Gift Idea: Light Up the Night

Bean is going through a little phase right now where he is scared of the dark. He used to say he was scared of the dark in order to get out of going to bed. He’d call us back into his room over and over again, saying things like, “Mommy, I need the cwoset light on,” or “Daddy, I need the door open.” We caught on to those games really quickly and after a week, we quit going back into his room and instead would just stand at the top of the stairs and call out quietly, “Michael, lay down, please.” 9 times out of 10, he’d actually call back to us, “Okay, mommy!” and he’d lay down and sing himself to sleep.

But in the past two months, it has become a lot more than that. He is really scared. He gets this panicked, frantic cry if the conditions aren’t just right for him. I can tell there has been a shift and that we’ve moved from playing a game to a real fear of the dark. I think it started when the weather cooled off here a bit and we were leaving our windows open at night. The first time I heard that panic cry from him was when I left his bedroom window open and the wind accidentally blew his door closed. He freaked out because he didn’t know what made his door move. Ever since then, he’s been really nervous in the dark.

We try not to coddle him too much because we don’t want to enable that fear, but I also recognize that a fear isn’t something that I want to push on him. Since we now know what makes him scared, we go through all the steps at night to make sure he isn’t going to be scared. We read books with him, then we turn on his music (an old iPod that plays Baby Einstein that we have on a speaker in his room), turn on his fan (he insists), put up his baby gate (its how we keep him from wandering around in the night), and then prop open his bedroom door. If we go through all those steps, he lays down and sings himself to sleep. But if we miss a step or if something out of the ordinary happens, he gets that panicked sound again.

This new fear sparked me to post on Facebook, asking if any of my friends had any good remedies for toddlers who were scared of the dark. My sweet friend, Ann, suggested the Cloud b Twilight Constellation Night Light. She has an autistic son who is Bean’s age and she says this has really helped him with nighttime routines. I trust just about anything Ann recommends to me and so I ordered one online that same day.


The nice thing about this turtle is that it is plush enough that Bean can bring him into bed with him and play with him a bit (he plays in his bed until he gets sleepy), but while he’s playing with it, it casts constellations onto the ceiling, which gives the room a little light and gives him some control over the darkness. It’s like a stuffed animal, a toy, and a nightlight all in one.

I also picked up a little Buzz Lightyear flashlight for Bean, too. This could be a great stocking stuffer or it could be the worst idea I’ve ever had. I got this idea from Ann, too!! Only, she was giving it as advice on a different parenting question! See? She’s one of those brilliant mom friends every parent needs in their life. Ann’s dad used to give his kids flashlights at night when they were little and learning to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The flashlight gave them some incentive to get up out of bed to go to the potty and it also lit the way. Bean’s still fairly far from having to get up in the middle of the night for potty yet, but I thought the flashlight might be a nice solution for the scared of the dark thing, too. Although, this could be a big mistake, so I’ll have to report back to you later. But for a $10.00 little stocking stuffer, I figured it was worth a shot.


Once I got on this theme of making the nighttime un-scary, I decided to pick up a few little gifts for Gracie, too. I knew exactly what I was going to get her right away. A Glow Worm. I had one when I was little. Just like Bean’s new turtle, it’s the perfect blend between a stuffed animal and a nightlight. And it’s super inexpensive, too! $10.00 and Gracie has a sweet little worm to keep her company at night.


I also put a nightlight on Gracie’s Christmas list, too. It’s one of her stocking stuffers. This one is more for me than it is for Gracie, actually. Gracie likes to sleep in pitch black darkness, so we’ve never gotten her a nightlight. But when I go in to check on her at night, I can’t see anything. This nightlight is perfect because it’s really cute, but also because you tap it to turn it on and off. So, I can basically use it like a little lamp when I go in to check on her without turning on a bright light.


One of the best parts of being a mom is being the one to make everything better for my kids and I feel really good about doing something to help Bean get through this scared of the dark phase. Although, I think Santa is going to get the credit for this one…

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16 Thoughts to “Gift Idea: Light Up the Night”

  1. We have that turtle and my son loves to play with it. He’s only 18 mths so he’s not scared of the dark yet (the darker his room is, the better and longer he sleeps) but I like knowing that when this happens, he’ll have his turtle friend ready to help.

