Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Parent to Parent: Monsters Under Bed
It's a common yet unwanted visitor for children -- monsters under the bed -- keeping them from getting a good night's sleep. But, in tonight's Parent to Parent, Dr. Valerie shows us how to successfully overcome your child's fear of falling asleep in their own room.
WSVN -- Disney made a movie out of it, but in real life, monsters under the bed can be a real nightmare for some children.
A few months ago, 4-year-old Marissa Rodriguez started having trouble falling asleep, even though she shares a room with her twin sister.
Miriam Rodriguez: "She used to be such a good sleeper and, all of a sudden, I noticed they just didn't want to go to bed. She did not want to have the lights off."
Mom Miriam, worried something had happened at school that was causing Marissa to have nightmares.
Miriam Rodriguez: "She will be OK for a second and then she will realize she is alone in the dark, she will start calling me again, 'Mommy, are you still there?' It takes a lot longer now to put her down to bed."
If your child is struggling to sleep, Seven's Parenting Expert, Dr. Valerie Goode, says he or she is not alone.
At a certain age, children need to gain control of their domain.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "They are helpless to their own fears, so one of the things that you want to help them do is gain control of the place they spend eight hours a night."
Dr. Valerie says it's best to sit down with your child and talk to them about what they see -- draw pictures of the monsters or what they fear.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "You really want to put some life to what they are talking about, so it takes some of the fear away, and also it gives the child some control, so they are developing their own story about these monsters."
If they are still having trouble falling asleep, do not force them to fall asleep in their own room alone right away.
Instead, set a date, a goal when they will sleep by themselves.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "You ask them to give you a date of when they are planning to stay in their bed, so maybe you give them a week."
Just make sure to follow the same routine every night.
Do not punish your child for being afraid; instead, encourage them to pick out a stuffed animal or a night-light to help them through the night.
If they want you to stay in the room with them, do not lay in bed with them.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "It's OK to sit in his room and do a task yourself, maybe do your bills -- but do not sit in his bed and do not lay next to him."
Miriam is optimistic that Marissa will outgrow her fears and will be hitting the sack on her own soon.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "This is just a phase she will go through and, hopefully, she will grow out of it."
Lynn Martinez: "One last note, it's never a good idea to over stimulate your child before they go to bed, so keep the scary movies for the adults."
IF YOU HAVE A CONCERN DR. VALERIE CAN HELP YOU WITH E-MAIL US AT:
Dr. Valerie Goode:
7711 S.W. 62 Avenue
Miami, FL 33143