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8 yr old too scared to sleep

(7 Posts)
spudlike1 Sun 03-Jan-16 01:47:11

Any ideas about how to soothe my son gets scared at bedtime , insists I stroke his nose which I do happily , but he still gets stricken with fear , and can't sleep

FATEdestiny Sun 03-Jan-16 15:35:47

If he is 8 could you ask him to try to verbalise or draw what he is scared of?

Don't be dismissive of whatever it is, it wont help him to hear you say "look, there are no monsters here" (or whatever) if he still believes there are. So accept whatever it is that is scaring him as fact - "I understand that the XXXX makes you feel scared". This isn't confirming his fears are real, but it is saying you empathise.

Ask him or suggest ways he (not you) could ease his fears. Could he do checks before bed. Could he put a lit torch in the dark corner / under his bed / in the wardrobe so that these places are no longer dark. Are their shadows that could be changed by moving the night light? Could he have "Mummy's Teddy" to keep him safe?

Empower him to feel safe, rather than him needing you to be safe.

hen start a process of gradual withdrawal. After doing all of his things needed to feel secure at night, start sitting my his bed rather than stroking. Then sitting by the door. Then sitting outside the door. Then a promise that you'll stay upstairs on the laptop doing jobs until he is asleep so that he isn't alone upstairs. Then eventually you should be able to wean him off his dependency on your presence.

I would say this important to do at 8 years old. He will be missing out on sleepovers and things like cub camps if he cannot have that independence from you.

spudlike1 Sun 03-Jan-16 19:45:10

Thank you that advice has helped a lot , he turned down a sleep over recently because of this.

SuburbanRhonda Sun 03-Jan-16 19:49:35

Try this book, OP.

I've lent it to lots of parents in school and they've all said it's been really helpful.

spudlike1 Sun 03-Jan-16 20:13:29

Ok I will, I had lots of sleep problem. with him when he was a baby , thought those days were over
I'm currently at the bottom of the stairs every time he calls I reassure him , and say I can't come up 'I'm sorting socks ' best I could come up with

spudlike1 Sun 03-Jan-16 20:14:44

He goes white as a sheet and bedtime and is very genuinely petrified ( sleeps in the same room as his laid back older brother ) so not alone

SuburbanRhonda Sun 03-Jan-16 20:43:05

Poor thing - and you, OP.

It's hard when something like going to bed, which should be something he looks forward to every night, becomes a source of terror for him.

I would second taking his fears seriously always, and asking him what he wants to change and how he thinks he could do that.

But do try the book as well - it's designed to be used by parents and children together and is part of a really good series helping children overcome their anxieties.

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