Talk Back: What to do with kids who are scared at night?

Isn't it funny how you can be cruising along in parenthood, feeling like you have it all down and things are smooth sailing, and then - wham - what the heck just happened?


Our "what the heck just happened" is a sudden onslaught of all sorts of bed time struggles. My 5 year old watched a bit of Star Wars (much to my disdain!!!) and is TERRIFIED of Darth Vader coming out of her closet at night. She is also suddenly afraid of fire coming into her room, and has a heightened fear of the dark at night. Ugh. The bedtime struggles start about an hour before bed every night these days. She comes to me with tears in her eyes and says, "I don't want to sleep tonight." We talk. We process. She takes a relaxing bath. We read our bed time books. We pray. We cuddle. We say good night. Then she comes out to tell me she is scared and and we process and hug and say good night again. And again. And again.

So, mamas, this is a very open talk back. I know there have to be more mamas out there dealing with bed time worries and fears. Share your tips, favorite books, tactics, stories here...

What do you do when your kids have a nightmare? What do you do when they are afraid to go to sleep? Do you have any bedtime routines that seem to help?

Help!

6 comments:

  1. We have a "sleeping area" set up at the foot of our bed. The kids are REQUIRED to go to bed in their beds. Then if in the middle of the night, they are scared and come to our room, they know to just lay down on the pallet on the floor and go back to sleep. If we are still awake (which means it was early for them to wake up) we gently walk them back to their beds...give snuggles and try again.

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  2. My kids have never been afraid of the dark but they have been afraid of thunderstorms. I taught them very young to pray when they are afraid. At first I would pray with them, and then they started praying for themselves. We talked about how much God loves them, how He is taking care of them and how nothing can happen to them that isn't okay with God. Most of the time now if there's a storm I go to check on them and they tell me that they were scared but they prayed and Jesus helped them be brave. It's cute. And a good lesson for them to understand. ;)

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  3. I have a rosemary bush in the garden. And as rosemary is supposed to ward off nightmares, I go and pick them a sprig to put under their pillow. Admittedly, this works better in spring and summer when I don't mind hoping outside the backdoor, than in the winter when there's a howling gale! Also, we watched Monsters Inc. which shows that monsters are scared of children.
    We also have anti-nightmare spray (lavender water in a little sqirty bottle) that they can spray to get rid of nightmares so they don't come back.
    I'm wary of giving too much time and attention to nightmares and not sleeping, as it can become a bit too rewarding! So I like to give the children things that they can do themselves. We talk to them on the baby monitor, or at the door, but we try not to go into their bedroom. Night time is for sleeping!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have a rosemary bush in the garden. And as rosemary is supposed to ward off nightmares, I go and pick them a sprig to put under their pillow. Admittedly, this works better in spring and summer when I don't mind hoping outside the backdoor, than in the winter when there's a howling gale! Also, we watched Monsters Inc. which shows that monsters are scared of children.
    We also have anti-nightmare spray (lavender water in a little sqirty bottle) that they can spray to get rid of nightmares so they don't come back.
    I'm wary of giving too much time and attention to nightmares and not sleeping, as it can become a bit too rewarding! So I like to give the children things that they can do themselves. We talk to them on the baby monitor, or at the door, but we try not to go into their bedroom. Night time is for sleeping!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I only have one that wakes up in the middle of the night. She was climbing into bed with us but then i was not getting any sleep so we put an inflatable sleeping bag next to our bed and if she wakes up in the middle of the night she can sleep there. That way she gets the comfort of being in our room and we all get a good nights sleep

    ReplyDelete
  6. I got a Scaremenot for my son that I heard about from a co-worker. I bought Defender Dave online and the day it came, I showed my son the website and read Dave's story and he was so excited. The quality is great but more importantly, he loved Dave and sleeps thru the night every night! You can check out these guys at www.scaremenot.com

    ReplyDelete

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