Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Any Suggestions?

The last few nights, bedtime has been accompanied by the words "I'm scared" coming from the three-year-old's mouth. My boys have been talking about/watching Beauty and the Beast and the beast is our new scary thing. During the day it's funny-scary. But the last few nights the three-year-old has said he's scared of the beast and doesn't want to stay in his room alone. Of course, not wanting to stay in his room alone isn't new, so this momma is trying to balance a desire to respond compassionately to real fear with a knowledge that this little boy will use many tricks to get a sleeping companion or to be transported to a different room to sleep. The last two nights fear has been solved by either falling asleep in our room or in his brother's room. I'm not sure either is a longterm solution. Neither am I sure that I have to force him to stay in his room crying. So, what are you suggestions? How would you handle it? How do you respond to your children's fear? How do you tell if there is some real fear you need to respond to or if your child is working the system? I'd love to hear your feedback!


This Heavenly Life said...

Hmmm...that rascally beast strikes again, eh? I think he should come with parental warnings!!

I don't know, though: even if T's working the system, he's probably (at this age) working himself in the process into actually being scared, if he wasn't to begin with. I'd try general reassurance first, like: "the beast is only pretend, just like spongebob or handy manny -- he's only on cartoons, and will never be real." Since that won't stop the urge for him to be with you, I might try laying down with him in his own bed, if you're trying to avoid the constant shuffle. You don't have to make it seem like the beast will be here any minute, so I'd better stay nearby to protect T..., but it can be more of a peaceful way to talk him down. Change the subject after you've addressed the fearsome (fake) beast, to something much more suitable for nighttime talks. Whatever that is for boys...for us, it's pretty, frilly stories or 'do you remember the time...' stories. Distraction is our best defense, usually. And it takes time, which may be enough of what he wants to calm him down.

Ummm...I'm out. Other than making your husband put on his best beast-killing gear and having him stomp around menacingly before declaring that the beast is gone forever. But somehow, I don't see that happening :)

This Heavenly Life said...

Oh, and have you thought about a nightlight? Does he already have one?

Robin (noteverstill) said...

What if you help him conquer his fear of the Beast tangibly, by, oh, printing out pictures of Beast and have him color on top of them? rip them up? pulp them in a bowl of water? all of the above? or can you help him lock the DVD away somewhere and let him see you put the key away? or get him a doll of Beast in the after-transformation nice version?

Katie said...

Ha ha, of course Sarah has plenty of wise insightful advice and all I was thinking was 'does he have a nightlight?' Glad she followed up with that too ha ha. Of course I would address his fear as well. That's about all I got though since my 3 year ends up in my bed EVERYnight-I think I"m the one that needs some advice ha ha. Good luck!