It is very common for almost all children at some point as they grow up that they develop fears when it comes to going to bed. Sometimes it has to do with the darkness; sometimes it has to do with a feeling of abandonment. Whatever the reason is, it is important to remember that this is very normal and you just have to have the patience to help them deal with these fears. These are our 5 best tips to overcome those bedtime fears and help them embrace bedtime.
Tips to overcome them
Find out what scares them and sympathize with their fears
Most likely our children’s fears might seem unreasonable and silly to us, but the fact is it upsets them and scares them. So it is important as parents to listen to what brings scary thoughts to them and help them tackle those fears. It doesn’t mean that we have to act like there are actually monsters in the room, but listen to it and help them understand that is not the case and push that fear away.
Talk it out
Once you know what worries them, try to talk with them about the actual facts. If your little one is scared of the dark, ask what he or she thinks could happen while the bedroom is dark? Why would it change from what they see during the day?
Make fun of the monsters
If monsters are your children’s big fear, then it is time to make fun of those bad boys. After talking about it and realising that as much as the fear inside them might grow is a scary idea, they can always listen to what they know to remember that is an unnecessary fear; now is the moment to have some fun about them. Talk about those monster. Do they come from a scary movie? A nightmare? Well, now you can make fun of them, you can mock them, imagine them wearing weird ears, clown shoes or wearing colourful clothes. Turn that moment around; make it fun and imaginative, that way your kid will slowly go to bed in a more positive mood.
Think about positive things for the next day
The classic idea that we all heard as kids: “think about beautiful things” actually works. Especially when it comes to focusing on things they are actually excited about. A game they want to play the next day, an upcoming holiday, or a party that is coming soon, or even having fun with their best friend.
We can help them drive their attention to those kinds of positive thoughts that can be extended as much as they want because it is about imagining and creating positive plans. Sometimes at the beginning those positive things can be turned around by those negative thoughts, but they will slowly learn to control those fears.
If the problem is darkness, be flexible
Fear of darkness is one of the most common fears when it comes to problems at bedtime. Sometimes as parents we end up giving in and letting them fall asleep with the lights on or the door open so the light from the rest of the house can get in. This is not actually the best idea, as it doesn’t allow them to fully rest, and also doesn’t help them overcome a fear. The best option is to slowly regulate the light, make it lower also as they are getting ready to go to bed. Once they get use to it, gradually move on to night lights somewhere in the room, closing the door and finally using just a tiny light placed lower than the bed just in case they wake up in the middle of the night and they need to use the bathroom or they are not feeling so good.
As we said, this is a process that requires patience and that can be overcome with love and support.
Us as parents have dealt with this same problem, and that is why we came up with our bedtime app for little children Fireflies. It helps them relax before bed, understand darkness in a fun way and enjoy the moments before bedtime.