Nighttime fears…Don’t leave me, mummy, don’t make me go to bed…..pleaseeeee stay with me. I am scared of the monsters in my room. All children have moments in their lives when it’s really hard for them to be away from you especially at night. It is a long time to be without mummy or daddy.
It is normal to have nighttime fears, but sometimes your child struggles with difficulty in falling asleep and just does not want to go to bed.
I am going to show you how to remodel the monster stories and help with my checklist on how to overcome their fears. Click on the picture to hear an audio on my top tips to help your child now and attend my parent workshop on Parenting your Child with Anxiety, click here for Events
To overcome their fears, your child will need to have:
- A well-developed sense of time (“when will I see Mommy again?”)
- The ability to regulate their emotions and feelings.
- The ability to distinguish fact from fantasy.
Remember your child’s brain is still developing the capacity to regulate emotions. and sense of time. This does not start until they are 5 or 6, so they are going to feel anxious and it’s normal. This is why reassurance is ineffective.
Help them to be the “boss” of their worries. Work out a strategy with them to help combat the monsters. This has to happen before they go to bed, so sit down when it’s quiet during the day. Arrange a family meeting to discuss sleep and bedtime routines.
Help them distinguish between fact and fantasy. Show them what is real in their room and what is a toy.
Don’t get cross with the worry, empathize with your child first. It’s best not to ask why they are worried, your child does not often know why, but you can say:
- “I know you are feeling scared right now, or I know it’s horrible to be afraid”
- “I am going to help you, What can I do to help you? ”
- Sometimes, your child won’t have an answer or they may say I want you to stay with me.
- You can respond, does that really help the worry? “Tell me one thing about the worry”?
- “What about the monsters”
- What do you think they will do?”
Following their bath, fight the fear, massage them prior to going to bed, this gives your child a shot of the calming hormone oxytocin. Help them to feel relaxed during the day. Teach relaxation. ( I will put on a relaxation audio soon)
To help with monsters,Can they have a torch? Do they have a monster spray to kill the monsters.? With many parents. I have suggested that they have something of yours to snuggle with such as an old tea shirt or soft jumper. Do they have a cuddly toy.? You could tell them that their toy will help them to feel safe.
Can you do a CD in your voice of their favourite story.? If your children are older, it’s something that they can switch on if they wake up.
Most children can manage their fears from time to time but if your child has persistent fears, research informs us that they are probably managing anxieties and other emotional dysregulation during the day too. So it’s good to get help.
Be the best parent you can be, do one action today to help your child or children feel safe, secure and loved.
With Love Catherine
If you need help, then do contact me for a consultation or sign up for my online parenting workshops coming out in Early 2017.