Just in time for Halloween, it seems as if Freddy Kruger has taken up residence in our basement. In case you haven't seen the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street, let me summarize: creepy, dead ex-janitor terrorizes teens in their dreams, making them unwilling to go to sleep, for fear succumbing to the razor-sharp knife/glove of Freddy Kruger.
All kidding aside, how does this translate to our house? We've been having major sleeping issues with Soren, who all of a sudden cannot go to sleep without one of his parents lying down with him each night. While there's nothing really wrong with that, and I know that 3 is an age where imaginations take off (which is both good and bad), it's challenging because it sometimes takes him an hour to drift off.
Lack of sleep unfortunately is an impetus for losing my head. I'm grumpier than my usual morning grumpiness and tend to lack ability to censor my emotions around S. Then I end up feeling guilty all day for snapping at him.
On a deeper level, I know this is a phase quite common to preschoolers who can't shut off their imaginations when the lights go out. And speaking of lights, we've had a parade of all kinds of night lights and flash lights to help transition our son into sleep. No good luck charms there. Mommy or daddy seems to be the security blanket of choice.
So until he outgrows this, I'm unsure what to do. I've tried having him sleep in the bed with me, though I get no sleep due to his thrashing about. I also find that his energy affects me, even at night, and I have trouble drifting off myself. I'm also concerned that allowing him to sleep in our bed might reinforce the idea that his room is scary.
On that subject, he's suddenly afraid of his room and bed, even during the day. I've tried asking him why, but he isn't specific about what bothers him. I'm thinking that Halloween decorations around town might be a cause, as he's both excited about and fearful of them (at least at night). I do try and spend non-sleeping time with him in his room, just to be comfortable there. Maybe it's just something that will pass on its own.
Has your preschooler been having nighttime issues? What have you done to soothe and help them?