How to help if your child feels distressed and scared at bedtime

Posted by / Friday 17 February 2017 / Behaviour Parenting Tips

Bedtime can be tricky: here are some ideas for children who are worried around bedtime or have bad dreams.

  • Acknowledge that you can see how scared they are.

  • Tell or read a soothing bedtime story or sing some favourite songs or rhymes together.

  • Encourage them to have a favourite soft toy in bed to cuddle.

  • Talk through with them what they might like to dream about.

  • Encourage them to tell you what their favourite part of the day has been or what has made them laugh today.

  • If they have woken from a flashback or scary dream, encourage them to ‘switch the channel like they would on the TV and choose a ‘happy dream’ channel.

  • Ask them to imagine the bad dream being locked away in a box, locked and chained inside then being taken away on a big truck, loaded onto a big ship, sailing out to sea then being dropped over the side. See it sinking down, down, down to the bottom of the deep, deep ocean.

  • Gentle touch can be very soothing for children who enjoy being touched.  Try slowly stroking down the child’s arm from shoulder to hand, stroking the face or using slow stroking or circular hand movements on the child’s back. 

  • Talk through some muscle relaxation with them. Ask them to tighten each set of muscles, hold for a few seconds and then let go.  Notice how the muscles become soft and relaxed. Start with the toes then the legs, bottom, tummy, shoulders, arms, hands and finally the face.

We'd love to know if you found any of these tips useful or if you have any of your own! Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter.


Sweet dreams...