thread: Ideas needed on how to tackle this one...

  1. #1
    Registered User

    Nov 2008

    Ideas needed on how to tackle this one...

    DS1 (almost three) has been having some really vivid dreams over the last couple of months. He often wakes asking for a toy that we don't have, which I'm guessing he's dreamed of having. He's also woken up with a few nightmares here and there.

    Last night he wouldn't go to sleep because he was scared. He was saying that there was a person in his room that was red with green eyes and big (sounds like a spiderman character to me, DH let him watch an episode the other day, but that's a whole other thread...). After much listening and cuddling and explaining that if there was someone there that he didn't want to be there he could tell them to go away and that they would, that mummy and daddy would always keep him safe etc, it got to 10.30pm. He was refusing to go into his room, but said that the person wasn't there. He was saying they would come back later. So, DH and I decided that he could sleep in our bed. Not ideal, but it was late and I we all just needed a good nights sleep.

    This morning when we got up he said the person was there. I suggested he tell them to go away. He did and said that they had gone. I reinforced what we'd been talking about last night and left it at that.

    But, I'm guessing we're going to be in for the same thing again tonight... While we don't mind him sleeping in our bed every now and then, I don't want it to become the norm. So I need ideas on how to handle it if this comes up again tonight. I do have a sense that he's realised that the 'scared' thing has traction with DH and I and that he may have started playing to it a little bit last night. But, regardless of whether he is playing to it, or genuinely scared, I'm not willing to force him to lay in his bed. It's important to us that he knows that Mummy and Daddy will always acknowledge his feelings and not down play them.

    So, do you have any ideas on how we could tackle this tonight?

  2. #2
    Registered User

    Oct 2009
    Bonbeach, Melbourne

    Yes! I read this idea recently on BB Try making a bad guy (or whatever he thinks it is) repellent. A squirty bottle filled with water and some lavender oil (to make a calm environment), hand it to him and explain what it is (maybe a cute label on it) and tell him to spray it in all the places the bad guy goes, and he won't be able to bother your DS anymore Thought that was a neat idea.

  3. #3
    Registered User

    Feb 2008
    on a journey called life, finding our way home

    Is there something " special" he could take with him into bed? a teddey who can keep him company and help him be brave to tell the scary thing to go away?
    do you have a night light? if not maybe you could turn one on to help him feel safe?.

    I hope he feels safer tonight

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Jan 2006

    I'd ride it out. offer security at night and talk about it during the day.

  5. #5

    Dec 2006

    It sounds to me like you are doing it exceptionally well. Probably very wise to decide on a plan for the night - then you don't have to think of anything when you are tired and half asleep.

    Night light? Not everyone's cup of tea.
    Doing a full sweep of his room with him (commando style) before getting in bed?
    Radio on? (Again, not everyone's cup of tea, but it can distract from a scary noise)
    Like PZ said, a special monster/boogey man spray?

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Jan 2006

    how good is his language? i know with my son, if he's anxious about things - and he frequently is - i can use active listening skills to figure out what exactly is worrying him and that generally leads him to work out his own solution.

    oh, and I didn't read your post properly. it sounds like you've already figured out a way that works for him?

  7. #7
    Registered User

    Oct 2007
    Caroline Springs

    My friend asked about something very similar a couple of days ago. Her daughter is worried about monsters. I'll copy and paste what I wrote to her rather than rewrite it, but you'll have to swap "monster" with "scary red man"...

    Some child "experts" believe that if you acknowledge there is a monster by "getting rid of it" you may just be encouraging the fear. I'd acknowledge her fear of monsters without reinforcing them. So maybe talk to her about what is scaring her by saying something like "I understand that you are afraid of monsters and that must be scary". That way she will feel understood rather than belittled if you just tell her monsters aren't real. Her fear is real so to her the monsters must also be real.
    Then maybe do some imaginative play with her where she could pretend to be a monster while you pretend to be a scared child. I bet she'll find it hilarious. Let her control the game so that she can feel empowered. If you play it during the day you can let Spencer be a scared child or even a monster and they can gang up on you, hehe. Once she's happy playing the monster game during the day you can try doing it with the blinds closed and lights off, and then eventually at night in the dark.

  8. #8
    Registered User

    Mar 2006

    We do the magic spray here.

  9. #9
    Registered User

    Oct 2008
    Newport, VIC

    How did you go tonight?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Registered User

    Nov 2008

    Last night wasn't very good. He literally did not want to even go into his room, let alone his bed, even with the 'go away spray'. I tried rocking him to sleep in the chair in his room and at around 9.30 when he was finally drifting off, he started screaming and had to get out of the room. The poor little thing seemed really scared to go to sleep . He ended up falling asleep in our bed not long after and then I moved him to his room. He came back into our bed at around 1am, thankfully he wasn't upset though. But then he woke up at 4am and started vomitting Poor little thing isn't very well, so I think we'll just let him sleep where he wants to for now and tackle it in a few days... I am thinking I might take him shopping to buy a new doona cover and see if that reignites an interest in his bed...

  11. #11

    Dec 2006

    Nothing like a sick child to upset the apple-cart! I sometimes wonder what on earth caused DS2 to cry at ODC only to realise that he has an ear infection. Or why DS1 won't go to bed only to have him vomit shortly afterward.

    You are wise xx I think comfort him while he is unwell and tackle whatever is bothering him when he is back to good health.

  12. #12
    Registered User

    May 2008
    ...where jumping on the bed is mandatory!

    DD1 had a few weeks a while ago of refusing to sleep in her room. too scared !! and then in the night when she would stir, she would full wake up and either come in to our room or shout out for me to get her. which with a baby in our bed already wasnt ideal.
    We got new bed sheets, and made her room really nice. dh does a great job of getting her excited about stuff and she was excited about her new bed and room. we moved her pet guinea pig in there too to keep her company. her room is quite light and after a long chat we found that making it darker was actually better for her. i think maybe weird shadows or something were freaking her out.
    she still says she is scared of the dark and has a torch by her bed that she can use if she wakes up. every night she picks a different teddy and normall ends up with about ten in there but where ever helps her out.
    she also has a monster/bad dream catcher (dream catcher).
    i tell her a story when shes scared about a big hill, beautiful grass, bunnies '' we are walking up the hill and the soft grass is springing under our feet, the birds are singing and daddy has a football, we are all playing football'' etc etc, you get the picture, something really calming and pretty, noramly i include all the family and we are all doing something really fun, i tell her to think about that if she wakes in the night and cant get back to sleep. it seems to work sometimes.
    also i told her that there is a protective force field round the house, if she asks about ghosts or monsters i giggle and tell her that they cant possibly get anywhere near her cause mummy put the protective force field around her!! and then i normally case her around making monster noises till she is giggling!!
    failing all of that she sleeps in our bed.
    hope hes feeling better soon and gets over the big scary red man!!

  13. #13
    Registered User

    Feb 2007
    Ma hoos

    As much as I like the idea of the repellent spray, I'm just too lazy to organise it . When my DS1 has had fears, I've told him that I can be a very cranky mum with scary people, and I simply won't let them stay in my house at all. I kind of role-play it, and show DS1 what/how I'd tell the bad person/monster/alien/dinosaur to leave, using my strictest, "don't mess with me I'm a very tough mum" kind of tone, and then after I've finished telling off the bad guy (and making sure he's gone), I tell DS1 that I will always protect him etc etc. So far so good, this has worked pretty well.

    Hopefully you'll find that when he's over the vomitting bug he settles down again.