Helping Children Overcome Fears

Given the active imagination of a young child, bedtime fears are very common.  Everything is fine until you turn the lights out and suddenly a cherished stuffed animal becomes a wild and scary wilder-beast .  Rosie has recently developed a lot of bedtime anxiety.  I have been trying to come up with ways to alleviate her fears while still acknowledging them and expressing to her that they are valid.  We have been doing a lot of monster activities and that has been helping a lot but not quite enough.  So I turned to my readers yet again for tips and strategies that might help.  The responses were SO HELPFUL I wanted to compile them here for others who's children are struggling with similar fears.

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Help children overcome fear of the dark and other bedtime fears with these helpful tips:

~  Monster Spray- several readers recommended making a magical monster spray that gets rid of all 
    the monsters when sprayed.  I had never heard of this before and loved the idea!  It acknowledges the 
    child's fears as real and provides a seemingly real solution to the fear.

overcoming childhood fears

Making your own monster spray is simple.  We purchased a spray bottle at The Dollar Tree.  Then I made a cute lable for it and filled it with water.  I did not add any scent to ours but you could add lavender which helps soothe children to sleep or any other scent you might like.  All you really need is water for this trick to work.  We have been spritzing the monster spray under Rosie's bed each night and this has helped A LOT!

~  A light source-  many readers recommended different light sources.  Whether it be a standard night 
     light, a portable LED light or a tap light the child can hold and sleep with, a light source would surely  help 
     alleviate night time fears, especially a fear of the dark.

~  A monster alarm or bell that will go off when a monster is near- I loved this
    idea!  Putting an alarm in the child's room gives them reassurance that if a monster is near mom or dad 
    will be made immediately aware and rush right in.  This also acknowledges the child's fear rather then 
   disregarding it or telling them their fear is not warranted.  This is VERY important because 
    to the child, their fear is 100% real!  It is important to note that telling a child their is no 
   such thing as  monsters pushes their fear aside and makes them feel unheard and like their very real fears 
   do not  matter  to you.

overcoming fear of the dark and other fears

~ Set monster traps- Coming up with and constructing a trap to catch monsters would be a fun 
    project that actively involves the child.  You could give them an array of materials and let them create their
    very own monster trap.   I think this would be a lot of fun for the child and again, acknowledges 
     their fears and provides a concrete solution. 

~  A Magic Blanket- this was mentioned by a few readers.  You could take any blanket and make it 
     magical.  You could take a Spider Man blanket and say that Spider Man will keep your little one safe or 
     take a cherished purple blanet and say that monsters are afraid of purple and therefore, 
    the blanket will keep them safe.  As simple as this is I think it would work great! Just as easily as 
     children believe in monsters they believe in magic.

~  The book Go Away, Big Green Monster by E Emberley - Go Away Big 
      Green Monster is an interactive book where the child builds a monster and then makes it 
     disappear.  We do not have the book yet but have purchased it from Amazon and can't wait for it to 
     arrive.  If you are interested, you can purchase a copy here  .

~  The Go Away Monster Game- the same lovely reader who recommended the book
     recommended this fun and interactive game for kids.  The Go Away Monster Game gives
      children power over their fears as they rid their room of monsters.

We have not purchased this game yet but plan to if the other things we are implementing do not take care of Rosie's fears.  If you are interested in purchasing the game you can find it on Amazon here

~ A Magic Wand- give little ones a magic wand or saber to wave at any approaching monsters.  This
    gives the child a sense of security and power over their fears.

~ Create a Special Monster Dance- I loved this idea and have implemented it
     in our home.  Now before bed we do The Monster Stomp which stomps away the monsters.
    This is a silly little stomping dance but Rosie loves it and it seems to be helping a lot already!

~ Use play to ease your child's fears-  we have been doing all sorts of monster 
   activities to help show Rosie that monsters are fun and nothing to be afraid of.
   We went monster puddle stomping, made glow in the dark monster slime,
   and had a messy monster ball fight just to name a few.  Another fun monster playtime that was
   shared by a reader was to have a monster tea party.  How fun!

Overcome fear of the dark and other childhood fears

~  Favorite characters & music- Reassurance from a favorite character is a great way to 
    help children overcome their fears.  Here are a few songs that we have been playing for 

Jelly Jamm Music- Don't Be Afraid 

Yo Gabba Gabba- Don't Be Afraid

A special thanks to the lovely readers who shared their tips with me on the Growing A Jeweled Rose Facebook page!  You are always such a helpful resource and one I am very grateful for!  I hope these tips help other children overcome their night time fears as much as they have helped Rosie!

Do you have any other helpful tips to share?  I would love to hear how you helped your little ones overcome their fear of the dark and other bedtime fears.  Please share in the comments below.  

For even more parenting tips and resources be sure to check out our Parenting Extras section as well as our Parenting Pinterest board.
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