Why is my child afraid to sleep?
Nightly fears and nightmares are very common in children: mainly when they have not yet gone to school, but also young people may suffer. They are part of the normal development process because the child’s imagination process begins to develop and they become aware that there are also things that can hurt them. Sometimes certain fears and nightmares arise because of a traumatic event (such as light), such as fear of a big dog or a traffic crash by looking at the news. But sometimes it just seems to come from nothing. Family conflicts and stressed or anxious parents also play a part. All that makes a child more emotional will affect his or her fears and make the child worried. Children often develop certain fears during specific phases of development. Younger children are usually afraid of monsters and other imaginary beings, while older children are afraid of more realistic dangers such as burglars or a natural disaster.
Some children notice that they can delay their bedtime by pretending to be afraid. But most young people with sleep problems are suffering from an anxiety disorder; These are usually children who also worry about things they are afraid of or try to avoid during the day.
How should you respond when your child has nightmares?
After your child has had a terrifying nightmare, you as a parent should reassure your child.This is mainly the case with younger children. As the child grows older, it’s important that you as a parent learn the child to cope with his or her fears. Unfortunately, you’re not always near when your son or daughter has a nightmare, because it may be best for your child to stay in camp or to stay with a knowledge of the night. It does not matter how old your child is, when you rest assured you will help them a lot and provide a sense of security.
There are also many other things you can do to help your child. For example, younger children find support with their hugs and feel safe when their favorite blanket is wrapped around them. Also a small night light in your child’s bedroom and learning relaxation techniques can make miracles. Ask your child to imagine a relaxing situation, such as making sandcastles on the beach or watching the sunset. Children can use their imagination to calm down and fall asleep after a terrifying dream. In addition, you can also ask them to think of an alternative end to their nightmare, hang a dream catcher over their bed who hunt all the “bad dreams” or draw their nightmares and then crush the paper and throw them away in the trash can.
What should I do if my child says he or she is too scared to go to sleep?
- Listen and try to understand the fears of your child . Do not wipe your child or make them ridiculous. It is important to understand the situation.
- Restore your child We can not emphasize enough how important it is to reassure your child. Always make your child clear that it’s safe.
- Teach your child with the fears to go and discuss alternative ways the child can react, such as being “brave” or thinking of positive thoughts. You can also talk about how you deal with something that you are afraid of. Make sure your child learns enough role models by reading stories about children who are afraid and eventually overcome their fears.
- Make fun in the dark. Show your child that it may be fun during the night. Play hide and seek Do a treasure hunt and look for objects that give light in the dark.
- Ask your child to use his or her imagination to combat imaginary fears, such as monsters. Many families have already invented an anti-monster spray to chase out the evil creatures from the room. Some children feel better when they have a pet at night, even a small aquarium can already help. If possible, try to involve your child in the solutions you think so that he or she gets a sense of control.
- Try to attach your child to an object where they feel safe in bed like a hugs animal.This can help your child relax during the night and when bedtime.
- Avoid spooky television programs. Keep your children away from scary television series, movies or other stories they’re afraid of.
- Teach your child relaxation techniques so that he or she can calmly fall asleep. For example, you can ask your child to imagine a relaxing situation like lying on the beach or eating an ice cream together. This gives them something different to think about while lying in bed and distracting them from their terrifying thoughts. It is also physically impossible to be afraid and relax at the same time.
- During the day, talk to your child about his or her fears and how to feel less scared at night. In addition, you can build up your child’s confidence during the day. Does your child feel confident during the day? Then there is a chance that he or she will feel safer at night.
- Know where the boundary is. Although you are likely to reassure and comfort your child at all times, you must know where the boundary is. This is necessary to prevent the “I’m afraid” behavior of your child to be strengthened in other situations. Try to encourage behavior by your child by reminding him or her that “it is not known or screamed when bedtime is”.
- Try to keep your child in bed. Do not motivate your child to get up and seek help. He or she must stay in bed and discover that it is really safe so that the fears can be overcome. If necessary, you can stay in the room for a while until your child has fallen asleep. Do not do this too often, or even two nights in a row, or your child will soon be dependent on your presence. But if your child enters your room in the middle of the night, it is important that you immediately return him or her and put back in bed gently.
- If your child is worried when leaving the room, take a regular look at how he or she is doing. It’s better to go on a fixed predictive interval like every 5 or 10 minutes so your attendance does not depend on when your child is weeping or calling to you.
- Rotate the rollers. Some children feel scared at night because they get a lot of attention and stimulate the sense of fear that way. If this is the case, you must turn the roles. Tell your child how proud he or she is to be brave. Think of a reward system where your child gets a star whenever he or she goes well and is quiet during the night.After your child earns a number of stars, he or she can exchange for a reward like watching a favorite movie, playing outside in the park or baking delicious chocolate cookies.