Monsters Under the Bed: Helping Kids Overcome and Cope With Fear

Children have fears that can cause anxiety and nervousness that disrupts their lives. Parents should not take these fears lightly simply because they know there are no monsters under the bed or ghosts in the closet. A child’s imagination is powerful and small fears in the day time can become terrifyingly big in the dark of night. Fears that seem silly to adults are real to children. Luckily, there are 5 simple steps to help children overcome and cope with their fears.

Talk With a Child About Their Fears

Let your children explain why they are afraid and what they are afraid of. It is important to show that as a parent you take this fear seriously. Do not laugh or tell your child their fear is ridiculous. You cannot stop the fear by suggesting to a child that they “grow up” or “stop being silly.” Show you understand the fear and want to help. Ask questions to discover the source of the fear. Ask if the offender is a monster under the bed or ghosts in the hallway. Is the monster a boy or girl and what makes them scary. Talking about the details has a soothing effecting on children.

Stand-Up and Be a Hero

In this situation your child needs a hero. The fear can be dealt with in the long run, but for the short term be a hero. Walk with the child through all the areas that are frightening to them. Look in the closet, under the bed and in the bathroom. Then turn off the lights and do it all again. If the situation becomes too frightening for your child then abort mission. Try this everyday until the fear subsides.

Creating Friendly Fears

Another way to handle the situation is to spin it. Make the monster into a friend. Tell your child you know this monster and it is a good monster. You can tell your child that this monster is a protector and keeps the bad monsters away. Let your child feel that this monster is like a companion similar to a pet. Also, try making a story about who the monster is and why they look scary. Kids love stories and giving them a new way of looking at this monster can help them overcome and cope with their fear.

Security: What Every Child Wants and Needs

A child needs to feel safe and loved. Be sure to display affection not only when your child is afraid. Make the home a safe and secure environment. Security objects like teddy bears, night lights, glow in the dark wall-stickers and even posters with friendly characters or comforting scenery can create a soothing environment for kids as they fall asleep. Some parents make labels that say monster spray and stick them to bottles of fun string. A flash light on the bedside table is also a good fear-fighting tool. Try various methods and see what works.

Prevention: There Are Some Things Kids Just Should Not See or Hear About – At Least, Not Yet

Fears can stem from various sources such as scary TV shows, movies, comics or music. Keep frightening imagery away from young kids as best you can. Consider people your child might be frightened by. Santa or Mickey Mouse might be quite frightening when seen large and looming in real life. Always listen to what kids say scare them.

Help kids overcome and cope with their fears by talking about what scares them. Remember you can be the hero and save your child from the monsters that lurk in the dark. Try spinning the situation and making a monster into a friend. Be sure to create a secure, loving and safe atmosphere in the home and remember to prevent the problem by keeping frightening material away from kids. Following these 5 easy steps will help kids to fight their fears and have a good night’s sleep

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