  2. I just put new batteries in that turtle! Drew HAS to have a light on to sleep. I really think he’s been afraid of the dark since day 1. We also have a cool night light from Target that’s a turtle and you just set him on the desk and push him on or off. I don’t like the plug in kind because Drew likes to unplug them and try to plug them back in. Freaks me out!

  3. That turtle is really cute! My son is also going through a stage of being scared of the dark. We started off leaving the hallway light on all night but i really wanted to get him a proper nightlight. The one i got him is a Penguin that changes colors and casts a soft glow. He loves it and wont go to sleep without it now! I remember those glow worms – my daughter had one when she was little 🙂

  4. What great ideas! and I totally used a glow worm when I was a kid to not be so scared of the dark. Loved that thing!

  5. My four year old son is genuinely afraid of the dark. He sleeps with his door open, and I have a nightlight in the hallway. For some reason he doesn’t like one in his room. He says it makes shadows. I think the fear of the dark comes with more awareness of surroundings.

  6. Jen

    We have had the “star turtle” as my 3 year calls it since I was pregnant…and we LOVE it. Kason is really into the stars and moon right now so it has the extra coolness of that as well.

  7. One of Hayden’s favorite toys at Michael’s age was a tiger flashlight that roared when he switched the light on (it shone out of the mouth part). I predict the Buzz Lightyear flashlight will be a big hit!

  8. We have the constellation turtle, too, and my 15-month-old son LOVES it. It was a Christmas present last year, but he’s really gotten into it in the past few months. He has come to expect it on when he goes to bed, and he asks for it every night. And when those stars appear on his ceiling, he can’t help but gaze in wonder up at them.

  9. Kristenina

    I’m currently 31 weeks pregnant, and registered for the constellation lady bug for our nursery. I just set it up this weekend, and I love it! We probably won’t be using it for a while, but I think it’s too sweet, and I hope our daughter likes it when she arrives.

  10. Kathleen

    We have the cloud b turtle light too! Got it as a gift when Callan was born and we LOVE it. He’s fascinated by the light, even from his first few weeks of life. Plus its been really helpful to us for nighttime diaper changes. We turn it on instead of the lamp and it keeps him from waking up so its MUCH easier to put him back down in his crib!

  11. Ann G-B

    Yep – Connor was really struggling with going to bed in the dark too this fall. He is just a few weeks younger than Bean. We have nightlight that helped. And he asks me to sit in the rocking chair that is in the living room – basically making sure that I will stay downstairs and not head to bed and shut off all the lights downstairs. But then some friends got him oggz! They are these super cool LED glowing eggs that change color. He can hold one in bed and throughout the night as they lose their charge they get dimmer – they come with a base that can recharge them. They were great when we traveled a lot of the holiday.

  12. HeatherM

    I’m guessing one of your kids is going to learn to outsmart that baby gate pretty soon. Since it’s Christmas, bells are easy to find in stores right now. Put some on a ribbon, tie it to the gate, and you’ll have an audible cue of whenever you have an escape artist. This also works well on the doors into and out of the house, so little ones can’t sneak off without making a distinct noise.

  13. I think I’ll have to try a glow worm, I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it before! Annika has been afraid of the dark lately and I’ve been leaving the hallway light on all night which bugs me since I can see it from my room too.

  14. Eli has a glow worm and he really loves it. We haven’t given it to him at night yet, though, because I don’t want to encourage him playing in his crib. When he gets a little older and if he becomes afraid of the dark, we’ll probably let him sleep with it.

  15. Yay!!! I’m so glad Bean likes Twinkle Turtle! We also call ours Happy Honu, which is the Hawaiian word for turtle. I remember that fear of the dark when I was a kid – the world was big, the sounds were large, and everything was unknown. Glad Twinkle Turtle can help conquer the night! 🙂

  16. Ann G-B

    Picked up the flashlight at Target today!

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