Since our whole mice debacle, Sophie was so afraid she couldn’t sleep in her bed for over two months. She actually won’t go in her room at all….not at night or daytime, not ever alone. She just could not do it. I mean, like so scared she was shaking and crying…she doesn’t do that normally. This was a new phobia, brought about by the bastard mice, as I now call them…unless I’m in front of the children of course.
Jack was a good sport about letting her sleep in his bed, but I knew nobody was getting good enough sleep and that if I let this fear go too far, it could just keep reappearing over and over. The thing about fear is that it is SO real to the person having it, even if it makes no sense to anyone else. And fear is scary! It’s paralyzing and inhibiting and it sucks. But dealing with it is tricky too because you can’t force it away and you can’t enable it either. I was sort of clueless as to how we were going to deal with this, so I googled it of course.
What I kept reading over and over is not to trick your child and not to force your child. Also it said not to let your child sleep in your bed repeatedly over fear or it will quickly become a habit and harder to overcome. Oops. So I made a plan on our way home from South Dakota. Since we had been away, I thought it would be a great time to start easing her back into her own bed that night.
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We started by laying down in her bed with her. We turned on the bathroom light so she could see well if she needed the bathroom and we made sure the night light was working too. She said her main fear was that she would wake up and turn on the light and there would be mice running all over her room. Poor thing…I totally get what she’s saying. I have that fear too now, just not as bad. And I have someone to sleep with, but I still cry myself to sleep sometimes. :,(
The first night was shaky. She was not sure she could do it. We laid there and talked about what we could think about instead of mice. She said giraffes. I told her to picture a whole bunch of little giraffes. She thought it would be funnier to picture them jumping over her bed. Ok, whatever works.
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She made it part way through the first night alone, but she woke up in the middle of the night and got in with Jack. But by night two, she was sleeping in her own room all night! She was so proud that morning when she realized she had made it all night and faced her fears!! That really is the key: to face it.
Since then, its hit and miss. She’ll be able to sleep alone for a night or two and then the third night she’ll wake up with Jack. I know it will take some time. Last night we tried a book on tape and instead of laying with her, we just rubbed her back and got her real good and sleepy and left while she was still awake. She did ok.
We’re going to keep at it and continue to face her fear together. I’m hoping its a stage that passes and doesn’t develop into some other fear later on. What about you? Do any of you have experience with fear or phobia? With yourselves or your kids? What worked? What didn’t?
Disclosure: This is a very personal problem for my girl and even though she’s only five, I asked her permission to post this. I asked her if I could blog about her fear, tell my friends what’s been going on with her, and ask if you have any ideas. She agreed and we will read your comments together over tea and molasses cookies. 🙂
Hi Sophie!! I hope you're doing better with sleeping in your bed. ( and you do have the COZIEST and PRETTIEST bed- thanks for sharing with me). When my girls have been afraid, we like to put verses under their pillows. Just knowing God's word is right below their head is a comfort for them. It reminds them to rest in the Truth that God will take care of us. Love you sweet girl! Hope to see you SOON!
Hi little Sophie. My daughter Ava is ten and you know what she likes to do? She hangs pretty twinkle lights (some people call them 'fairy lights' or 'Christmas lights') all around. It makes her room look pretty at night and it helps a LOT… plus it's just cozy and fun to have your own twinkle lights hanging. She has some draped over her window and desk and she also has a little tiny CHristmas tree with them beside her bed. Her daddy and I turn them off when we go to bed but she is okay with that. I'll be praying for you to be really brave! Sending you love from Washington,
Sophie, I think you are so brave! Mice are scary. But, you are stronger. I would use a nightlight if it were me. You have a great Mom. You can do this!
Sophia not Sophie! Sorry!
I'm 35 and have an extreme mouse phobia so I feel for Sophie and for your family. I would have moved out! I find my heart rate goes up when I see them on TV as well. It's horrible! I don't have any suggestions because I haven't gotten over it myself! Hugs from Australia – you're not alone in this fear!
