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"I'm scared of monsters!"

Fears can be real, especially when you're two feet tall and the world seems so big and daunting.  Our little babes are scared of the dark and even of ladybugs and cows.  It's normal and totally understandable.  But, how do we help our little folks work through these fears?  Do you think we can assume that they'll eventually get over the fears?

An urbanMama recently emailed:

I have 2 little girls 10 months and 28 months. My 2 year old has developed a huge fear of monsters in her room at night. It takes he over an hour of panicking and screaming to go to sleep. Which means the baby suffers too as they share a room. My husband is the working parent so bedtime is his domain. He sits with her until she finally falls asleep. We are not sure where it came from, an episode of Charlie and Lola maybe or something else, we do not know. We have a night light, she has a flashlight and "monster spray" in her bed. I just need some help on what direction to take with this. Any book recommendations for the kids or the parents?  What have other mamas or papas done to help put these fears and their babies to bed?


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There is a really sweet song by Joe Scruggs, called "Under Your Bed", I think it's on the 'Traffic Jams' Album. It's fun and sort of helps dispel the fears.
As a small child, I had an evil monkey who wore a green metal vest in my closet. I'm still pretty sure he actually existed. My parents got me an enormous, life-like monkey to protect me from the little one in the closet.... It helped a little.
I don't have any thoughts on where fears come from and how they go away.
In my case, It might have been our creepy neighbor. As soon as we moved away, the fears went away.

The classic stand-by for this one is, "A Nightmare in my Closet", but developing sudden and seemingly irrational fears at 2 is very common (i.e., the drain in the bathtub, the dark, in my daughter's case, it was sugar ants). Your husband has the right idea of laying down with her until she falls asleep. Also, gently reminding her that monsters are pretend will sink in in the long run, but do little in the moment. If she needs a little extra security at night, a bottle of monster repellent might help. Fill up a small spray bottle with water and maybe a few drops of lavender or peppermint oil and let her spray it around her room a little before she goes to bed. The smell will be relaxing and the activity fun, so hopefully it'll ease some of her anxiety so she can calm down. I like the monkey idea above too. Maybe she would like a big Ugly Doll or some other monster stuffed animal to keep guard in her bed. Eventually, she'll just pass through this phase and move onto the next one ( :

I haven't dealt with this myself, but I have heard of parent and child *exorcising* the room before bed at night. Casting a spell, or something that she may relate to from something she's read?

Good luck.

My mom successfully cured my sister of her fear of monsters when she was little by telling her, "Monsters are monsters because nobody loves them." My mom and my sister proceeded to "adopt" several monsters and shower them with lots of love (my mom had to kiss them all goodnight, every night, for quite a while).

We prayed when my daughter was afraid of monsters. It worked every time.

Have you tried the Mercer Mayer books? He writes about alligators in the garage, nightmares in the attic and monsters in the closet. These are great, fun books about how monsters and the like are more scared of us than we are of them. I worked at a day care for years and the two year olds loved these books.

That's the guy who wrote "A Nightmare in my Closet". Here's the link:


My son went through this, and we made up a number of signs to hang around the house that say "NO MONSTERS." Even though it's not an active fear anymore, he still has a sign on his bedroom door (we also had them on our front and back doors for a while, among other places!).

My nephew wore a watch/bracelet to bed. His mother explained to him that wearing it meant no monsters could "get him".

We haven't had troubles with monster fear (yet), but we do have some favorite books where the monsters turn out to be loveable such as "Leonardo the Terrible Monster" by Mo Willems and "The Monster at the End of this Book" (about Grover from Sesame Street). Don't know if they'll help, but could make them seem less scary.

Good luck!

We also pray with our sons if they say they're scared of something. It always helps.

My 2 year old daughter is going through the same thing and although I have heard and am aware this is "normal" for this age it does not make bed time any easier.
I am a big advocate of giving my girls lots of love, but also taking control as a parent and determining an exact bed time every night. We have a routine that we try to stick to every night and when her fears start to creep up I "spray" the monsters away and let her know I will read or tell her two stories then say goodnight. She someimes protests when my husband or I leave the room, but shortly falls fast asleep on her own. I believe this will benefit her in the long run.

both my sons, too, were scared of monsters (well, in our case it was ghosts), the oldest one was the *most* scared. we tried everything mentioned, and nothing really seemed to work to exorcise them, much though we tried. lots and lots of talking about how ghosts weren't real is still unsuccessful in convincing eldest, 6.5, that they're not there. he *knows* ghosts are real. now I pray every night with them, part of my bedtime ritual, and one line in my prayer is for happy dreams, nothing bad or scary. def. be patient with your child; eventually she'll grow better at coping with her fears, though she may never totally banish them. we traced the source of everett's angst to a conversation he'd had with his uncle (who was trying to calm him by explaining that the ghosts were safely up in the attic... making him forever scared of the attic) but I think you can't worry too much about where the fear comes from. some children are just anxious, and you can't predict or prevent fears. if it wasn't ghosts or monsters, it would be the wind or the rain or the shadows.

