About a month ago I wrote an article for The Baby Spot on getting kids to bed easier. Some suggestions made in the article were things like; keep a routine, electronics out of the bedroom, build in rewards & keep things positive. One thing I did not mention in the article was how to handle nightmares and the fear of monsters that can pop up just around bedtime. Here are two things I have done to get rid of monsters and nightmares in our home at bedtime from the book "Lose That Mommy Guilt".
Nightmares and fears can make for challenges in tucking in. Visualization is a strategy I found can help with nightmares. When tucking the kids in I have them bring up images in their minds of a favorite place, someplace that makes them feel calm and happy and safe. I ask lots of questions to get a rich picture of this special place. Who is with them? What are they wearing? What are they seeing, smelling, feeling? What are they doing? My daughter’s favorite visualization is of a beach, swinging on a swingset with mommy. We are both wearing ball gowns and sparkly shoes. It smells like flowers, the sun is shining bright and beautiful music is playing in the air (Indigo Girls—yes I taught her well). We would talk through this scene and the feeling of the ocean breeze on our faces as we swing back and forth. My daughter would then have that image in her head as I tucked her in and she went to sleep. Bringing her back to that same place each night she felt scared or clingy eased her fears and created a safe and happy place.
Monsters present a similar, but different, bedtime issue. I tried the hairspray bottle labeled “Monster Repellant”. If you have never done it, it is super easy. Just take an empty spray bottle and fill it with water and create a “Monster Repellant” label. For some reason my son never really bought into the whole monster repellant thing so I needed to get creative.
I explained to him how his daddy made sure when we bought our home we had a special monster-free section of our contract. It was “guaranteed by law” and this way we could be sure that we would have no monsters. That worked like a charm.