Right around the age of three many parents will begin to hear from their kids that their room is filled nightly with monsters, ghosts and “scary things”. It is perfectly normal for kids of this age and even a little older to have fears of things they don’t understand. Some children are better at understanding just want those shadows and sounds really are while others need a little help. Here are some great ideas for helping to ease night time fears. Remember that to your child these are very real things. Don’t discourage them by telling them that they are ust being silly or dumb. Validate them and give them tools to cope with their fears.
Monster Spray is a very kid friendly way to banish those bad guys for good. In a large baby food jar or other jar with a lid, add water and a small amount of extra fine scrapbook glitter in a few colors. In our family we have used purple glitter for monsters, white for ghosts and pink for the other things that go bump in the night. While mixing it, talk about why your child is so scared and give them confidence that this is going to be the cure. You might find out that he or she is very scared of the shadows that would appear as cars drove by and their headlights beamed across his window. This gives you great insight into the specifics and allows you to do other things to help lessen the shadows such as adding a night light or getting new drapes.
Then, after you are done put the lid on the jar, shake it and set it in the warm sun to bake. The glitter will swirl around and catch the light (kids see this as magic and adds to the confidence building). That night spray your monster spray, which you have placed into a small spray bottle, around the room. Some parents also like to add some essential oil so that the “smell” is another sign to the child that the monster spray is in their room.
Show them the Source
If your child is a little more mature, you may be able to “show” them what is making the shadows and noises in their room. Some parents have been known to even take their kids outside in their P.J.’s to show them the cars passing by with their lights on or the air conditioning compressor out side the house. Some children do really well with the real facts.
Draw it Out
Kids can express a lot through art. Giving your child a large piece of paper and crayons or markers and asking them to draw what they are afraid of can be a great tool for expression. Allow them to draw and then ask them to tell you what they have created. Once they have expressed their drawing to you, ask questions. Some kids like to have their art hung in a place where they can see it others may ask to have their art put some place else, like out in the garage so that the monsters are not in their room. Allow them to make the choice.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, this is a great way to empower your children and help them ease their night time fears. If as a parent you still are seeking other ways to ease fears, the Dr. Sears website features a list of ways to manage normal childhood fears of things like going to bed in the dark or being away from mom and dad.