The “No Cry” series for parents offers lots of practical tips for parents who are struggling to parent their child through some developmental phase. I especially appreciate her “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” for my little insomniacs! (Although the cover has an image of a baby, the tips work well for older children, too!)
On her website, Elizabeth Pantley writes:
It’s normal for a child to imagine monsters or other things that generate a fear of the dark. Even if you explain, and even if you assure him that he’s safe, he may still be scared. You may reduce his fears when you:
♦ Teach your child the difference between real and fantasy through discussion and book-reading.
♦ Find ways to help your child confront and overcome his fears. If dark shadows are creating suspicious shapes, give your child a flashlight to keep at his bedside.
♦ Leave soothing lullabies playing, or white noise sounds running to fill the quiet.
♦ Give your child one, two, or a zoo of stuffed animals to sleep with.
♦ Put a small pet, like a lizard, turtle, or fish, in your child’s room for company.
♦ Take a stargazing walk, build a campfire, or have a candlelight dinner to make the dark more friendly.
♦ Ask your child what will make him feel better.
Preventing Sleep Disrupters
Some things have been found to reduce the number or severity of sleep-disturbing episodes. Since they are all based on good sleep practices, they are worth a try:
♦ Follow a calm and peaceful routine the hour before bedtime.
♦ Maintain a consistent bed time seven days a week.
♦ Avoid books and movies that disturb or frighten your child.
♦ Have your child take a daily nap.
♦ Provide your child with a light snack an hour or two before bedtime, and avoid a heavy meal, spicy food, sugar or caffeine during that time.
♦ Remember to have your child use the potty just before she gets in to bed.