Trouble sleeping ideas/tips:
- Listen and understand. Try to understand your child’s fears. Don't dismiss or make fun of them.
- Reassurance. It is important to reassure your child if he is afraid. Communicate the idea of safety over and over again.
- Teach coping skills. Teach your child coping skills and discuss alternative ways to respond, such as "being brave" and thinking positive thoughts. You could talk about how you deal with something that you are afraid of. Also, provide examples of coping role models by reading stories about children who are afraid and conquer their fears.
- Have fun in the dark. Make being in the dark fun. Play flashlight tag. Have a treasure hunt and search for things that glow in the dark.
- Use your imagination and be creative. Use your imagination to fight imaginary fears, like monsters. Many families have found “monster spray” to be a wonderful way to help a child cope with bedtime fears. Some children are comforted by having a pet nearby for nighttime company (even a bedside fish tank may help). Whenever possible, have your child be actively involved in coming up with solutions to help him gain a sense of mastery and control.
- Security object. Help your child become attached to a security object that he can keep in bed with him. This can help your child feel more relaxed at bedtime and throughout the night.
- Nightlight. No matter what your child seems to be afraid of, a night-light can help. Nightlights are fine as long as it does not prevent your child from falling asleep. Another thing to try is leaving the bedroom door open so that your child doesn't feel isolated from the rest of the family.
- Relaxation training. Teach your child relaxation strategies to help him relax at bedtime and fall asleep. For example, have your child imagine a relaxing scene, such as lying on the
National Sleep Foundation: https://sleepfoundation.org
REARRANGE THE ROOM
Are there particular spots of the room that seem to be darker or cause more fear at night than others? Go into the bedroom during the day with your child and talk about the spots that make your child nervous. Try moving night lights and furniture around for a more calming room arrangement.
There are scripts written specifically to help calm children and relax them at night. You can read them a script like this one ( https://www.innerhealthstudio.com/afraid-of-the-dark.html ) from Inner Health Studio that is focused on helping them not be afraid of the dark. Or you could have them listen to a pre-recorded script. Here's one I love called Sleep Tight (http://www.shambhala.com/images/illus/Sitting_Still_audio/12.%20Exercise%2011%20-%20Sleep%20Tight.mp3 ) from the Book Sitting Still Like A Frog by Eline Snel.
READ A BOOK TO HELP CALM ANXIETY AT NIGHT
There are several children’s books that have characters who are afraid of the dark. Sometimes it helps kids to know they're not the only ones who get scared. Try reading one of these to help your child realize they’re not the only one who gets scared at night.
Berenstain Bears- In the dark: Stan and Jan Berenstain
I’m not scared: Jonathan Allen
Orion and the Dark: Emma Yarlett
Certain yoga poses are helpful for calming a body down and getting ready for rest at night. One of my favorites is to have your child lay down on their back with their legs perpendicular up against a wall. Have them put their arms out to their sides. Encourage them to do some deep breathing as they lay like this. If it’s possible, have them do this pose in their bed, so it’s easier to transition them to laying in bed for sleep.
CALMING SOUNDS APPS
There are apps that have sounds you can have your child listen to as background noise, if they get scared of unusual noises at night. Some have nature sounds, some have soothing music. Others have sleep scripts as part of the app as well. Try out a few and see what works best for your child.
One thing my kids love to do is listen to audiobooks in bed. There are so many great kids’ titles out there. The beauty of apps like of Audible is that they usually have a sleep timer. They can distract themselves from their anxiety by listening to a story while they relax in their bed.
Watching the glitter settle in a calming jar is a simple way to help kids settle their minds. Have them imagine their mind settling and calming as the glitter settles in the bottom of the jar. You can make it really simple with glitter paint and sequins or make it fancier with glow in the dark stars, Legos or other items.
Coping Skills for Kids: 12 Kid Friendly Strategies to Calm Anxiety at Night From a Child Therapist: https://copingskillsforkids.com/blog/12-kid-friendly-strategies-to-calm-anxiety-at-night-from-a-child-therapist