Do your little monsters struggle with getting to sleep at night? Below is some really useful advice for battling bedtime gremlins and finally getting the rest you deserve. Sweet dreams!
The Closet Monster… and how to put it to bed! (Guest Post)**
Once your child has taken the huge leap from parents’ room to their very own space, it can take a period of re-adjustment for the whole family.
For some children, especially those who don’t share their bedroom with a sibling, it can take a little longer to settle into their new single beds.
Here are a few ways of dealing with sleepless children and the monsters that sometimes hide in their cupboards!
If a child seems frightened to go to bed, and becomes clingy when bedtime approaches, it might be a sign of insecurity — particularly if they have just started nursery, are meeting other young children and learning how to play for the first time. Or perhaps they have heard disagreements in the home which they are not certain of how to deal with. Taking time without any distractions, lots of cuddles and a few well worded questions and explanations, may well be all that is needed to allay their fears.
Some children fear being left alone in the early days of sleeping in their own room. Reassure them by telling them you will check up on them every 10 minutes or so. This way, they can relax knowing that it won’t be long before you pop your head round the door to make sure the monsters aren’t roaming around!
Try to avoid using the bedroom as a place of punishment during the day or children can associate their rooms with unpleasantness. Keep hold of the naughty step as opposed to the naughty room!
Never laugh at your child when they tell you about monsters. We all know how vivid children’s imaginations are: monsters in the wardrobe really do exist to some active minds! Making a point of checking the wardrobe at bedtime or making up a story about how all dragons and monsters go to a special land far away every evening, may help soothe the fears of an over active imagination.
Make sure there is a night light in the room for children afraid of the dark. This also helps if they need to get up in the night to use the bathroom and stops the inevitable toe stubs in the dark for you too!
For very young children, a comforter or an old item of clothing from mum or dad may reduce stress at bedtime with something that smells nice and familiar to them. However, old socks are not the familiar scent that we are aiming for here!
Try suggesting a ‘starting off dream’ for your child. Have them imagine what it would be like to live in a world full of cake, or what they would do at school all day if there were no teachers. These are distraction techniques that might just work!
Many children go through stages of insomnia and fear of the dark. Some are genuinely scared, other children might be craving a little attention. Either way, even if you have to dress up as St George with a tin foil helmet and plastic sword and wrestle that beast in the cupboard all by yourself, it will be worth it for peace of mind and a decent night’s sleep for all the family!
**Featured guest post courtesy of Bedstar.co.uk
Picture: Jed asleep in Santa suit