6 year old - teaching coping mechanisms for nighttime fears - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 12-01-2008, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Having 4 nightwaking children is starting to put a strain on me and I feel we need to make some changes before things get really bad. So, to that end, if a very fearful 6 year old wakes up in his room in the middle of the night and is scared, what are some things he can do to help alleviate those fears on his own, other then racing into his parents room? The fears are never ending (dark, shadows, monsters, bears, Bigfoot (don't ask), robbers). We've tried lots of things in the past but I'm hoping someone will have some new tools for us to try. New thoughts we've had are to enclose his bunk bed so he feels safer and more cocooned, setting up his CD player so he can play quiet music when he wakes up and sleeping with his sister (although this failed in the past).

I do need to let you know that we have always practiced some form of cosleeping with him and been very aware of his needs at night. He is a pretty anxious child in general so these nighttime fears have always been there and I predict will always be there (I'm still kind of scared of the dark and monsters under the stairs ) so at this point we want to encourage him to help himself. Having all 6 of us in one room is resulting in no one getting enough sleep. Older dc's wake the babies, the babies wake older dc's, everyone wakes me


Karen - spouse to dh for 11 years, mama to ds (Nov '02), dd (May '05) and ds and dd (Jun '08)

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#2 of 4 Old 12-02-2008, 05:28 PM
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i need advice for this same situation too. my ds age 7 coslept w/me in the same bed until age 5.5, i was a single mom and his dad who has shared custody still cosleeps w/him. dh and bought a house 1 year ago and ds has his own bed but i have been trekking down the stairs up to 3 times a night to comfort him when he wakes up screaming "mama!!!" very loudly. we have 2 other kids, my step sons and now a new baby! the baby sleeps with us, the other kids are independent sleepers and have been for years.

my poor son is going through major transitions right now with the new baby but the hardest one is not sleeping with me at all and me not being able to walk down those steps in the middle of the night. my husband was up w/ ds last pm from midnight until 2 am trying to get him to stop creaming for me.

my baby is only 11 days old and i am not even supposed to use the stairs at all for 2 weeks as per my midwives.

please help.
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#3 of 4 Old 12-06-2008, 11:19 PM
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anyone dealt w/this?
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#4 of 4 Old 12-06-2008, 11:30 PM
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I don't have any specific suggestions, but maybe you could have this conversation with your DS. Ask him if he has any ideas about what could help him to feel safe.

I was a pretty fearful child at night... There have been times even as an adult that I'm pretty embarassed to admit how terrified I've been when the lights go out at night. Anyway, I remember one episode when I was in 5th grade... I had seen a halloween episode of a sitcom, and it scared me so badly that I didn't sleep well for a month or so. I remember after everyone had gone to sleep, I would go into my parent's bedroom and make a pallet on the cedar chest at the foot of their bed and sleep there. It wasn't physically comfortable, but at least I felt safe.

Maybe you could make a space in your bedroom (but not your bed) and make a deal that when your DS gets scared he can come sleep there, but he has to try to do it without waking up the babies? I don't know... is he too young for that?

mommy to Christopher 2/29/08
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