(HealthDay News) -- A child's fear can interfere with sleep, but parents can offer soothing words of calm and reassurance.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests how to help a child deal with fears at bedtime:
- Listen to your child and understand what's behind the fear. Do this during the day.
- Don't tease or dismiss a child's worries, no matter how unrealistic.
- Reassure the child that he or she is safe. Offer plenty of positive thoughts.
- Make a game out of being in the dark, such as flashlight tag.
- Creatively encourage your child's imagination to battle fears. For example, use a "monster spray" to get rid of monsters.
- Allow your child to have a security object at bedtime.
- Allow a pet to sleep with the child.
- Don't let your child watch scary TV shows or movies.
- Deploy a nightlight.
- Offer the child a reward for staying in bed all night.
- Check on the child frequently.