Help your child overcome their bedtime fears and nightmares
For many children Halloween is one of the most fun times of year. But for others, images of witches, ghosts and ghouls can linger in their little minds and cause bedtime fears and nightmares. When kids don't sleep, parents don't sleep and the whole household suffers. Nightmares and bedtime worries are most common among children aged three to eight, because this is when normal fears and imaginations both start to develop. And while most children grow out of it as they get older, there are things you can do to help tackle the problem.
The key to helping your child to overcome bedtime fears and nightmares is reassurance, and lots of it. Try to talk to your child and find out what they are worried about. It may be something they have seen, particularly at a time like Halloween when there are so many frightening images around, or something they saw on television or screen. Talking to them may also uncover a deeper issue. Perhaps something that is bothering them at home or at school. It's important not to dismiss your child's fears as silly or ridiculous. To them, they are very real. Explain calmly and rationally why things such as Halloween or a scary film are nothing to be worried about.
Another tactic is a good bedtime routine which includes 15 to 20 minutes of quiet time with you before bed. Make sure their bedroom is a relaxing, inviting and safe haven for them. Childrens beds should be comfortable and cosy too. Settle down next to your childrens beds and read a story together or chat for a while before sleep to help allay any fears and reassure them. But do be firm if they whine and moan and beg you to stay. Tell them you want to spend 15 minutes of special time together but do not give in if they plead for you to stay. Setting and sticking to boundaries will help develop a good routine, which is essential for good sleep patterns.
Injecting some magic into your child's bedroom could help override those negative feelings. Childrens beds and bedrooms can be a place to create a magical haven filled with princesses, unicorns, castles, whatever your child is into. Consider something super fun like a cabin bed with slide, and who doesn't love bunk beds for kids? Bunk beds for kids are great for siblings who share, with the proximity of another person helping to ease bedtime worries.
Giving your child an effective 'sleep partner' such as a teddy or other stuffed animal could also help. Tell your child that the soft toy is there to comfort or protect them at night. Or try introducing a worry doll. Children can tell their worries to the dolls and place them under their pillow, so the doll can do the worrying for them. Giving away the feelings to an inanimate object can be a wonderful way of unloading the weight of the worry. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved.
Hopefully, with reassurance and communication, a good routine and comfortable childrens beds and bedrooms, any phase of bedtime worries and nightmares will be short lived so the household can go back to getting a good night's sleep.