We (stupidly) let my 6yo DS2 watch Gremlins over the holidays. He's had nightmares every night since, waking anywhere between 1am and 4am and calling out.
He says he is scared of the dark, to the point that he won't go into an empty room in the evenings, even if the lights are on, because of the "black scary windows".
He is scared of the dark spaces in his room - down the side of the bed, the back of the wardrobe... He is a very imaginative child so I think this contributes.
I've tried sitting with him until he sleeps, sleeping in his bed with him (while we both fidget!), rearranging his room and giving him cuddly toys to protect him. Nothing seems to be working. Last night he even said the back of my head was scaring him as my dark hair made it look like my face had disappeared!
Our bedtime routine is good and he gets plenty of exercise during the day.
I'm starting to feel like I have a newborn again. Massively struggling with the sleep deprivation. Any suggestions? Please.
Ah...both of mine have had similar. Mine are 7 and 11 and a few things have set this type of behaviour off over the years.
One thing I've done is got a helium balloon and helped DD1 to write a note of what's been scaring her...in her case it was the story "Bloody Mary" helpfully told to her by a classmate when she was 9
We wrote something like "Bloody Mary go to Mars and stay there and freeze" on it which were DD's words.
Then we sent it off. It worked.
Another thing you can try is to get him to imgainge the scary thing in his mind, then imagine it shrinking in size until it's as big as a pea...do this in the daytime....when he can see it, in it's tiny size...then you tell him that a big foot comes and stamps it flat....then the flat Gremlin is thrown into space on a rocket ship where it can never return from...or blown up or similar.
This is an actual technique I read about somewhere...for helping with fears in general.