6yo says he is scared and feels like there's someone watching him?(18 Posts)
6yo DS, quite highly strung and easily scared by the most mild peril in films/books - so we don't watch/read anything that might trigger.
For a while, he's been saying that he feels like someone is watching him. He's scared to go into parts of the house without someone with him and he's scared falling asleep in his room at night.
His two younger siblings have no issues. He's always been like this but it seems to be getting worse.
Anyone else had this? Any advice?
No advice but bumping for you. Poor kid
Not sure what advice to offer, but is there any sort of toy you could get him that would help him feel braver - anything like a superhero watch or something small he can carry around? If my ds1 has felt scared in his room then we assign a soft toy to guard him and keep him safe (as well as reassuring that it is safe, we are there etc). He seems to like the idea of soft toys looking out for him. Ds1 is 5yo though, so I don't know if that is a big young for your son? Just a thought though. Hope you can find some solutions.
I have a similar 6 year old DS. I've convinced him that a Daddy and I have magic powers to look after him from outer bedroom, if we say a special spell. It's worked really well, and I sometimes hear him saying the spell to himself, if he feels he needs a little extra courage. Not that it matters particularly, but our spell goes:
All good creatures of the day
Keep the nasty dreams away
All good creatures of the night
Keep our [DS] safe and tight
Love bubble, love bubble, burning bright
Keep precious [DS] safe and tight
Guard him well, all through the night
Because we love him so.
Witches' spells and witches' rhymes
Go round this house a hundred times.
Children at this age have a real magical thinking sense. DS went through same at his age... People could see him in bed, monsters etc. I used to activate his very own super protection force field every night to give him protection to help keep him safe. Worked for him as it fits in with the magical thinking stage.
Cinnabar - cool!
I was like this when I was about 6. I thought demons were after me!
In the end I read a book about angels who watched over children while they slept (wasn't religious, more fantasy). I then used to leave a gap at the end of my bed (by curling my legs up) so the angel could sit down! Would something like this help your DS? An angel, fairy, superhero? You could even leave him a letter from them with a charm for him to pop under his pillow?
I think he is quite brave actually, mummyxtwo (I know you weren't meaning that he's cowardly) too brave in a way - he has a way of geeing himself up to face the darkness alone, he'll put his head under the duvet and call 'All right, you can go now!' to me, but I have the feeling he is all churned up inside. I don't want him to be forcing himself to be brave IYSWIM. (Although I also don't want to be sitting in his room for ages at night when I have 1000 other things that need doing).
He does have a particular soft toy that he loves and always has at night at the moment. I have tried telling him a night time story about this toy coming alive and being an ally and protector at night (stories about the adventures they go on) - he likes the stor he is rather resolutely analytical in his thinking and reminds me that it's not real, so doesn't protect against the watching eyes (ugh!)
However, last night he ordered me out of his room before he fell asleep because he had a tooth under his pillow and he was worried that the tooth fairy wouldn't come if I was there. So perhaps I just need to work a bit harder at a more compelling magical protection story.
CinnabarRed - great rhyme, I will try that.
Also we live in an old house which does have a lot of creaks and noises that are just the house settling/the plumbing etc. I think perhaps I need to talk about that and make the sounds feel friendly to him. I'm wary of alerting him to noises that don't bother him at the moment though!
Koala - I like the idea of the letter under his pillow from the protector! He does like stuff like that. I will have a little think about it. Would have to get someone who's not me or DH to write it, he would spot our writing I think.
I have an analytical 6yo boy. What works for him is reasoning, logic and rationalisation rather than magic
For example, where does he think the eyes or people are hidden? There is no space in the wardrobe eg, or look under the bed etc there is no-one there (whilst acknowledging his fear is real, show that what he is frightened of doesn't exist).
Then, importantly, give him a plan. So if he were scared in the night, or thought he saw someone, what would he do? He would call for his parents, put his torch on etc.
I still use a monitor for ds to assure him I will hear him all through the night and can be right there if needs me.
We use story cds at bedtime so he isn't left on his own in dark and silence. He also has a torch which i occasionally hear him clicking on and off.
That makes sense Anniemouse.
DS1 is a horribly early waker (often 4 - 5am) and it's only in the last few months that we have got him to stay in his room until a reasonable time (6am) - I feel I have to tread a fine line between reassuring him that he can always come into our room, and not creating a situation where he does that every single night. It's tricky.
Re the early waking - have you tried reinstating before-bed milk? (Assuming your DS doesn't have before-bed milk, of course!)
We were recommended this v simple advice from a sleep consultant, and it made a huge difference.
That's interesting Cinnabar. We don't have before-bed milk - it's tea at 5pm, upstairs at 6pm, bath, stories etc., lights out at 7pm.
What's the theory behind bedtime milk and early waking?
My Dd went through a phase of being frightened of being alone in her room. i decided to stay with her in the dark for a little while to show her nothing was there to frighten her and it turned out that there was a loose cable outside her window that was tapping on it lightly now and again with the wind and she had a dressing gown hung on the back of her door that in the dark she thought was someone hiding in her room!
we sorted those things out and she has been better since then.
Have you tried staying in the room in the dark with him for a while? is there a light shining in his window that looks like eyes or shining on something maybe? or a toy that looks sinister in the darkened room? it could be as simple as that to help him settle better?
The theory goes that we all cycle between deeper and lighter sleep throughout the night, with more of the deeper sleep towards the start of the night, trending to more frequent and lighter light cycles towards the end.
By around 4am, we're almost awake at the very lightest stage in each cycle. Certainly light enough that mild physical discomfort such as hunger pangs can move us to full wakefulness.
By giving milk before bed, you fill the tummy with something just enough to defer hunger.
I didn't think it could possibly work, because DS2 wasn't mithering for his breakfast each morning, but it did! I guess that once he's fully awake, DS2 is pretty good at preoccupying himself with books and toys, and was distracted from his mild hunger.
You'll know very quickly if it's the right answer.
Other things to think about are when your central heating comes on (is he too hot/too cold/disturbed by the noise of water in the heating system), and light levels in his room (I know it's winter but eg does a street light shine into his room).
Hope that helps!
My mantra: I'm always here if you need anything, but mum needs her sleep too. I will come right away if need something (even a cuddle) but I need to go back to my own bed afterwards.
I find he tests me now and then, and by responding quickly, but briefly he is reassured that he is not "alone" , we are just in another room .
Using a gro clock with great success atm with his 3 yo brother to address early rising, and the 6yo is paying attention to it too. They are rewarded for staying in bed til the sun comes up on the clock by being allowed in our bed for a cuddle before getting up time.
Getting up time is 7am but the gro clock is set for 6.30
We put a lamp in his room last night and let him have it on all night - he was happy with that and slept through.
I don't think sleeping with a light on is great (read something about the pituitary gland needing darkness to produce hormones) but it must be better than not sleeping.
It's a bright light, he has a little glowing nightlight already but that doesn't produce enough light to make him happy.
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