that the night lamp does not shine too brightly and is certainly not blue;
- Is your child easily distracted and sensitive to stimuli? Then be careful with so-called projector night lights that make moving figures on the ceiling;
- Babies are born without fear of the dark. Only when they start to fantasize, around the age of two or three, can children become afraid of the dark. So don’t switch on a light in advance. As a result, your child can develop a fear of the dark; Read here how you can best deal with childhood fears.
A lamp that burns all night consumes quite a bit of energy. With a battery-operated light, you always have to purchase new batteries. You can also opt for a night lamp that turns off automatically after a while.
The best night light for your child
Night lights are available in all shapes and sizes. From a luminous cuddly toy to a dinosaur or cloud. When purchasing a light for the night, take a good look at its functionality. Should the light be next to your child’s bed, so that he can easily switch it on and off?
Or do you prefer that the night lamp hangs from the ceiling? These ceiling lamps often serve as a projector. They provide the room with stars or other figures.
A cuddly toy in the form of a night lamp is also possible: these plush cuddly toys often have a light on the belly. Also, pay attention to the power supply. Are you going for a night lamp on mains power, with a rechargeable battery or batteries?
Is your child standing next to your bed at six o’clock every morning? Sleep trainers teach your toddler or preschooler to ‘sleep late’. They are special night lights that show in a simple and fun way that it is time to sleep or wake up.
You set the trainer at a time that is acceptable to you and tell your child to stay in bed until then or to play in his bed. Most sleep trainers have a figure that will move as soon as your child is allowed to start the day.
When the sheep closes its eyes, it is time to sleep itself. Do the sheep’s eyes open? Then your child may call you. With other sleep trainers, a light turns on or off, or the light changes color.
Tips to buy a night light
If you are looking for a night light, keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t buy a light for the night too early, but only when your child has developed a fear of the dark.
- Choose a light with a dimmed red light. Research shows that only red does not affect the production of melatonin. It is only white and blue light; Read more about how melatonin works here.
- Does the night lamp mainly serve as an aid to find the toilet at night? Place the night light in the hallway and leave the bedroom door ajar if necessary;
- Before purchasing, first, check which light the night lamp provides. The light should not be too bright. Is that the case? Then go for a different night light or just replace the lamp.
- Light with a dimmer helps you to phase out the use step by step. Dim the light a little more until your child is used to sleeping in a dark room.