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A nighttime guide to your children’s terrors

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 07-05-2007

Fears are especially palpable to children in the dark and this may cause a lot of trouble at bedtime. During these moments, it is essential to be supportive – but the goal in the long run should be to help your toddlers develop the skills and confidence to work their fears out on their own.

Here are a few suggestions to help your kids cope:

  • Be sympathetic – but not overprotective

  • Listen and then talk – let your toddlers talk out their bad dreams. It’s your job then to assure them that dreams are not real and there is nothing to be scared of


  • Don’t prolong the good-nights – this only adds to their anxiety

  • Reassure them that you’ll be there when they wake up – and if they have a bad dream, they can come and talk about it

  • Help them develop skills – give your toddlers a small lamp to help them sleep or teach them to use a small flash light to learn to use the potty on their own

  On the positive side, parents should realize that fear is a sign that their children are gaining a sense of their selves. It is a normal part of their children’s cognitive development, as they learn to deal with the difference between the known and the new and unknown.