Creative Child

6 Simple Tricks to Make Bedtime Less Spooky

Who’s Afraid of the Dark? 

Come October, the sun’s setting earlier, the weather’s growing chillier and ghosts and goblins of all sorts have begun to emerge from the woodwork.


Halloween and its creepy cast of characters is a source of delight for many children throughout the month, but the ghoulish fanfare can spook younger and more sensitive kids, wreaking havoc on bedtime routines and generating some very real anxieties.

In preparation for the changing of the clocks on November 1st and the coming darker months, we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks for taking the fright out of your child’s nighttime.

Give them a test-run, and share your own afraid-of-the-dark cures in the comments below!


1. Name that fear.

Sit down with your child daylight hours and help him or her to clearly identify the source of the fear(s), suggests the Cleveland Clinic. Ask your child if he or she has any ideas for coping with those fears, and together, make a plan for what to do the next time they strike.

You might also introduce daytime activities that will help your child build age-appropriate confidence and independence, like leading a younger sibling in a game or activity, or taking the family pet for a walk around the block solo.


2. Keep it real.

Cooking up comforting ruses like “Monster Repellent Spray” or helping your child check the closets for ghosts before bed might dispel fears temporarily, but this tactic often backfires, warns the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Instead of helping, playing along with the imagined fear can lead kids to believe that the monster, witch or ghost of his or her imaginings is, in fact, real.

At the very least, it turns bedtime into entertainment hour when things ought to be winding down instead.

4 More Tricks on the next page...

Related Article: The Brain Science That Changes Parenting

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