I pride myself on getting my kids to understand that bed time means just that, bed time.  We sleep in the Gilchrest house.  My now 9 month old learned to sleep through the night by month 2 and has been an amazing sleeper ever since (knock on wood).  Don took a little longer to catch on, but once he did (6 months), he too slept through the night.  That’s why this latest spell of my three year old son getting up five times during the night to “pee” needed a solution…quick.

By the second night in a row of my son waking me up 5 times in the middle of the night to go pee, our middle of the night conversation went something like,

“Don, you just peed an hour ago, there is no way you need to pee.”

“But I need to pee”, followed by a great deal of crying.

“Don, there is no way.”

“I do, I do.”

To avoid a wet bed and more disruption of sleep I took my three year old to the bathroom where lo and behold, he did not have to pee.  Back to bed he went.  When he woke up an hour later claiming his same need to go pee, I thought he either had diabetes or this kid is losing his mind.  That’s when it came to me and I said, “are you scared”. “Yes! I don’t know what’s over there.”  Don pointed toward his bookshelf, which in the middle of the night was incredibly dark and pretty creepy (seen through a child’s eyes).  Ah ha.  He is afraid of the dark…now what?!

At that point in the night, losing energy and momentum quick, I certainly wasn’t on my A game.  I told him he was safe and that it was just his bookshelf and that I was just in the other room if he needed me.  That worked for the time being, but he still got up again that night and the night after and the night after that… We now have him sleeping with a flashlight, which seems to be working, although he is still struggling to go to bed and waking up once in the night.  Does anyone have suggestions for dealing with a child who is afraid of the dark?  Will a night light do the trick? Any and all suggestions welcome…I miss and need my sleep!

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