sleep

How to Help Your Child When They Are Afraid To Go To Bed ....

Both my kids cried last night, afraid to go to bed. ⠀

This is more common for my four-year-old, but from time to time, my six-year-old will have a scary dream as he drifts to sleep and it startles him back awake. ⠀

Here are some tools that I used to help them get to sleep quickly and feel better...⠀

Tool #1 - I normalized their fears. I told them that I could relate to their fears and gave personal examples of times that I had similar fears. ⠀

Fear is so scary because it tells us a story that our fear is unique to us and will last forever. But fear isn’t unique. Fear tells us the same story, which is that we won’t get what we want or we will lose what we have. When we normalize fear, it takes the charge out of it. ⠀

Tool #2 - Bring in humor. After comforting my son and telling him about my own fears, we found the humor in the situation. My son’s fear was that he will die or that my husband and I will die before him. At one point he said, “die can mean two different things. It means not being alive or dying your hair” to which I quickly responded, “I know your big fear is that you’ll dye your hair.” We had a good laugh with that as he cuddled up into my arms. ⠀

Tool #3 - Offer some mindfulness tools that are at your child’s level. For my daughter, we spent a few minutes talking about things we are grateful for and giving appreciations. We also took some nice deep breaths. For my son, we imagined grounding cords going from us into the core of the earth. We also imagined a magnet outside the room sucking away any scary thoughts/dreams. ⠀

Tool #4 - Back tickles and cuddles. There is nothing better than a good snuggle when you are afraid. Spend a few extra minutes to help regulate your child’s nervous system and let their bodies get back to a state of calm. ⠀

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