What child has not been frightened at night? What grownup can honestly admit they were never afraid of the dark? It’s human nature. Lying in the darkness, creaky house noises, wind or weather outside, it doesn’t take a rampant imagination to stir up some good old fear.
Over the years I’ve heard of many remedies for scary bedtimes. Some work better than others, some work better on other children than some. However, most of them are kinda fun so give them a try if your little one is creating a minefield of Scary in his room at night.
This is the old standby. Probably the most popular diversion. A spritz bottle of water that you or your kiddo can spray around the room disinfecting the area from monsters. Decorate your bottle and give it a catchy name, like “Monster Mist” or “Boo Shoo!” or “Scary Scrammer.” You can even add a few drops of some sweet smelling oil or cologne. Monsters HATE sweet.
Beat Down Stick
My oldest son, as a small boy, had a weapon he always took to bed. It was a stick he found in the yard one day. Oddly shaped, and for sure magical, it was just the right size for his little hand. We cleaned it up, used “enchanted paint” to inscribe it with runes for warding off anything evil, then a quick coat of varnish. He called it his “Beat Down Stick” and before bed he would wave it about, making mysterious shapes in the air, and chanting gobble-dee-goop words he made up. Then, he would happily jump into bed, stick clutched tightly to his chest, secure in the thought that he was safe from any Scary.
Sound ID Game
Normal every day sounds can trumpet the arrival of all things scary when heard at night in the dark. Lay in bed next to your child and play the Name That Sound game. Quietly lay still and listen, then try to identify each noise. Talk about what made the noise and why. Making the unknown commonplace is reassuring. You can even challenge your little one to see if she can identify a new sound, one you hadn’t talked about. Tell her lie still in bed by herself and listen closely. Have her report back to you in the morning her findings.
A stuffed animal that your child loves and “trusts” can stand watch over his room and bed at night. Better yet, go together and and buy a big “vicious” doggie or dinosaur or lion stuffed pet. One your child thinks looks like a monster biter. Place it in the room in a high location so it can have a full view. And, where your child won’t be able to reach it, thus playing with it all night. Tell him the animal must be left alone to do its job properly.
My youngest son, so wanted a super power of some sort, that that was how I got him to stay in bed at night. Talk about what super power he might like, or one he thinks would be handy shooing monsters away. There’s always the laser beam fingers, the special knock-back blasting ability, or mind control so that the Scary is tricked into eating itself or jumping out the window. One of my son’s favorites was being able to turn invisible. Then he could lay there and laugh at all the Scaries in his room that couldn’t see him.
If your bitty one is having a particularly worrisome night, protect her bed with “landmines.” Gather dad’s, or brother’s, or her own dirty socks from the hamper and plop them around the room so that any Scary stepping on one is instantly destroyed by poisonous smelly feet gas. In the morning, have her pick them up and return them all to the hamper for “reloading.”
Dress For Success
Camouflage or “body armor” pajamas are especially good for keeping monsters at bay. Either suit up in “monster-proof” jammies (for transformation instructions see below) or wear some with pictures of monsters on them. The Scaries never attack their own. One can also throw a “cloak of protection” over the child as an extra layer of monster-proofing. Any normal, everyday blanket can be transformed into one with an incantation, the waving of a Beat Down Stick, or a spritz of monster spray.
Tame The Beast
Read a story or watch a movie where monsters are humanized and friendly. Talk about how most monsters are probably very nice. They just get a bad reputation because they look scary, and that must make the monsters very sad indeed. Approach the subject as if the poor picked-on beasts need our sympathy and understanding. Think of things that might make them feel better. Your child could sing to them, tell them a story, or even invite them to lay down and go to sleep. A monster slumber party if you like.
In closing, above all, love your child and reassure him that he’ll be okay. Use your imagination, and invite him to as well. Ask him for help thinking of ideas to shoo the monsters away. See what he comes up with. And, I’d like to hear if you have any nifty tactics that you’ve used to create a fortress of safety around your little one. What are some of the things you’ve done to help banish the Scaries? Tell us in the comments below.