Nighttime Fears

Yes, we were the family with the water bottle labeled “Monster Repellent” in a desperate attempt to allay that nighttime fear. A little more than a year ago our 3-year-old woke up and refused to get out of her bed because she firmly believed there was a monster in her room. Over a year later, those fears are gone and not missed… it took us quite a while to learn how to manage the fear and help her get over it. How do you deal with your child’s nighttime fears?

Monster Spray can work well for kids, depending on how good you are at selling it and how believing your child is. It failed for ours unfortunately, as she stated after smelling it, that it was “just water.” So we recommend adding some Febreze to that spray, and hope you have better luck.

We mentioned some helpful ways of dealing with those childhood nighttime fears back when our family was dealing with them and got positive feedback. So we thought we would share them again! Here goes:

First, decide whether to 1) agree with their normal childhood delusion that monsters are real or 2) continue to reassure that monsters do not exist. Next, reassure your child he or she is safe, no matter their belief or nighttime fear. Let them tell you their fears but not to dwell. These fears are normal, so just be there for them through it.

I tried the second option before I finally gave up the fight I could not win, after about a year. We began reassuring our child that monsters were not allowed in our home and never had been. Months later, she reminded me that “monsters aren’t allowed in our house mommy” during a discussion in which monsters came up again. Fighting the delusion that monsters exist does no good for most children, but giving them a way to feel safe, no matter what phrase, story, reassurance or mantra you use, provides them a way to deal with their monsters and feel less fearful. Until they outgrow it!

Click here for an article that has some really helpful info and tips, as well as discussion about older kids’ fears.

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