2 Yr Old Afraid of Shadows...

Updated on December 26, 2017
M.H. asks from Chesapeake, VA
16 answers

Lately, my DD, who will be 2 next month, has been talking about shadows and how she is afraid of them. My husband and I used to make shadow puppets when she first discovered shadows (about a year ago) and she never seemed bothered by them. Now, she talks about being afraid of the "big shadow." I have tried to show her how shadows are made, even point out what is making shadows (our bodies, the plant, her bed, the dog, etc) and she seems fine, but when it's bed time, she acts afraid. I try to reassure her that there is nothing to be afraid of (without going overboard, for fear that I may make it seem more of a big deal than it is), but it doesn't seem to help. I have even started to sing that one song to her "Me and my shadow" and she likes it, but still the fear comes. Has any one out there dealt with this before, or maybe have some ideas how I can alleviate this fear for her? It just breaks my heart, and I know that when I was afraid as a child, it was awful, and I don't want her to feel that way. Thanks for any ideas!!

IN ADDITION / UPDATE: Last night I left my daughter in the bathroom (with the light ON) as she was brushing her teeth. I was about 10 ft away from her and was telling her where I was going (to get her water) and she started crying and screaming and freaking out. She sounded so terrified. I rushed in there and asked her what was the matter, and she said, "the shadow mommy". I do have her point out what shadow she is talking about, but it's not always the same thing. And she is not just afraid when the lights are out, but when the light is ON also. I have night lights in her room, they are the flat, blue kind, not sure how else to describe them.

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So What Happened?

Hi Everyone!
Thanks so much for all the advice. I spoke with her doctor about it also, and he suggested I just keep reinforcing the "concrete", that is the plant making the shadow, your bed, etc. I also tried the "shadow" spray, using holy water I had received (figured why take chances) and she and I sprinkled her room, and every room in the house with it. She now seems better about shadows. She will stop in her tracks sometimes, and I asked her what's the matter, and she'll whisper "shadow", then she'll get a big smile on her face and say "Hi shadow!" So, I am not sure what to think, but as long as she is no longer afraid, I am happy for her. Thanks again to everyone for all their input and ideas.

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answers from Terre Haute on

I don't think it is on tv anymore but it might help if you can find some of the Bear in the Big Blue House programs. There is a character on there called shadow and she sings about watching over you when you sleep in a positive way. I hope this helps you. Let me know if you find it and it works. I remember it all only because I have a 9 yr old that use to watch faithfully. Good luck, Shannon

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answers from Cleveland on

I like all of the suggestions I have read and probably would try all of them if my son was in the same situation. I think the one I like the best though is to ask her to show you the shadow next time she sees it. If you can figure out what's making it, you can not only fix the problem, but use at as a learning experience for her so that she knows that's all it was.

However, I am going to go one extra step that no one has suggested. If you CAN'T see the shadow that she sees, or if it is gone when you go to see it, it may be paranormal. It is not uncommon for little children to be more sensitive to the paranormal. My best suggestion would be to emphasize that shadows can't hurt her and then utilize some of the other suggestions that the ladies left so she knows she's in power. In addition, you can always have your house blessed. In the Catholic faith, many people choose to have their house blessed when they first move in. It has nothing to the with ghosts or exorcism, it is just a nice way to start your life in that house.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Hi M.,

I went through this with my son (who is now 33!). When he was going through this I decided to ask him to show me the shadow. I went into his room and turned off the light and was startled myself at what I saw. The neighbors front lawn lamp along with the branch of our tree cast the shadow of a huge hand! Kind of like King Kong reaching for him! I'll tell ya, it WAS scary. After that, I made a point of checking his room with the light off to be sure there weren't any scary shadows around. A night light solved the problem and we didn't have any shadow problems after that. So ask your little girl to show you the scary shadows. It might just do the trick!

Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Hurray for Linda G! She's the only one who believed it might be real.

Please don't dismiss your daughter's fears as irrational. Linda is right - and I have first hand experience with it - children are much more sensitive to the spirit world, and it will be around 3 to 3 1/2 that she starts to lose that sensitivity.

My son would tell us about a woman who visited him in his room and talked to him. (he was 20 months at the time) We never doubted him, because we have no problem accepting the spirit world. We asked him what they talked about, and what the woman looked like and such. He gave great detail, and the detail never varied. He said she was very nice and was just there to watch him.

One day it occurred to me that I had never asked him if she had a name. He said her name was Karen. Please understand that at that time, he had never met a Karen, we didn't know anyone named Karen, and he was not yet allowed to watch television, so we knew it didn't come from an outside source.

However, my husband had a sister named Karen (whom we had never mentioned around our son) and she had died in 1986. My son was born in 1999. We have no doubt that it was his sister, and that she continues to watch over our children.

Catholics aren't the only ones to have house blessings. We are Lutheran, and had our Pastor come and bless our house, also. As Linda said, it's just a blessing, and gives great comfort to us, knowing that we have consciously invited Christ into our house, to be part of our lives and home everyday.

Although Karen wasn't the only "imaginary" friend that our son had (he had many), none of them were ever scary to him. He wasn't afraid of any of them, which tells me that the house blessing worked. Only the good spirits came through. So please consider having it done, so that your daughter doesn't have to deal with the scary shadow anymore.

Of course, you can always write me off as a nutcase! :) But if you knew me, and knew how practical and down to earth I am, you would take me seriously.

