By Jodie Lynn
My seven-year-old son is terribly afraid of the dark. We cannot figure out why and he doesn't seem to know. What steps can we take to help him get over this?
ANSWER FROM READER:
Buy him a night light that is not too terribly dark or too bright. He may prefer a digital alarm clock that includes giant digital numbers which can be made to glow a little lighter in the dark. There are some that now come with a system where music can be set to play at various levels and lengths as well as sound adjustments with each one. Our eight-year-old daughter has a nightlight and one of the digital alarm clocks and chooses her own music each evening. She was also afraid of the dark but now instead of being scared, she anticipates hearing the calming music to help soothe away scary thoughts and goes right back to sleep if she wakes up. - Patricia Smith in Cincinnati, OH
During this time of the year, there are plenty of holiday movies included in TV lineups. While most are not meant to be scary, some of the main characters can be perceived by children as somewhat frightening. The abominable snowman, the Grinch and even some of the various ghosts in Tiny Tim, among others, may not seem particularly scary to adults but can be unsettling to children. They may not even react negatively at the time of watching but once the lights in their room are turned off, imaginations can begin to play tricks on the brain, especially if it is the last thing watched on the TV before sleeping. With this in mind, you may want to begin by eliminating TV three hours before bedtime, making sure that nothing he watches is even remotely scary. The same thing can be said of books, movies or games. Eating too much food or drinking too many drinks containing an overabundance of sugar or chocolate can also contribute to odd or frightening dreams. Additionally, these combinations can keep children and adults alike awake for hours upon end. Naturally, being awake invites our minds to try to process events of the day or recent days, causing several things to intertwine. Frequently with kids, everything can become a blur, which can be pretty overwhelming to say the least, leading to confusion and simply becoming frightened while laying in their beds. Last but not least, try to have a regularly set time for bed each night with the same regimen that can be repeated each evening, including the weekends. It may take a while, but you should see a welcome change for your son, and of course, for the whole family.
CAN YOU HELP?
My nine-year-old daughter's birthday is December 25. She's just figured out that her grandparents give her a birthday and Christmas gift in one present each year. How should we handle this situation so that neither she nor her grandparents are upset at each other?
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