At some stage in most young children's life they develop a fear of the dark, of monsters or beastly things hiding in cupboards and dark corners or under the bed. These fears, whilst tempting to brush off as a parent, can seem very real to the youngster.
At early developmental stages the young mind finds it very difficult to differentiate between fantasy and reality, what to us is clearly a bad dream or a shadow in the darkened room can be a very real fear to a young child. These very real fears can lead to sleep disruption, fear of the dark and fear of bedtime. Causing untold stress and sleepless nights for a young family, trust me, I know...
Small had this very problem for a number of months and so after many sleepless nights, trying leaving the door open, testing night lights, bigger teddies and a whole host of other things including spending many nights on the camp bed next to him, I took to researching the different areas of child psychology where these fears were explored.
I happened on a number of articles that discussed using lavender aromatherapy spray to help the child relax and other suggested placing a favorite soft toy in a scary corner and added those ideas to a few of my own...
My boys love superheroes and each have a favorite soft toy that they can't sleep without, they also love pictures and things to hang on the wall. With all of this in mind, and being a bit of a cheapskate, I created The Anti-Monster Kit
Firstly I roped in my friend and talented designer Joe Holdsworth to create some super graphics based upon my ideas..
We devised a cardboard door sign for their bedroom doors "No Monsters Allowed" Turned their favorite Bear & Rabbit toys into superhero cartoon characters which I printed onto thin card and laminated. I then labeled an empty mister spray bottle with the 'Anti-Monster Spray' label, and made a pocket sized Door Sign 'No Monsters Allowed' Card (like a football referee would carry) with all of these items prepared, I wrote some instructions, printed them out, put them and al the other items in a little plastic box, stuck a label on the top and it was time to put it to the test........
Here's what i did
How It Works.
The door sign can simply hang on the bedroom door.
The superhero cards are stuck on the wall or placed in the room wherever the child thinks the monster or whatever it is that is bothering them, maybe hiding. Could be under the bed, behind the door, in the wardrobe....wherever.
After placing the cards you, or the kids, can liberally spray Anti Monster Spray (nothing but air) onto the cards and anywhere else they think monsters maybe hiding.
The red card stays in the bed and at anytime if the child is scared they can hold up the card (like a referee) and say "No Monsters"
On occasion they may wake in the night, seeing a quick spray from the Anti monster spray bottle can be enough to allow your monster to quickly re-settle to sleep....
|Box Label & Spray Bottle|
THE ANTI MONSTER KIT INSTRUCTIONS
Monsters can be terribly troubling things can't they?
Although they may seem scary and can come in all shapes, colours and sizes, it's very important that you remember they are more scared of you, than you are of them!
You see monsters really aren't very brave at all, in fact they are big scaredy cowardly custards... that's why they like to hide from us, that's not very brave at all is it?
Now, do you know what monsters are most scared of?
Monsters are terrified of you, super heroes and most of all, special anti-monster spray!!
That's why, in this box you will find some very special things to help keep the monsters away from your room, special things that will make sure that they go somewhere else and let you have your room all to yourself.
Firstly you will find a nice sign to hang on your bedroom door, this sign will tell the monsters that they aren't allowed in your room at all, never.....and if they do, they'll be in big trouble!
Secondly you will find four superhero cards, these special pictures can be put in the places in your room where monsters like to hide, maybe behind the door, under the bed or in the cupboard. Mama or Papa can help you stick them up with blu-tack in the places your monsters like to hide, before you go to bed.
Thirdly you will find a special bottle of never-ending, magic Anti-Monster Spray, the one thing that ALL monsters are most scared of. The magic spray can only be seen by monsters, so it's very important that you spray the places where your monsters like to hide.
Spray the picture cards you got in this set and spray any other places you think monsters might like to hide, you can do this just before you go to bed.
Also if you wake up in the night and feel scared, maybe you can ask Mami or Papa to give a quick spray around the room, Just incase....
Lastly and most importantly you will find a special red card! monsters hate to see the Red Card...If you think you see a monster, hold up the card and shout "NO MONSTERS"
Let's practice now.
This became a regular routine before bedtime for a number of months, it had an immediate effect on Small's confidence & sleep pattern, and it really helped him conquer his fear of the dark, One night he just simply said..."We don't need that anymore Papa, The Monsters are all gone away".
It worked for us...I hope these ideas might work for you and yours too!
Images ©Joe Holdsworth