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FAQ- How can I ease my child’s fear of monsters?

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Question: FAQ- How can I ease my child’s fear of monsters?
Why is my son so afraid of monsters at night? How can I help him to overcome his fears and stay in bed?
Answer: Imaginations are wonderful, it gives our lives color and lets us be whoever we want. Between ages two and five, our imaginations are developing at an incredible rate. Now we can play pretend, tell stories, and draw fantastic pictures. But there is a downside to imagination. Now we can imagine the things that scare us. Images children see on television, in books, or at the store can morph into the scary and unknown at night.

We all know that this is just a phase, but there is a way to help them move past their fears.

Avoid Scary Images During the Day Keep a close eye on what your children watch on TV during the day. A lot of these imagined monsters are born in the images that bombard our children every day. Try to find what may scare them. There are things that may be benign in our view, but for some reason scare the living daylights out of our children. A lot of cartoons and children’s movies have serious bad guys in them. For a lot of children that’s fine, but for the ones who are battling monsters in their imagination every night, these bad guys could be the fodder for your child’s fear.

Acknowledge the Fear, Not the Monster Explain to them that you understand their fear is real, and you understand why they’re scared. However, try to avoid validating that a monster really could be there. Looking through the bedroom for the imaginary monster, or making up something to “scare” the monsters away can validate the idea that a monster really is there. Instead, explain that it’s normal to be scared of monsters and that Mommy and Daddy used to have this fear too. Then, try to explain the difference between reality and fantasy.

Avoid Put-Downs Phrases like “don’t be a baby”, and “big boys don’t get scared of monsters” will just make this worse. Not only is he still scared, now he probably won’t talk to you about it anymore. Which means your child will just stay in bed too scared to go to sleep with no one to ease his fears.

Add A Little Light For some children the fear of the dark reigns supreme. And for them, that dark is hiding the monsters they fear. Try adding another night light or twinkle lights around their bed. Just the addition of some soft light can relieve their fears and help them sleep.

When Logic Fails We don’t want to validate the monsters themselves, but for many children no amount of logic will convince them that monsters are not invading their room at night. You may have to fight imagination with imagination. While validating the monster’s existence is a no-no, you can use a “monster spray” to help them take control of their fears. However, instead of calling it a “monster” spray, make a “fear be gone” spray. A little water mixed with some lavender will do the trick. Just be very clear that since the monsters are not real, but their fear is, this spray will help make their fear go away. Let them spray before bedtime so they can feel like they are taking charge of their fear.

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