Health Tip: When Your Child Is Afraid to Sleep

Understand what's behind the fear

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(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.

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