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Child Psychologist Uses Drawing Experiment to Help Eliminate Nightmares

Happy Beds asked over 100 children what would help protect them against nightmares.

Decorate bedroom with superhero colours and use familiar smells amongst top tips.

Is bedtime a nightmare for you and your child? You’re probably not alone, three quarters (73%) of children aged 4-12 have night-time fears, such as monsters and bad dreams.  

To help combat this, Happy Beds spoke to over 100 young children across the UK to find out what children really want in a ‘good’ monster under the bed to protect them from these fears. 

Educational Child Psychologist, Karen Jones, has unpicked the most common monster characteristics from the experiment and applied them practically, explaining how these tips will help children get a better night's sleep.  

Five expert tips to help children sleep  

  1. “A monster who plays music to fight off the baddies” 

Tip: Play a lullaby 

Once your child is in bed, you rely on them feeling relaxed enough to sleep, however, they’re much more likely to enter into a stressed state if they’re sitting in the dark and tuned in to every noise. Playing relaxing music can be key to keeping them calm enough to sleep.  

  1. “My monster smells of my favourite fruit, raspberries and strawberries” 

Tip: Spray familiar scents 

Try spraying a familiar scent, such as mum or dad’s perfume or aftershave in their room or on their bedtime teddy. Smell allows a child to feel calm and protected thanks to the sensory recognition it creates and it can be a great way to soothe a child. 

  1. “A monster with blue fur and red paws” 

Tip: Utilise primary colours 

Whilst we tend to feel like pastel colours are always best as they are calming, when you’re decorating your child’s bedroom, consider brighter, primary colours – such as those that their favourite superhero wears or that they would recognise from a playground. 

  1. “My monster has a special glitter cape when I get scared” 

Tip: Make a calming glitter jar 

Using an old bottle or jar, create a calming jar with glitter, glue and hot water. Watching the swirls of glitter slowly glide from one end of the jar to the other, has a relaxing soothing effect on children and is proven to help with anxiety  

  1. “He has a soft tummy, fluffy arms and velvet legs” 

Tip: Ensure their bed is cosy  

Children love to cuddle – fill their bed with different textured soft items so they can self-soothe. This will help make a secure, safe space for a child to relax in.  

Happy Beds, challenged children to design a new Happy Monster mascot to win a brand-new child’s bed worth £500, as well as have their monster properly designed into a real-life soft toy.   

After hundreds of imaginative and exciting entries, a winner has been chosen, with Educational Child Psychologist, Karen Jones, giving her insight into the designs. 

 The winner… Superhugs, designed by Logan, aged 3 from Scotland. 

This hairy blue and red monster, named Superhugs, was declared the winner. Logan’s mum, who designed him said:  

“Superhugs monster senses tell him when bad dreams are coming, his blue fur tingles and sends a forcefield to banish all bad dreams away from the bedroom, then a warm hugging red glow appears and comforts the little one through the night. He smells of raspberries and strawberries and is super soft to touch, with a bright furry red face & paws.” 

Karen Jones commented: “As children’s senses are much more sensitive than those of adults, this also makes them the best way to go from stressed to calm. Logan has given Superhugs certain sensory cues, such as bright, primary colours and a unique smell, which can be the quickest way to soothe a child.” 

For tips on helping children sleep with night terrors, click here.