aka The Frazzled Mom
Are your kids afraid of the dark? You’re not alone.
Have you searched online for a solution, any solution, that would help relieve their fears and help them to just.go.to.sleep! Yeah, I have. Here is the advice I’ve found:
1) Talk to them rationally and calmly.
2) Reassure them that you are there anytime they need you.
3) Do not pretend to vanquish monsters from the room.
4) Stay with them for a few minutes. Then check on them later, maybe 5 or 10 minutes later.
5) Provide them with a night light.
I’ve tried these. Admittedly, when there was no result, I had grown frustrated.
1) Talk to him rationally? That would be great, if he’d actually listen. But instead, he works himself up to a near anxiety attack.
2) Reassure him? Done that as well. I’ve reminded him I’m only two rooms away if he needs me. All he needs to do is call.
3) Never pretended there were monsters.
4) Stayed with him to talk and have checked on him multiple times.
5) He has a star light (from Ikea) and another light, but still wants the bathroom light on. And even that isn’t enough for him.
I know I’m not alone. But there are some that give advice, believing it is easy. Do they realize that mommy has only a short amount of personal time in the evening? And the longer it takes for the kids to go to bed and sleep, the less time she has for herself.
So, with all of this frustration, I’m trying something new. We’ve done it for two days and, so far, no panic attacks.
1) Television goes off one hour before bed. (I’m also strict on what he watches. It may seem mean to some, but those innocent cartoons sometimes do provide material for nightmares)
2) During that last hour, we spend some time craft out some project. The first night, it was paper plate masks. We made a lion. The second night, we put together a bead octopus.
3) When the last fifteen minutes arrive, they picks some books and we sit down to read. On the second night, I setup a Toddler station on Pandora to listen to while we read.
He still has the fear, but has gone to bed easier than on previous nights. The other benefit, quality time with the kids that I won’t get when they’ve grown. Win, win.
To update on the above: It has been nearly a week of this routine. He has not complained, but has accepted our schedule. And, he hasn’t had nearly as much trouble going to bed.
A therapist suggesting asking specific things about his day. Discover the root of the problem and the anxiety might diminish. I haven’t discovered any issues personally, but I will keep this advice in mind.