What a surreal thought to think that we are halfway through the 2022 calendar year. Can you imagine? Six more months and we will once again be making our New Year’s resolutions for 2023. Ok, let’s just take a deep breath and deal with the here and now. Let us take a moment to enjoy the warm summer months that lie ahead as we bring our family activities outside and breathe in that fresh air. Some of us love to soak up all of what summer has to offer. Most of our kiddos are out of school which might mean more family time together, fun summer camps, pool time, and playing outside until the street lights come on. Remember those days? As long as you went home in time for dinner, you were good! And did I mention the calming night’s summer can bring? There’s something to be said when we can just close our eyes and drift off to a peaceful REM stage.
Could that possibly work with every member of the family? I would have to venture out and guess the answer to that question is no. Not all children embrace the nighttime ambiance as if it were some magical time of the day. Some little ones actually have anxiety just thinking about sleeping in the dark for fear of “monsters” or “ghosts”. Those of you who have had to check underneath the bed a plethora of times, know all too well that this does exist. We go to great lengths to assure our young ones that nothing scary is waiting for them in their rooms. Some of you creative parents might even have a song or chant to ensure only good vibes are allowed in the area. You know who you are. But why does this happen? How can I help my child rest peacefully at night and not be scared at nighttime? Let’s think about this or better yet, go back to our Parenting 101 Helpful Tips.
I will continue to say that the number one assurance we can give to our children is the validation of their feelings. Remember that they are still experiencing life situations and as hard as that might be to remember at two o’clock in the morning, it does remain true. We want our sons and daughters to know that their fears do matter. I believe approaching the situation with patience and empathy has a more effective result in the end. Keep in mind, that our children are still trying to determine the difference between what is real and what is fantasy. Perhaps the Wicked Witch of the West is real and taking a much-needed rest in the closet? And what about those flying monkeys? One of the best ways to help your child develop the cognitive abilities he/she needs to break down their own fears is to explain that what they might see on TV is not always real. Opening the closet and showing your little one that there is nothing to be afraid of, will go a long way in their ability to understand that as parents, you are there to protect them even though you are in different rooms.
With my girls, I placed a night light in their rooms. It was amazing how that Little Mermaid, power-operated light made such a difference to my youngest daughter. A Belle night light was in the other room, but let me just tell you what magical powers those little lights had! They both felt safer with the soft dim yellow glow that came from their Princesses. I may or may not have told them that the yellow glow was their favorite Princess’ way of ensuring their rooms were protected while they slept. In all fairness, it did become a favorite part of the bedtime routine for both girls to turn on their night lights as the last step before closing their eyes. That “click” of the switch meant the Princess Protection had begun.
Whatever your steps are to assure your children that you are there to protect them, remember that you too are learning as you trek through this “Raising Children” journey so give yourself some credit as well. Allow yourself to try different techniques and tips. Trust your judgments and your instincts because you know your kiddos better than anyone else. I believe that this too will be a milestone you work side by side on with your young ones and by doing so, can give that reassurance he or she needs. Remember that children are resilient but they are also children with young minds that are still developing. Entrust in your abilities as a parent and the rest will follow.
Stay positive and continue creating memories with your children. Stay safe and healthy.
Vice President of Education and Training
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