In our house, we’ve been struggling with night time fears for a while. With three kids 10 and under, someone always seems to be waking up in the middle of the night scared. And, since I’m not a big fan of sharing my bed, and I’m not a big fan of sharing a twin bed with my kids, I needed some solutions for helping my kids conquer their nighttime fears.
While it’s important to teach kids to self-soothe when they’re babies, it’s just as important to help kids conquer their nighttime fears independently and fall back to sleep even when they might be a little scared. It’s good parenting, though it’s also good for their mental health.
12 Ways to Soothe Your Child’s Night Time Fears
I reached out to my Facebook readers for some ideas and these ideas are great for little and big kids that will help them conquer their nighttime fears and go back to sleep on their own.
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1. Help them discover exactly what they are afraid of
There is a long list of things that children can be afraid of at night, and many of those things are just age-appropriate fears they have to work through. Try to get to the root of the problem. Is there a scary shadow in their room, or a noise they are hearing every night outside? If you can help them discover exactly what they are afraid of, it will give you ideas for how you can help.
2. Use Monster spray
My boys, who are younger would probably go for this, but I’m not sure my ten-year-old would. Simply take a spray bottle and fill it with water and some essential oil (like lavender that has a calming scent) and keep it by your kid’s bed at night. Tell them they can spray it to keep the monsters away or spray it when you’re putting them to bed to calm fears. If you don’t feel like making your own, you can find some super cute bottles and labels for monster spray here.
3. Use Fairy lights or Christmas lights
Night lights are great, but I think sometimes kids who are overly anxious might need a little more in their room. Hang some white lights above their bed for some extra comfort at night. Fairy lights aren’t too bright and perfect for bedrooms, too.
4. Let them sleep with music on
My oldest is a big fan of this one. Think about letting them listen to spiritual music, or instrumental music as they fall asleep, or keep a radio by their bed that has a timer that they can switch on in the middle of the night if they get scared. Lullaby songs for kids is a great way to go.
5. Keep a flashlight close
Sometimes kids just need some extra reassurance that the shadows in their room aren’t really that scary. Let them sleep with a flashlight in their bed to shine on that silly shadow that is keeping them awake. Or go shopping for a special night light.
6. Hang a dream catcher
For kids who suffer from bad dreams, this is a great idea. Teach them about the idea behind a dream catcher, and buy a small one that they can keep beside their bed. When they wake up, reassure them that the dream catcher is working.
7. Buy a fairy door
A friend of mine suggested this idea, and I love it. Purchase a fairy door for the bedroom wall and let your child know that the fairy comes out at night to protect them and watch over them in their sleep.
8. Pray with them
Teaching a child that he or she can pray is a great way to calm fears. Remind them that they don’t have to get out of bed to say a prayer in their heart and have Jesus keep them safe.
9. Get them a special stuffed animal or something of yours to sleep with
For the child with new fears, let them pick out a new stuffed animal that will help keep them safe, and something they can squeeze at night when they are scared. Involve your child in picking it out. You could also let your child sleep in a t-shirt of yours, or have a picture of you near their bed as a comfort.
10. Try a white noise machine
We have a small house, and it’s easy to hear lots of different noises at night. Get a white noise machine that will help drown out any noises that might be keeping your child awake, or waking him up at night. We have three of these and love them.
11. Provide good reading material
For my daughter, who loves to read at night, we like to keep spiritual reading material next to her bed for the nights that she can’t fall back asleep when she wakes up scared. Watch what your kid reads right before bed too, because even age appropriate books might have things that are scaring them. Keep a little reading lamp, or light next to their bed with a book, or kid magazine that they can look at and distract themselves at night.
12. Teach them that they are in control
My son is highly anxious at night, and a few things that have worked for him are teaching him to take control of his own thoughts. I have also taught him deep breathing exercises to calm himself down, and we also had him choose his own “happy place” (which happens to be playing video games) that he can think of when he’s worrying or trying to fall asleep.
More on Soothing and Conquering Fears:
- Nighttime fears: Why they happen and what to do about them (ages 5 to 8) – Baby Center
- How to handle nighttime fears – Today’s Parent
- How to Manage Separation Anxiety Each School Year – Kimberly C. Starr
- Nighttime fears in children – Parenting Science
My Must-Have Parenting Resources:
- Help your kids by helping yourself – get my favorite parenting book
- All of my favorite products on Amazon
You’ll Also Love:
- Mental Health Tips, Coping Skills, and Ideas to Manage Stress and Big Emotions
- 15 Smart Ideas to Help Kids Calm Down and Manage Anger and Anxiety
- 20 Fun Activities To Help Kids With Anxiety
- What I Want To Say To My Kid About Anxiety
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