Best of luck - I hope it works out SOON for your little one.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kokomo on

I have a great idea M.. My little guy was afraid of monsters.... which were actually shadows. I got a can air freshener and labled it Monster spray. I just told him that it was going to be alright. I'd make him go all around the room and show me the scary places, then I'd give them a good zap with the air freshener. He felt safe, the room smelled good, we were all happy. Might be worth a try. Tell her that the shadows need a little magic fairy spray and that they won't hurt her. Sure, you're playing into her fantasy a bit, but she is 2!!! Go with it. Just might work. I swear by it.
The other thing I found helpful is to take the nightlight out of the room. Two reasons. It gives them something to play with ( specifically in my son's case) and it also removes a light source to cause shadows. It too, made a big difference in the monsters showing up at our house. ;)Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from South Bend on

I hate to be the one to voice somthing like this but is her room safe? Does she have a window that someone could be looking into? A street light that is allowing her to see people walk by at night? I'm sorry she is afraid. I think many of the suggestions are good. She may like the veggies tales song "God is bigger then the boogie man" too. My kids always liked it when they were smaller and it helped them get over their fears at bedtime when we sang it together. Good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Think about what her bedroom is like when she is in there at night. Is there a street light or nightlight illuminating things in her room. Get a dimmer switch and set the room light on super low...no shadows but still dim.



answers from New York on

Hello, I currently have a large family Childcare. One of the children that I have has a fear for her own shadow. I have never seen that before in any other child. I am trying to find a way so that she understands that shadows are your friend or even part of you. She is almost 2 years old! For the past two days I have not been able to take her for daily walks, and now it's getting even worse. She is also afraid when she is inside the house and sees her shadow. I carried her today for about an hour and a half, and was hard to take care of the rest of the kids. Please any advise!! my email address is ____@____.com thank you, N.



answers from Cincinnati on

Could it be a form of separation anxiety? Has anything changed that would cause her to be more scared? Does it happen more when Daddy is home, as a way to keep your attention - that she has undivided when Daddy travels? "Shadows" could just be what she has found to work to get more attention from you, especially when ti is time for bed.



answers from Bloomington on

It just a phase that kids go through. Their imagination is working overtime. The best you can do is reasure her that everything is okay and that you won't let anything happen to her. Have her tell the shadow to go away that she doesn't want it there. If she needs your help, hold her hand and tell it to go away firmly. That way she can see how its done. Also make sure that she is not watching anything scarey on TV. Its crazy, but what you and I think is okay may be creating more in her imagination. It does take time. We also gave my son a gold star for everytime that he told the monster or shadow to go away and wasn't scared.



answers from Cleveland on

We had the same problem with our oldest when she was around that age - and her fear also started because my husband did shadow puppets with her. What worked for me was one night at bedtime, when she was in the room, I opened her room and shouted "Out, all shadows, Out out out," and pretended I was shooing them out the window. Then I closed the window and locked it, and told her the shadows had all gone outside and couldn't get back in because I locked the window. She's five now, and at bedtime, if her window is open, she still asks to have her window closed and locked to keep the "shadows" out, but she sleeps fine and isn't afraid.

I'm a mother of three, a five year old daughter, a 3 year old daughter, and a 3 month old son.

Good Luck.



answers from Cincinnati on

My son was afraid of shadows, too. Since logic didn't help, we resorted to "magic". We tried "monster spray". It's just air freshener. We told our DS that there wasn't anything bad in the room - just shadows. But, if it would make him feel better, we'd use the magic spray. It smells nice, and everyone knows bad things can't tolerate anything that's nice. Then, we sprayed a little air freshener. It worked. At first he needed it every night, and then only when it was raining loudly, and now he doesn't ask at all. He's 5 now.



answers from New York on

my daughter wrote a book about this time in her life, find out more at http://kck.st/HXzVHI

H. and Stoney



answers from Bloomington on

maybe you could take her to play in a shadow/light room at a science museum? some positive association with shadows might help...

there's a character in bear's big blue house named shadow... not sure if that would help or hurt but she's a funny little shadow gal who dances and tells stories. (her stories are paper cutout shadow stories)

have you played shadow tag outside? "i'm going to step on your shadow!!" we love that game. it's just fun to see your shadow on the sidewalk and realize it's yours...



answers from Wheeling on

My 2.6yo Daughter has been stressing about these "shadows" for months.. and it's getting progressively worse. She keeps screaming and crying, saying the shadows are going to get her. Daylight doesn't help. She's terrified at all hours of the day, and my heart breaks for her, because I PERSONALLY vaguely remember the fear from my own childhood, and I'm STILL terrified of the dark as a 22yo adult woman.. I used to see rats, raccoons, spiders, etc. walking around or I'd sense them near me, about to "bite" me, then I'd freak out and someone would have to turn a light on. They weren't stationary shadows, either. Very realistic movements, very detailed. Could this be a mental health issue? Almost like schizophrenia? I still suffer from severe anxiety and my fear of shadows has relocated to almost only dark windows, where my mind tells me there's a face peering in at me, or dark corners of the room where I feel like a demon is watching me. Such paranoid feelings.. I hate it.



answers from Indianapolis on

There are books about shadows.
Search on Amazon for titles & then maybe check out your local half price books for them.
I also think you should check the room for the real shadows that she is refering to.

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