That adorable little tick is a holdover from life on the African steppe, when humans were still happy with their “Food Chain Top 10” status, and a few thousand years of roofs and down comforters and Sleep Sheeps isn’t enough to reverse genetic coding. As for the next level of scared-of-the-dark-ness – night terrors and nightmares – science is still trying to figure out why a kid’s own brain conspires to scare the hell out of them while they sleep, but everyone agrees it’s perfectly normal.
Normal is great, but trying to comfort a terrified kid in the middle of the night is not. And, since your “I checked under the bed and there aren’t any monsters” line doesn’t seem to be working, arm yourself with these slightly more sophisticated tools.
Night terrors are a specific kind of awful for parents: similar to nightmares but way more physically violent. Common in toddlers and preschoolers, research suggests they happen when kids fall into a deeper-than-normal sleep. Lully is designed to learn your kid’s sleep pattern, and then stimulate them with gentle vibrations at specific points to ensure they remain at a healthy depth of sleep throughout the night. It’s been clinically proven to work, which, unfortunately, is more than you can say for your hugs.
Designed in conjunction with psychologists, Glow Away leverages the source of your kid’s nightmares – their imagination – to empower them in the face of fear. It’s actually a pretty low-tech system: First, you read your kid a book written around a spell that chases monsters away. Then, when you turn off the light, the accompanying duvet cover illuminates with the same spell from the book. When you leave the room, you kid has a physical reminder that everything will be ok – until they hit their teen years and discover you’ve been lying to them this whole time.
Duux Baby Projector
Night lights are the first line of defense against a fear of the dark, and basic models can be pretty effective. The Duux projector is a step up visually, as it turns your kid’s ceiling into a multicolored constellation of stars; it’s a step up technically because it’s voice-activated to respond when they freak out. That’s not to say it will save you a trip to their bedroom, but at least you’ll both have something to look at while you’re there.
Similar to, if slightly less sophisticated than, Glow Away, Monster Scout is a smartphone app that lets your kid scan any part of the house where monsters might lie in wait for night time before appearing to devour them. When it finds one (which it will), your kid gets to zap them and sleep easier knowing that they personally made everything all clear. It also leverages their own over-active imagination to empower them, and they no longer have to rely on your assurances that everything’s ok because they’ve done the dirty work themselves.