Nighttime fears are common in young children and can result in frustrated and exhausted parents. Sound familiar? How can we help our children overcome their fears and to fall asleep peacefully?
Points to consider:
Now of course there has to be limits. Although a child suggesting that “you can stay with me until I fall asleep” or “I can sleep in your bed” may be acceptable for some families, if it is not appropriate for your family then you might gently say “hmm that’s a good idea but that won’t work for me because I have some things I need to do” or “that’s a good idea but that might be a bit squishy and I get pretty grumpy in the morning if I don’t get a good night’s sleep!”. Listen to your child’s ideas and build on them if you need to until you come up with a satisfactory solution that works for both of you.
Validating the emotion and supporting children to come up with constructive solutions increases emotional intelligence. It helps them to regulate emotions and gives confidence that they have the power to make themselves feel better.
If your child is having chronic sleep disturbances or the anxiety escalates and interferes with daily functioning then you might like to consider consulting with a child psychologist for assistance. It may not be too long before everyone is back to getting a good night’s sleep!