I'll add another book to the list: 'A Child's Guide to Common Household Monsters.' charming illustrations and as it turns out: the monsters in your house are just as afraid of you as you are of them :)

We have a "magic shield" around our house that mama or papa can activate as needed with a magic spell; it keeps everything mean out. She also has a jar of "good dream drops" (a drop of red food coloring + water) that we often sprinkle a few drops of on her pillow before bed. She hasn't had super severe fears but these solutions (or sometimes sitting in her doorway for a couple of nights) have helped disspell the fears that have arisen. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about essentially lying to her to help ease the fears, but if it works I guess I'll take it.

I think the Lea has an interesting point with the monkey in the green vest. Metaphysically there can be unpleasant entities (ghosts, monsters, etc.) lurking around in the astral realms looking to cause havoc. So these experiences can infact be real. These types of souls look for vulnerable low vibration (fear) places to hang out. Thats why prayer really works, because you are calling on a high vibration being (God, Buddha, Christ, Krishna etc...) Even things like "magic shields" & monster spray, will have the same effect if they are done with real belief. If you as the adult just think is silly then you will have difficulty convincing your child. So find a ritual that you really believe in whether it be prayer, magic spells, or kissing them all good night and do it with true meaning. I would also look at the child's bedroom. Is the bedroom a place with calm, peaceful, harmonius vibrations? Is discipline or 'time-out' conducted in the place where the child sleeps? Are toys put away and organized out of sight in cupboards at the end of the day? Is the imagery on the wall happy and the colors in the room calming? What kind of T.V. or music is played in the bedroom? My spouse once had a poster in his office of Donald Duck jumping up and down yelling obsenities. After a few days he realized that the poster itself was magnetizing tension and anger within the room. He quickly took the poster down and it made such a big difference! Try it!

Thanks for all the ideas. My hubby has chosen to rock her to sleep everynight and we have had a happy night time since. Although I do wish for her to be able to go to sleep on her own again soon I know it will happen. I have a nice list of books now that I can hold at the library and borrow to help her through this on her own schedule. Yay mammas!

I'm so glad to hear you've found something that works. I would also suggest staying with her because I don't believe in leaving children alone in the dark when they are afraid. I would also suggest finding a good song or making one up to sing at bedtime, and she can learn it to and sing it to herself. Or as she gets a big older, she might like having some soft music playing so that she can focus on that as she goes to sleep

My little brother is/was scared of monsetrs in his closet, but know we have a monser spray. It's just water with *magic monster poition* a.k.a water and blue food coloring. It has worked a little bit. He sprays a little too much so we have to refill the *magic monster poitoin* every week. But it works.

Hi, I read this post while I was looking for something to help my daughter a while back and wanted to contribute now that I've found it.
We downloaded and printed a story from the Little Children Big Dreams website (http://www.littlechildrenbigdreams.com) - the stories have been written by a Child Psychiatrist and are personalized for your child. They've got 2 - one for children scared of monsters and one for kids afraid of the dark. You also get a parent guide and child certificate (my daughter now has her certificate above her bed). It worked so brilliantly and my daughter was sleeping well again in about a week. The fact that her story was about her (with her name, town etc in it) made it better than any book we could have bought for her. Might not work for everyone but definitely worth checking out. All the best!

@EM how long are the books? How long did it take before your kids could go to sleep on their own? Would love to hear back, thanks!

Check out monster-defense.com. We have a wonderful-smelling spray available now & a fun, illustrated children's story coming out in Dec 2013 that tells the story of a little boy with a monster in his room, and how he overcame his fear of monsters. In researching online prior to writing the book, we read many articles from child & adolescent psychologists and parents about recommended methods for dealing with fear of monsters, and interpreted this into a fun, rhyming story which gives parents direction on how to help & gives kids the tools necessary to overcome their fear.

I've been making this Monster Away Spray for scared sleepers and it worked like a charm with my almost four-year-old boy. He sprays a little every night, less and less every time, and we haven't *seen* a monster in weeks! I even put some aromatherapy oils in there to give him even more of a sense of calm. http://pioneerperfume.com/2013/11/21/monster-away-spray-recipe-for-scared-sleepers/

Monster, Really fear can be real. thanks urbanMamaThe fact that her story was about her (with her name, town etc in it) made it better than any book we could have bought for her. Might not work for everyone but definitely worth checking out. All the best!

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