With Halloween looming, it’s not just ghoulish trick or treaters that may cause your little one a sleepless night. From cupboards, curtains, bookshelves and even the smallest noise, so innocent by day, can take on a sinister aspect and became monsters, ghosts and ghoulies as night falls. Now our own imaginative toddlers are facing the same night terrors, and with All Hallows eve around the corner, how do we reassure them?
1. Let there be light
We want our children to get accustomed to sleeping in the dark, but this can be a gradual process. Nightlights and dimmer switches can provide a small, comforting glow and are surprisingly energy efficient. A similar effect can be achieved by leaving your child’s bedroom door slightly ajar, with ambient light from the rest of the house filtering through to your little one.
2. Project tidy room
If your child’s bedroom is messy, with piles of clothes, toys and books, it is more likely to cast the shadows that look so spooky to infants. Is there a monster under that heap of sweaters? What is that shape lurking in the corner? Clear spaces can disguise no beasties! It might be a good time to get organised, sort out some child-friendly storage. And whatever you do, do not leave any Halloween costumes or props lurking about!!
3. Choose your words wisely
Reading to our children is one of life’s delights and nourishing their imaginations and teaching them the power of words are important parts of parenthood. Give a thought to the types of books you choose and try to make them age and bedtime appropriate. This is probably the time for fairies and puppies rather than vampires and ghosts. However, it is a good idea to help them understand that these figures they are exposed to are in fact fictional and harmless so show them there is nothing to be afraid of.
4. Keep it routine
Ensure your children have a good sleep untroubled by the monsters of the night (trick or treaters) by sticking as closely as possible to a daily bedtime schedule. Children respond well to routines and are likely to fall asleep more quickly and more deeply if they have bath, snack and story at roughly the same time and in the same order every day. Try and wrap the Halloween festivities up a good while before bed so it’s not the last thing on their mind before they lay their heads to rests.
5. Make bed a safe haven
One of the most important things you can do to ensure your toddler feels secure at night and will drift off into a happy slumber is to make sure that their bed is as safe and comfortable as possible.
A little fear of darkness and shadows is a normal part of childhood, but just a few simple steps can ensure that a little fear doesn’t turn into a big terror.