What To Do When Your Child Starts Seeing Ghosts

by Robin Wang
Originally Published: 
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I have a three-year-old with a speech delay. Her vocabulary has increased significantly since she started a special preschool program, but she’s not talking in fluent sentences yet. So when things go wrong, it’s usually a game of twenty questions to figure out what happened.

About three weeks ago, my daughter started complaining that her room was too dark at night. I knew at this age kids become more aware of the scariness of the dark so I had no issue with allowing her a small night light. All seemed well until the other day. We put her to bed only for my husband to run into the room minutes later because she was screaming like I’ve never heard her scream before.

He asked what was wrong, and Rachel pointed at her bookcase and said with a look of utter terror in her eyes, “ghost.” My husband and I both believe in spirits and ghosts so this wasn’t something we were going to brush off, nor were we going to belittle our child by saying there’s no such thing as ghosts. So my husband picked her up and brought her over to the bookcase. He pointed out different shadows created by her nightlight, but the look on her face was one of sheer panic. He brought her back to bed and stayed with her until she settled down and eventually drifted off to sleep.

After doing some research, a consensus among different articles and blogs was to have the child talk about what they saw as well as to draw what they saw. So the next morning I sat down with her and I asked if I could find out more about this ghost. She said yes, so I asked if the ghost was a boy or girl.

Without hesitation, she answered it was a girl. I then asked, “Was she small like you or big like me?” She said small. I asked what clothes she was wearing and she replied, “Green shirt.” She wasn’t able to answer what color hair she had. I also asked if the girl was always there and she said, “No. Dark.”

I then asked her if the girl ghost was a friend, and she replied stone cold, “No.” At this point, I was honestly shaken so I asked if she would be willing to draw the girl. She agreed. As she started coloring, she said “no hands.” I asked what she meant and she said, “No hands. Cut.”

I asked, “Her hands were cut?” She said yes. She then said, “No arms.”

Robin Wang

I asked what happened to the girls arms and she said, “Broke. Boo-boo.” So not only was there a ghost supposedly in my daughter’s room, but a wounded ghost at that. The last addition to her drawing was an attempt at letters which she then informed me was the girl’s name. At this point, I was panic-texting my husband and I nicely moved Rachel on to another activity. Luckily this topic didn’t come up for the rest of the day.

My husband and I agreed that, for her bedtime that evening, we would both stay with her until she was comfortable. We also ended up turning on a brighter light for her. I told her repeatedly that she’s safe. I told her there are dream catchers in her room to help protect her, as well as a jade figurine for good luck. She was clearly panicky and my words were doing nothing to help calm her. So we tried to work through this the best we could.

We asked if there was something scaring her in the room. She responded, “Ghost.” We asked where was the ghost and this time, without any hesitation, she pointed to underneath her train table. My husband knelt down and told the ghost to go away. This did nothing to settle Rachel. She picked up one of her dinosaur toys and put it underneath the table, facing where she said the ghost was. I told her that was a fantastic idea!

I said, “Let’s put all your dinosaur toys around the table so the ghost can’t get out. The dinosaurs will protect you.” She then proceeded to help me put the toys all around. She seemed much calmer now. After a few more minutes, she was relaxed in bed and we said goodnight. When we left, she whimpered a little, but there was no more screaming or any other issue for the night.

I don’t know where this is ghost drama is going. I don’t know how long Ghosty plans on hanging around. I don’t know if tonight the dinosaurs are going to be enough to calm her. All I know is I’m barely sleeping. Any noise from the monitor, any slight cry from her, anything at all, has me or my husband checking her room. I can’t even stand being in her room now. I woke her up this morning and said, “Let’s get ready in the living room today.” I then closed the door and locked it.

Kids seeing ghosts is a thing. How you deal with it is up to you and your family. I can tell you though, don’t tell your child not to be scared. Let them be scared, but tell them they’re safe. And if getting them to bed takes even longer, so be it. Just be patient and brave for them.

Then once they’re okay with you leaving the room, get on your computer and research how to get rid of ghosts. I hear sage works well.

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