Hi TT&J readers! My name is Meredith, and I’m back with some ideas to help you help your kids conquer their night time fears. I blog over at Perfection Pending where I enjoy helping other mothers realize they don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be the mom they were meant to be — A REAL one.
In our house, we’ve been struggling with night time fears for a while. With three kids 10 and under, someone always seems to be waking up in the middle of the night scared. And, since I’m not a big fan of sharing my bed, and I’m not a big fan of sharing a twin bed with my kids, I needed some solutions for helping my kids conquer their night time fears.
While it’s important to teach kids to self-soothe when they’re babies, it’s just as important to help kids conquer their night time fears independently and fall back to sleep even when they might be a little scared. I reached out to my Facebook readers for some ideas and these ideas are great for little and big kids that will help them conquer their night time fears and go back to sleep on their own.
Help them discover exactly what they are afraid of – There is a long list of things that children can be afraid of at night, and many of those things are just age appropriate fears they have to work through. Try to get to the root of the problem. Is there a scary shadow in their room, or a noise they are hearing every night outside? If you can help them discover exactly what they are afraid of, it will give you ideas for how you can help.
Monster spray – My boys, who are younger would probably go for this, but I’m not sure my ten year old would. Simply take a spray bottle and fill it with water and some essential oil (like lavender that has a calming scent) and keep it by your kid’s bed at night. Tell them they can spray it to keep the monsters away, or spray it when you’re putting them to bed to calm fears.
Fairy lights or Christmas lights – Night lights are great, but I think sometimes kids who are overly anxious might need a little more in their room. Hang some white lights above their bed for some extra comfort at night.
Let them sleep with music on – My oldest is a big fan of this one. Think about letting them listen to spiritual music, or instrumental music as they fall asleep, or keep a radio by their bed that has a timer that they can switch on in the middle of the night if they get scared.
Keep a flashlight close – Sometimes kids just need some extra reassurance that the shadows in their room aren’t really that scary. Let them sleep with a flashlight in their bed to shine on that silly shadow that is keeping them awake.
Hang a dream catcher – For kids who suffer from bad dreams, this is a great idea. Teach them about the idea behind a dream catcher, and buy a small one that they can keep beside their bed. When they wake up, reassure them that the dream catcher is working.
Buy a fairy door – A friend of mine suggested this idea, and I love it. Purchase a fairy door for the bedroom wall and let your child know that the fairy comes out at night to protect them and watch over them in their sleep.
Pray with them – Teaching a child that he or she can pray is a great way to calm fears. Remind them that they don’t have to get out of bed to say a prayer in their heart and have Jesus keep them safe.
Get them a special stuffed animal or something of yours to sleep with- For the child with new fears, let them pick out a new stuffed animal that will help keep them safe, and something they can squeeze at night when they are scared. Involve your child in picking it out. You could also let your child sleep in a t-shirt of yours, or have a picture of you near their bed as a comfort.
Try a white noise machine – We have a small house, and it’s easy to hear lots of different noises at night. Get a white noise machine that will help drown out any noises that might be keeping your child awake, or waking him up at night.
Good reading material – For my daughter, who loves to read at night, we like to keep spiritual reading material next to her bed for the nights that she can’t fall back asleep when she wakes up scared. Watch what your kid reads right before bed too, because even age appropriate books might have things that are scaring them. Keep a little reading lamp, or light next to their bed with a book, or kid magazine that they can look at and distract themselves at night.
Teach them that they are in control – My son is highly anxious at night, and a few things that have worked for him are teaching him to take control of his own thoughts. I have also taught him deep breathing exercises to calm himself down, and we also had him choose his own “happy place” (which happens to be playing video games) that he can think of when he’s worrying or trying to fall asleep.
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Thanks Meredith! Those are some great ideas. I remember that stage well when my kids were younger. Make sure to follow Meredith and visit Perfection Pending