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Joan Sleepytime | Oct 16, 2023



Our children are like sponges absorbing information through their senses.  Children are wired to learn through imitation, exploration and play. This can be so much fun for some, but for our little children with extra wild imaginations, this season can actually be very spooky.   Younger children are not able to distinguish between what is real and what is not. 

Unfortunately, global news and current affairs can add a whole other level of fear and uncertainty to their concerns.  Little children do not have the ability to translate these worries into healthy discussions with adults.  These worries may show up in the form of misbehaving, mood swings, clinginess and sleep. It is up to us as their guardians to be there to support and reassure them.  Thankfully there are some steps that we can take to limit their exposure. 

Be mindful of images, reports and conversations around your children. Even when they cannot understand the conversation, they can still absorb our energy and tone. 




We have all had those nights when our worries become amplified late at night. When we lie idle at night our brain tends to wander.  We have all had those bizarre dreams where we’ve woken up suddenly and find it difficult to explain what we just dreamt about. For a young child it is very difficult to understand that dreams are not real.  If your child has just learned healthy sleep skills, we don’t want those bad dreams to interfere with all of your hard work.  Your child needs to know that they are still safe, you are close by and they need to be reassured that it was only a dream. 


In the night, for their sake as well as your own keep it simple. If they call out (and you will know that fearful cry) try go to them, before they come to you.  Otherwise, walk them back to bed.  Less is more.  Speak softly with minimal phrases that it was a bad dream. 

Give a firm hug, If you leave their room right away, they may need their light turned up a notch Otherwise, keep it down low and let them know that you will stay with them until they are settled. If teddy (or a special toy) is close by let your child hear you as you instruct teddy to stay close so that your child will be reminded that they are safe and that they may need extra hugs. 


In the morning, talk about it and answer their questions to ease their concerns.  Tell them that you had bad dreams too when you were a child. 

At bedtime, your child might tell you that they are feeling scared.  Depending on their bad dream you can either do an inspection of their room or stay with them a few minutes longer. 


Other suggestions: 

Avoid dissing their fears, if something is scary then let them know that you understand.

If your child delays bedtime or wakes up through the night, don’t ask them if they had a nightmare. For some children, that may just give them the idea that a nightmare has a silver lining.  If a nightmare means more 1:1 time with parents and it stalls bedtime, then a nightmare may morph into a “no-mare!

Try spending a little extra time during their bedtime routine to counter out any need for them to get their fill of connection time. 


This quote from Rudolf Dreikurs sums it up perfectly! “Children are keen observers but poor interpreters.” 


Let’s connect, If you would like to chat more about your child’s bedtime worries that go bump in the night!

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