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lauraH
lauraH asks:
Q:

My 8 year old daughter is afraid of the dark and monsters.

I am very loving and comforting, but i'm getting very tired, as she wakes me up approx. 4 times a night with her fears. I am super worried about her sleep as well. She has started developing dark circles under her eyes.
Do you have any suggestions?
In Topics: Sleep and rest
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Wayne Yankus
Jan 18, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Laura H:

Start by reading books before bed about happy stories.  Develop the "pass" system. You will go in once on a pass but once it is used, no more trips in the room.  Be reassuring but firm.  Also, limit tv and the news not to create undue fears. It is important to have a gradual and routine bedtime with a warm bath or something soothing and a "prop" or stuffed animal is ok unless there are allergic issues.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
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Loddie1
Jan 19, 2010
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Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
Hello, my daughter had the very same thing. One thing we did was art therapy. I had her draw the "monster" she was seeing and then we built a silly story around it. I also made it very clear that monsters are not real they are only in the imagination and like the story we created. It bridges the gap from reality to imagination. Hope this helps.

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Additional Answers (4)

lauraH
lauraH writes:
Loddie1, I love that idea! I have already had her draw her monsters, but that didn't help much. can you tell me more about the story you created and why you think the story was so helpful?
> 60 days ago

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glynnhoo
glynnhoo writes:
My son is only 4, but we found it very helpful to have a nightly routine of "monster cleaning". We have a dream catcher over his bed. We shake any old bad dreams out of it, we also use "monster spray" to spray for monsters. They dont like it...we use Glade Fabric refresher..light scent of lavender. Along with stories and reassurance from Mom & Dad...that has done the trick here.

If you do it every night, they get used to that safety net. Eventually you can leave one part of the routine out, and another and another until it isnt necessary anymore. When he wakes up from a bad dream on occasion, my son is reassured that we did our routine, that it was just a dream and its gone now.

Leave a night light on too. And maybe a nap during the day might help..sometimes when they get so wound up during the day, they are over tired and ready to pass out by bed time..their brains just dont relax completely.

Nice warm bath, back rub or foot rub...might get that extra tension out.
Tell her you will check on her in 10 minutes and do it...usually by the second check, my son is fast asleep.
> 60 days ago

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happytocount
happytocount writes:
Yes, I suggest if there is anyone scaring her during the day by saying "when you go down the hall the boogie man is going to get you". Just those words alone will not only cause fear in her during the night....it will more than likely make her a bed wetter.
> 60 days ago

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mmbnxcox
mmbnxcox writes:
I have had the same problems with some children I have cared for. I start by either putting their bed directly on the floor so that nothing could be hiding under it or I put bins under the bed if I don't want to have the bed right on the floor. I also have a sound machine with different sounds such as waves, rain, birds chirping. And I use a yellow light bulb in a lamp to give the room a warm soothing feel. The sound machine helps when you child hears some regular house sound at night so they don't imagine it into something scary. As for the closet if your child has one, I would try to keep it wide open and put the lamp near it so the child can see into the closet and I would have them pick a toy that they think would scare the monster and set it in the closet every night like a guard. One last thing, I heard it you eat bananas before bed you sleep better. Good luck.
> 60 days ago

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