It can be frustrating as a parent when your child refuses to go to sleep. However, as children grow older and develop their imaginations, they may be more prone to developing fears when it comes to falling asleep. Before writing your child’s actions off as a stall tactic to avoid going to bed, determine if your child has legitimate fears. If you find that your child is too scared to fall asleep, here are some easy, yet effective ways to help resolve those fears.
- Avoid making fun of your child’s fear. Instead, listen to your child and have them explain exactly what they are scared of. Often times, a simple explanation as to why your child’s fear is irrational is enough to calm them down.
- If it is the dark that your child is afraid of, consider leaving a night light in the room. If a night light is not effective enough, leave the door slightly ajar so that light from the hallway seeps into the room. This helps your child to know that you are on the other side of the door and not disappearing into some vast unknown in their minds.
- Make the fear into something fun. Use a “monster repellant” to ward off monsters that may be lurking in the closet. To use this method, simply put water and a drop of food coloring in a clear spray bottle. Go through the room before your child goes to sleep and “repel” the monsters. Another method is to use glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceilings. Explain that the stars are “watching over” your child and will protect them.
- Do not allow your children to watch scary movies. The movies will only encourage your child’s fears as they are unable to decipher fact from fiction at a young age. If it is real on television, it is real to them.
- Encourage a regular bedtime with a regular ritual. Children are creatures of habit and keeping a regular routine will help your child to feel calm and settled at night. If possible, let a family pet sleep in the room with your child. This will help your child to feel safe and as a bonus will give your pet “a purpose.”
Many children develop fears that keep them from going to sleep at night. By listening to your child’s fears and addressing them appropriately instead of making fun of your child, you are well on your way to helping them ease their fears. Some children do well with a night light while others may need a bit more reassuring. Keeping a regular routine in the house will help your child remain calm at bedtime and will help your night flow more easily.