Fear of the dark? How to deal with your child’s nightmares

Nightmares, dreams in general, occur during a sleeping phase called REM (rapid eye movement). Why we have nightmares remains a mystery but some studies have shown that stress, overtiredness, being exposed to a difficult or scary situation during the day we have not yet processed might be the cause.     

 

sleeping well

Dealing with my son’s nightmares...

… he calls them scary dreams – was somewhat of a challenge. One thing I knew for sure: he was afraid in the dark. Well, I have to admit he still is a bit, but we are working at it (tell you later how).

Fear of the dark is quite common during toddlerhood and my son has a nightlight so I didn’t understand at first why all of a sudden, he refused to sleep alone in his room. I thought that issue was solved a year ago. We talked it over and slowly, very slowly I got the truth out of him.

Two weeks ago he slept over at my parents’ house while they babysitted my niece. She is two years older than my son (6, he is 4) and very precocious for her age. She is also very proud to be the “older one” and likes to teach my son all kind of new stuff. Which is good. Only this time it wasn’t. This time she taught him where to find and use a well-hidden remote. 

…Don’t get me started!

The kids were overexcited after going to a fair with their grandparents (who were exhausted, and went to bed, forgetting to check before if the kids have fallen asleep. Grrr!). In the middle of the night (around 2 AM) my Dad had to pee and discovered that the two little devils were watching TV! The volume was down and the second my niece saw him coming through the door she switched it off. He told me about what happened next morning as I came by to pick my son up. He was laughing about his granddaughter so cleverly managing to find the remote – what a bright kid. Clearly I was not amused. Too many joints during college, Dad, your synapses are out of sync! (And for heaven’s sake, have your prostate checked; Mom says you wake her up a zillion times during the night when you have to pee!)

Anyway, when I finally found out (from my niece, because my son refused to talk about it or lied he couldn’t remember) what they were watching that night I freaked out. A horror movie! With zombies!!! Grrr reloaded.

fear

I talked it over and over with my son.

I told him what he saw were actors wearing scary Halloween masks doing stupid things only to scare other people. Zombies don’t exist. Therefore they cannot come in his room during the night and eat him alive.

He wasn’t overly impressed with my logic. But then I remembered something I read in a parenting magazine or blog: “If the child is afraid in the dark, make being in the dark fun”. So I hid some of his toys, switched the lights off in his room and encouraged him to find them. My son loves treasure hunts and we play now this game regularly. Whoever came up with this idea, thanks galore! Your method helped.

I now avoid reading scary fairy tales (Grimm Bros, what’s wrong with you?!) to my son (and hide the remote in my night table). He likes scary stories, but I’m taking no chances. Why shall I plant that kind of stuff in his imagination? Personally, I am sure that this genre of fairy tales are just perfect for triggering nightmares. By the way…

that’s how I came up with my first eBook “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star – Adventure in the Sky”.

I want my son to fall asleep with something kind, soothing, harmonizing in mind.

However he keeps pestering me that he wants stories about monsters. With zombies he has a problem, but monsters are cool (he learned that from his cousin). Well, too bad for him, because that’s not going to happen. As a compromise I asked the Zoomers to create a memory playbook featuring monsters which we can play during the day and we now have a truce.

monster family
mouse monster
little monsters

If you wish, you can contact us and get it for free. It’s called “Monster Family” (sweet, adorable monsters, don’t you worry) and I am sure your kids will love it as well.

you could do us a favor...

… if it’s not too much of a burden – by letting us know when:

Your child reaches the LAST PAGE (the most difficult one, with 20 cards), and only AFTER she or he won the game for the 1st time…

  1. How long did it take (within a minute or so, you don’t need a stopwatch) to win again?
  2. The age of the child (preferably in months).

We would be so immensely grateful!

With all our love,

Twixxie Twinklefy  (twinklefyplaybooks@gmail.com) 

 & the Zoomers

 

… and don’t forget to check out our wonderful, new SweetDreams Playbook Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star – Adventure in the Sky – helping children to wind down and falling asleep easily.

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