Monday, November 21, 2011

Scary Monsters at Bedtime

My son, who was a great sleeper up until about a year ago, has suddenly started talking about being scared of "monsters" and doesn't want to go to bed. So I did what every mom does when she's stuck: I Googled. Here's what I found.

Q. My 3-year-old is terrified of the "monsters" under his bed  -- it's gotten to the point where he wakes up screaming a couple nights a week. It's exhausting for everyone in the house, and I feel terrible for my child. What can I do to help him get over this fear? Does he need to see a child psychologist?

The short answer, moms, is: Your kid is alright. My Moon Boy is at the age where his imagination has started to develop and everything can be scary... cartoons, shadows on the wall, loud noises, too much excitement.  In public restrooms, he is afraid of automatic flushing toilets and often runs screaming. (Even though it's an extremely funny sight, I never let him see me smiling.) Even with an obsessive amount of night lights, he still claims to be scared at night, so I'm trying new tactics tonight.

Some points in the article stood out to me:
  • Don't dismiss his fears by saying "You're not scared" or "There's nothing to be scared of." Don't tell him "Big boys don't get scared." Instead, explain monsters are only on TV and aren't real.
  • Encourage him to draw or describe the 'monster' and try to find the trigger.
  • Don't chase the monster away by looking under the bed. It will only draw out his fear.
  • You shouldn't blame yourself for your child's fear  -- it's not your fault. Nor do his bad dreams reflect an underlying emotional or psychological problem.

You can read the article here:

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