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3 Techniques for Calming Bedtime Fears

Calming Bedtime Fears

It is very common for children to become fearful of going to sleep at bedtime.  Most of the time, everything is going beautifully and then suddenly, a child becomes very fearful claiming they cannot go to sleep with the lights off.   In my years as an educator and parent coach, it seemed to happen more often right around the age of three.  This is a rapid time of development for children where they can struggle to make sense of the deeper comprehension they have of the world, especially when paired with their still three-year-old problem solving skills.

Remember that this is a scary time in your child’s mind so they may not want to talk about it or may not have the exact words to communicate what is going on.  They may try distraction techniques such as asking for a glass of water, needing to use the bathroom, or calling for you with a question.

Regardless of how they communicate their bedtime fears, here are three techniques to help you ease bedtime fears:

1.  “Magic Mist”:   Take a small spray bottle and fill it with water.  Tell your child it is filled with Magic water, spray it over their bed and toss a few extra spritzes in around their room before they go to bed.  The Magic Mist takes all the scary or bad thoughts or dreams away.  Modify the messaging to fit your child’s bedtime fears.

2.  Dream Catcher: This is a strategy with history to it…find a dream catcher, read about the history of them, and place it in your child’s room.  You may hang it on their door knob, off their bed, or even above their headboard.  The Dream Catcher will catch all of their bad dreams so they never bother them again.

3. Build a Force Field:  This is a great tip for young boys and a great way to make Dad a savior when his idea works for making his little guy feel safe.  Take Legos, building blocks, or use your imagination to build a “Force Field Wall” around your child’s bed. You can also build it at their door if needed.  The Force Field will keep your little boy safe and stop bad dreams or thoughts from entering.  If you do use actual items to build a Force Field, just build them a couple inches high…they will understand and feel safe regardless of how high their protective barrier is.

The most important thing to remember about these strategies is that they are temporary.  Use them as you would any support strategy and implement it more frequently in the beginning and fade it back as they become more secure.  Within two weeks, your child will stop asking for it as often and let that be your guide to reduce the frequency of how often you use these strategies.

If you have any questions about these strategies, feel free to leave a comment and we will reply to you.

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