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ykayzz
ykayzz asks:
Q:

My son has problems sleeping due to anxiety.  How can I help him besides using medication?

My 9 yr old son has always had a hard time at bedtime.  He takes so long to actually fall asleep, and has always complained of 'hearing things'.  He's afraid of someone breaking in, robbing or kidnapping, harming us....He gets so scared he sometimes is too afraid to move, or get out of his bed to come get us for help.  Sometimes he'll sit out in the hallway, waiting for one of us to come out of our bedroom.  He never wants to be alone, he feels so much safer when he's with one of us.  A doc. prescribed an anti-anxiety medication, but i'm reluctant to give it to him.  Somehow I keep holding out that we can get past this.  But visualization techniques, mind-over-matter, music, nothing seems to help.  Any suggestions as a last resort before medicating him???
In Topics: Anxiety, Sleep and rest
> 60 days ago

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Wayne Yankus
Wayne Yankus writes:
Medication can often buy time for other modalities to work. Discuss your concerns with the physician who prescribed it to be sure it is right for your child and family.

Getting him to talk to a counselor would also be a good idea. This is the age for sleep overs, camps etc and it may socially isolate him.  Consult Dr. Ferber's book on sleep or check with your local university for a psychologist dealing with children's sleep issues.
> 60 days ago

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vdancer
vdancer writes:
Many parents and teachers have successfully used special stories to help children overcome problems.  You make up your own story, about a girl (not a boy) who overcomes her fears.  The fears in the story should not be exactly the same as your son's, but perhaps something like, afraid a wild bear might come into the house at night.  She might bring a soft animal friend to keep her company while she plans how to meet and overcome the bear, maybe with a song.  She hears the bear, but then sees it is really a little mouse who is scared too.  Together they draw a picture of being scared, and then put it in a special box because they don't need it anymore.  Make up different stories, each day and night.  Your son might soon help make up the stories too, and after just a little while the fears lessen.

A soothing bedtime routine is also helpful, with no media anytime near bedtime (or at all).  A warm bath, a candlelit story, a special verse for bedtime, all will help sleep come.  Rather than medication, if all else fails, see a developmental child psychologist, perhaps one who uses sand tray therapy for children.  Best wishes and good luck.
> 60 days ago

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