The Easiest Ways to Make Your Kid's Bedroom Less Scary at Night
A child's bedroom isn't supposed to be scary, but sometimes a weird sound or unusual shadow can make a young one's imagination run wild, leading to lost sleep, anxiety, and nightmares. It can also mean a rough night for yourself if their cries for help wake you up or require you to make room in your own bed when they're afraid to go back to sleep.
Although we can't guarantee that we can get rid of your kid's nightmares. there are a few things you can do to make their room less scary.
Check your mirrors
It feels like every horror or fantasy movie has an intense scene involving a reflective surface. These pieces of furniture are supposed to help us check our appearance before venturing out into the world, but they're often used as a plot device to show us something scary. One look at a stray shadow before bed can set your kid's mind off in a dark place, meaning you have a long night on your hands.
Sarah Jubb at Happy Beds recommends keeping mirrors and other shiny-surfaced items away from your child's bed so they can feel at ease before they go to sleep.
Consider taking down the wall decor
My oldest son loves Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but much of the show's artwork features foot soldiers and other assorted bad guys with large, sharp swords and nunchucks. It looks cool during the day, but when the lights go down, the weapons the villains are wielding can take on a more menacing look.
Parents recommends replacing this type of imagery with something more calming, such as family photos or your kids' artwork. Another suggestion is to decorate with something more cozy: For example, when my family moved into a new house, we used these on the kids' ceiling and beds. Not only did it fire up their imagination (in a good way), it lit up the room--which leads us to the next item on our list.
Light things up
At first, I hesitated to put a nightlight in my boys' room because many of them shine too brightly. The plug-in variety would be bright enough to keep them awak and they would make weird and scary shadows on the wall, which we're obviously trying to avoid.
Like any modern parent, we found a solution to our illumination problem in the most obvious place: Bluey. The titular character from the popular Australian cartoon has at her bedside. When we set ours up in our boys' room, it created a soft glow that spread around the room, filling it with calming colors.
You might have similar success with a simple strand of string lights around the perimeter of the room, which is both festive and soft enough to not keep them awake.
Keep the bed away from any windows
Returning to the subject of scary movies for a moment, they don't do windows any favors either--there's always something creepy lurking on the other side, and they can seem menacing to a child at night, especially when their bed is situation right underneath one.
Jubb suggests placing your child's bed away from windows and even recommends following "feng shui" guidelines and placing it diagonally from their bedroom door. They can see it as they fall asleep, giving them a feeling of security.
Behind the curtains
Floor-length curtains are the perfect place to disappear during a game of hide-and-seek--but when the lights go out, your kids may think someone or something is lurking behind them. Jubb says that putting up half-size curtains or blinds can help remove that fear because no one has ever been frightened by a set of blinds.
Turn up the (white) noise
No room is soundproof, and sounds and conversations from your living room can leak into your child's room, keeping them awake and frightened by what they think they're hearing. A white noise machine is an essential tool in our home. Not only do the gentle sounds of rain soothe them to sleep, but it also shields them from any piercing screams from the scary movie you're watching in the living room.
Clean their room
Chaos and fear are related, so if a room becomes messy during the day, the mess can cause anxiety when it gets dark. Parents says that keeping toys, clothes, and other items organized and put away will lead to less stimulation caused by any lingering clutter.