Tell Sophie that we're right there with her…not with mice but bees. We had a nest of yellow jackets in our bathroom wall. After the exterminator came some mouse or something crawled in and started eating the bees. We went from buzzing to scratching. My kids have a fear that bees are going to come pouring out of the bathroom wall. And it's our only bathroom so they have no choice but to go in there. We cling to the scripture that God hasn't given us a spirit of fearfulness. We'll pray that Sophie is able to face her fear and move forward!
You are a lovely momma! Don't forget it!
And funny side story: My 16 yr old son (6'2", ball player, hunter…etc)saw a mouse in his room last week and refused to sleep in there. Here he comes dragging his pillows and blanket and I'm like, "What's up?" He tells me and I just laugh, "Dude, you know mice can go anywhere in the house, right?" There was no mom or dad logic that could make him sleep in that bedroom! Of course it only lasted one night, but still, so funny. He'd be trying to sleep with us if we had the battle you've been having!
Keep your head up!
You are a brave girl.
Praying for you as you overcome your fears!!
Praying you lie down and sleep in peace for God alone makes you dwell in safety!
Awwww…what a sweetheart she is. Please share with her that Im a grown mommy and teacher and thought I wasnt afraid of anything. And then we had a fire in our house. I became so afraid of what we "could have" lost(but didnt). And that night when I climbed into bed after hours of firefighters and neighbors coming in, the fear started to take control. When I looked on my nightstand, I kid you not, there was my daughter's kindergarten "F verse card": F-Fear not for I am with you. Isaiah 43:5 I still have no idea how or when that card got on my nightstand. But I think God wanted me to know that HE was in control and HE WAS WITH ME! So important to remember.
Hugs to your sweet girl!
Way to go, Sophia!
You can be brave because of HIM!
I will pray that you will continue to be brave and not fear, because the Lord is ALWAYS with you!
He is your Protector, Guide, and He loves you so much!
You INSPIRE me, little sweetheart.
I'm so proud of you!
Did you know that just last night, I was afraid in my bed and I had to quote this verse over and over in my head:::
"What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee" Psalm 56:3
You know what?
It works EVERY TIME! I wasn't afraid anymore and I fell asleep right away.
I love this. I love that you two are working together and that you asked to share this. I don't really have any advice to offer, but it sounds like you're doing it right! Also, I spy a garland! You are such a good Mama and she is such a brave girl! Keep working at it Miss Sophia!
we haven't dealt with that, but my first thoguht was a great read aloud where mice are the good guys. Red Wall? The Secret Of Nihm? Somehting like that. I know picturing the mice as cute little warriors may seem odd, but maybe it ill help her think *they're not that bad*. And I agree with facing it. I slept with my mom after my dad died when I was 4. When she got remarried and I had to move to my own room, a couple years later it was tough! blesings <3
Tell Sophie that I am a grown-up Mom and I am afraid of flying and I cannot ride in a car unless I am driving(And i'm not a control freak, I don't even like to drive that much). The best I have been able to do is be a passenger in a car in town, but not on the interstate. Some of our fears may never be completely conquered but we just do our best to deal with thew– no matter how silly or crazy they seem to other people. Tell Sophie I flew on an airplane recently, after not flying for several years, and it was the scariest thing I have ever done. It will be that scary for me every time I do it, but I'm still doing it. I'll be doing it again in April.
Maybe don't tell Sophie all my crazy fears and anxieties 😉 but I think you are doing a fantastic job and I think she is AWESOME!
You are a good Mama – and Sophia! How strong & brave you are! We do not have any advice, just hi-fives for facing your fears! xo
Hi! Lochlan had a fear of shadows in his room at night for awhile. I took everything out of his room that would create a shadow and hung up some Christmas LED lights 🙂 He loves having those in his room! It has been over 2 years now and he still has them in his room. We also prayed every night about his fears and asked Jesus to come and comfort him. Sophia, you are being so brave! We are so proud of you that your are facing your fears! Keep it up girlie, Elizabeth and Lochlan
Sophia, you're such a tough girl! Good for you! I miss you lots!