By Kathryn Brunner, Founder of Musik at Home, LLC
Have you accepted bedtime battles as a given in your home? When the pitter-patter of little feet interrupts your sleep, do you assume it’s a normal part of parenting?
What if it isn’t?
What if there were gentle tools to teach your child how to overcome her anxiety around bedtime and calm her heart and mind all throughout the day?
We have some big emotions in our home. For my youngest, bedtime was the worst! Those bedtime fears would creep in, preventing her from drifting off to dreamland, and often waking her up in a panic.
Several times a night, my 5-year-old was climbing out of bed and coming to find Mommy and Daddy. We would talk to her, hold her, sing to her, and tuck her back into bed. But soon enough, she’d return, upset and needing reassurance.
We knew she felt scared, and we wanted to help her, but oh boy, were we tired! And in our fatigued fog, we kept repeating the same cycle of calming her down and tucking her in, only to start over an hour or two later. We wanted to
I shared my concerns with my friend Colleen, from Raising Life-Long Learners, and discovered we were certainly not alone in this struggle, but also, it’s doesn't have to be this way.
Our sweet little girl was struggling with anxiety that manifested at night, and most importantly - there were ways we could help her.
When it did, I read every card, front and back, feeling hopeful there were tools and strategies that would actually work for her!
I ordered Colleen’s Anxiety Toolkit and “anxiously” waited for it to arrive.
The Anxiety Toolkit is a deck of high-quality cards color-coded into 4 sections:
Calming Fears At Bedtime
Managing Worry When Out And About
Taming Anxiety At Home
These cards are durable just like playing cards. They'll hold up beautifully even getting tossed around in your purse. They are meant to go along with you and be read over and over.
They’re hole-punched and held together with a ring so you can throw them in the car or your purse, and the strategies are often quick and easy, requiring little or no prep, but they’re powerful ways to break intrusive thought patterns. I knew right away this little deck was what we’d been needing.
As I read through the strategies in the Calming Fears at Bedtime, I zeroed in on the ones that would help me tackle my daughter’s bedtime fears.
That night, I pulled out the card called “Go Through a Fun Door.”
It says, “Ask your kiddo about things they’d love to do: build LEGO, go to a friend’s house, visit a beach, go to a party, etc. At bedtime, encourage your kiddo to envision a ‘Fun Door’ they get to go through and imagine one of those great adventures so they can tell you about it in the morning”
My 5-year-old started that night picking one idea to focus on for her “Fun Door,” and we’ve utilized this strategy most nights since then.
We’ve gone many nights without extra visits, something I didn’t think possible just a few weeks ago.
It’s been amazing to watch what the right tools can do for bedtime anxiety.
And there are so many more incredible, helpful tools in this toolkit.
We’ve pulled out the deck when there’s schoolwork to complete, classes to attend, and big emotions to work through - and each time, we’ve found the strategies truly work.
I'm so grateful for Colleen's genius in developing this Anxiety Toolkit for mommas like me!
I’ve also gleaned from the tremendous amount of research Colleen has compiled on her resources page full of books, blog posts, podcasts, and more to help parents and children learn more about childhood anxiety. Her podcast is amazing! Listen here! :-)
These strategies aren’t just band-aids covering up anxiety, but tools the kids learn and use over and over to conquer it. My goal is to confirm for my kids that their emotions are valid, while also helping them gain command over their emotions that can lead to anxiety.
And I’ve been so impressed with how the Anxiety Toolkit has helped our children learn how to process their emotions, self-regulate, and kick fears to the curb, that I knew I had to share it with you!