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Are There Monsters In Your Child's Room?
Monsters under the bed
Most of the children that I have talked with experience night terrors or see monsters in their bedroom. The good thing is they usually grow out of it on their own. I think each child is unique in the way to help them learn to handle the problem. And age or maturity of the little one all effect the way to handle the problem.
I would just like to share my experience with you.
First off, I just want to say that I am not a professional head shrinker, I don't have any Letters at the end of my name. But I have sat by plenty of beds at night talking to children(my children,my grandchildren,little friends of my children) well you get the picture.
The old school way.
You can, of course, try what I call the militant way of dealing with the issue. That is to say, you march your child back to his or her bed and simple keep telling them, "There are no such thing as monsters. Get back in bed and go to sleep." That never works. Well, I mean the child may do what he or she is told but the fear is still there and the child will more than likely will end up lying in the bed half the night, choked up in fear. Yes, eventually, they will grow out of it, but it could years before they learn how to handle it on their own.
Why is that a problem for me?
Because the lack of good quality sleep is going to seriously effect the health and growth of the child. Children under the age of 3 years need about 12 hours of sleep in a day. They may get it all during the night or they need a nap during the day.
My youngest grandson, hardly ever slept during the day. We tried to make him take a nap, he most definitely needed a nap, some days, but but I am sure that we are not the only ones with a little one who refused to nap. Not getting enough sleep, can lead to serious sleep disorders, or your child could develop ADHD. So how do we help our child sleep well on their own? There is, unfortunately, no one right way.
Recommended Hours of Sleep for Children
Hours In 24 Hour Period
You can of course, do it the easy way and lay in the bed with your child until they fall asleep, then go to your own bed. Once a little one falls asleep, they rarely wake up during the night. Unless they have nightmares. Some children do have night terrors. I have found that talking, asking questions, to learn as much as possible about their night terrors is the besy way for the child to learn to deal with them. The more safe and secure they feel, the faster they will get over them.
Sleeping like an angel
How I deal with bedtime
My grandson sometimes has bed dreams, very rarely through, I sit beside him on the bed and get him to lay back down. Then I ask him questions about what his dream was about. Was there a scary man? Did you see a hairy monster? Did you hear a noisy dog barking? A lot of the time, they cannot remember their dream. But asking questions and speaking quietly to him, helps him to relax, and fall back asleep. Yes, I lose sleep this way, but he needs his sleep more than I do. And he hardly ever wakes up after falling asleep. He has trouble falling asleep. He used to be afraid of the dark. Now at age 5, he knows when its bed time, he goes to bed, We talk quietly, I tell him a story, rub his forehead a few minutes and he falls asleep. Yes, I still sit with him. Remember, every child is different and has different needs. He is learning to fall asleep on his own.
If you don't have cable or sound machine, can try one of these cool youtube videos. This one plays for 2 hours. Who will fall asleep first?
My own children
My own children were different. They had their own beds, the two youngest share a room. I put them in bed, turned the nightlight on read them a story or two. Kissed them goodnight and left them to fall asleep on their own. My oldest daughter we let crawl into the bed with us and though we sleep more it was almost impossible to break the habit. Eventually, she grew to a size that made it impossible to share a bed. And I still had to teach her how to sleep on her own. So the next two, always went to sleep in their own beds. There was a 5 years age gap between my first child and then 1 1/2 years between the other two.
Solving the monster mystery
I eventually discovered, from asking questions, that my grandson, was mostly afraid of the shadows in his room. There is a tall bush outside his window and a street light beyond that. And with the curtain closed, it cast a large shadow on the wall, and of course, it moved because of the wind. He thought it was a monster, going to come and get him. After learning this(it took several nights of questions), I showed him the bush thru the window, showed him how the wind was blowing the bush, making it move. Then I showed him the wall and explained about how light behind the bush was making it like a movomg picture on the wall. For a while, every time we were outside in the sunlight, I would point out how he makes a shadow of his own. I would point out different items in the house and showed him the shadows the objects made(my husband had a jacket hanging on the wall in his man cave and from a distance at a certain time of day it looked like a man standing in the shadows)my grandson was terrified of it until I showed him how it was just the shadows. And of course, once he figured it out, he quit paying the shadows much attention. Having a bedtime routine is important for multiply reasons. It gives the child time to accept that it is bedtime and it gives him time to unwind or wind down. There is no one routine to have whatever works for you. But for us, this is our routine, just as an example, about a hour before bedtime we watch a cartoon.
Magic School Bus
His favorites that we allow him to watch at bedtime are
- The Magic School bus
- Busy Town
- Super Why
- Daniel Tiger
- Leap Frog
- The Backyardigans(is one of his favorites, but we do not watch it at bedtime because it makes him to active)
Favorite Bedtime Story Poll
What is your go to bedtime story?
Our Bedtime Ritual
We also have a light snack and a sugar free drink while watching cartoons. Most of the time its popcorn or muffins, nothing that will cause him to become hyper. Then we gather up any toys or his favorite blanket or favorite toy to sleep with and put them in the bed. Last, we do our bathroom routine of brushing teeth and using the toilet. Bath time is usually after dinner and before cartoons.
Then he gets in the bed and I read or tell him a story, he likes to make up stories as we go sometimes, mostly about giants(Jack and the Beanstalk) or the Three Little Pigs). He is way better at falling asleep now than he was a couple of years ago.
In case you are wondering why I am putting him to sleep, His Mom works a third shift job(although she would like a first shift job).
There is no one right way to get your little one to sleep, but helping them first solve them night fears, then developing a nightly routine to ease them into knowing bedtime is coming, will help them get a good night's sleep.
There are a few things that are generally thought to be best avoided before bedtime. Avoid giving your child caffeine before bedtime.
Do not turn the TV on at bedtime.
Avoids sweets close to bedtime.
A good routine and finding the answers to your child's fears will help you have a healthier and happier child. Just realize that it may take a little time to get a routine down that works for you and your family. If you have any tips that have worked for you please share them in the comments below for new parents who may need some advice on bed time routines.