Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Terrified of Bath/Bed/Sleep

When you are a child, there is nothing worse than being kept from the action.

Mommy's in the kitchen making dinner? You want to see what she is doing.
Daddy is washing the car outside? You want to be in the suds helping him to clean.
Mommy's using the computer to distract herself from Dora and Diego on the television? You'd much rather be sitting on her lap pushing the buttons and destroying the operating system.

Bed time is like that. Mommy and Daddy take the little ones in their room snuggle them into bed and head on out. If you are 2 (or 2 and a half), you have to think that Daddy and Mommy must be swinging by the chandeliers or something! Heck, it has to be better than lying in bed with the lights off. (Quick aside: this book is great!)

Lately, Lukie has been really fighting bed time. He knows the order of our evening: dinner, bath, books, bed. The minute dinner starts, he begins making his feelings about bed known.

Lukie: Mommy, I don wanna go to bed.
Me: I hear you kid! Nobody likes to go to bed. But Mr. Sunshine is getting ready to go to bed and you need to get some sleep.
Lukie: No! Mr. Sunshine stays awake.
Me: Sorry, buddy, Mr. Sunshine needs his rest too.
Lukie: I don wanna go to bed! (crying, kicking, mayhem ensue)

The sad part is that this is usually 2 hours before we put them to sleep. He gets anxious and cranky, true signs that he does need his sleep. The tears are spontaneous and, for a while, I thought they were fake. Lukie is a great fake crier and I was sure that his nighttime tears were just that: fake.

But they haven't been. His tears, and the fear he has, are real. I don't know where they are coming from, but they are definitely real. It's hard for me to say that my son is afraid of things. He's such a tough guy and a "manly man" (go ahead and ask him!). However, there is something about night time that terrifies him. He thinks there are spiders in his bed, monsters coming through the window, and goodness knows what else waiting to snatch him. It has gotten so bad, that I've put the kabash on any teasing at night time. Daddy likes to tease Gracie and Lukie that he is going to get them or that the grasshopper outside will get them and, frankly, that is just making the situation worse.

It isn't that I want to keep Lukie in a bubble of nothing-will-hurt-yous. That's just silly. But there is definite terror in Lukie's tears and that worry/concern/anxiety needs to be addressed. No mother likes to see their children frightened. Especially when they are little.

Off to slay some monsters!


  1. Hi Jen. When one of my kids went through this we used sticker charts. If he got a certain number of stickers then he would get a reward. Just something small. At first he only had to get 1 sticker to get a prize but then we increased the number of days he had to go before earning a prize. Might be worth a try. The other thing is I saw this night light that the kids can carry around and keep near them. If I find the link I will send it to you. Unfortunately my other son never got over his fear and I had to lay with him until he fell asleep until he was 5.

  2. You are such a good mama! Poor Lukie, tell daddy to stop with the bug stories - they freak me out too!


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