If your children are afraid to go to sleep at night with the lights off, it probably has something to do with those boogeyman tales you used to tell them when they were little. If they completely refuse to go to bed, they might be just overexcited because of the sugary foods they eat before their bedtime, or something else might be bothering them. If you’re rather clueless when it comes to finding solutions to this problem, here are a few things that should shed some light over the matter.
First of all, you need to determine whether your child’s behavior has something to do with the nightmares he’s been having lately, if he’s just too scared to go to bed all by himself or if there are different triggers that are preventing him from having a normal bedtime hour for his age.
If your child is experiencing nightmares, he is very likely to refuse going to bed at night. The thought of having to go to sleep again and dreaming the same scary monsters over and over again each night is not very appealing to an adult, let alone to a small child. So you need to ask your kid if he’s been having nightmares or bad dreams lately. Have him describe them to you (maybe you can encourage him to draw a picture of his night monsters) and work things out from there. He might have seen a peculiar shadow on a wall just before going to bed that remained in his subconscious or he might still be frightened because of the scary bedtime stories he has heard. Violent cartoons can be another plausible reason he’s having nightmares at night.
Limit his TV time and be really picky when it comes to the cartoons or programs he is allowed to watch. Kids are particularly sensitive and they tend to be like a sponge and suck everything they see or hear. So no more violent cartoons for him.
Also, he might just not be ready to go to sleep on his own, and he still needs his mommy around. Have a talk and tell your child he’s all grown now and he has to be a good boy or girl and show mommy how well he can behave.
You can also have him drink a glass of warm milk and read a positive bedtime story, snuggle a little or play his favorite lullabies. This way, you’ll manage to boost his relaxation levels and have his body release the natural sleeping hormones easier.
You can also come up with his own personalized “before-I-go-to-bed-I-need-to” program. Have him brush his teeth, wash his face, comb his hair, put his PJ’s on and so forth. He’s going to love to feel the importance of the things he does every night before going to bed, so make sure you praise him, kiss him on the cheek and tell him how proud he makes you feel.