3 Year Olds and Monster!

Updated on April 16, 2010
C.K. asks from Marysville, WA
28 answers

My little girl is 3 years old and half through the night she wakes up crying about monsters and we don't let her watch scary movies or anything even when in the day time she talks about monster's and how they get her but I talk to her about they can't get her with daddy around but he works nights is there a way i can make her feel safe with out daddy around all the time?

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answers from Portland on

My daughter is only 2, and has never talked about monsters or being scared of anything, but if she did, I would remind her that "monsters" are the fun characters on Sesame Street, like Elmo and "Cookie" as my daughter calls the Cookie Monster. So you can tell her that when she sees monsters, they are probably visiting from Sesame Street :)



answers from Portland on

Try teaching her about angels. Kids her age can grasp concepts of invisible things existing (whether they do, as in the case of angels, or don't, as in the case of monsters). So teach her that angels are stronger than monsters and will protect her all the time. That might help.


answers from Medford on

Get a spray bottle and fill it with Monster busting potion (aka Water). Give it to her and ask her to help you rid the house of the scary monsters. Spray water where ever she says that monsters hide and the rest of the house too, just to be safe. Then keep it nearby for those latenight monster sightings! Make it fun and exciting. Chances are she will feel safe!

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answers from Topeka on

I have a funny memory from many years ago when our first daughter was a toddler. She was absolutely CONVINCED that there was a monster in her closet that was going to get her at night!! ( I think it was connected to the fact that she had been moved out of her toddler bed into a "real" bed, as we prepared for her sisters birth). Nothing we did seemed to help until my husband went in and got a can of bug spray, he brought it into the room ( with the label hidden so she couldn't see what it was) and sprayed it in the closet floor. He made a big deal out of telling her that this was "super duper monster spray" and that no monster had EVER been able to stay in the same house after it was used!!! I don't know if it speaks to my husband fantastic story spinning or to my daughters faith in her Daddy but that was the last that we heard of the scary monster in the closet!!!
Sometimes we just have to acknowledge our childrens fears as "real" and deal with them in a way that makes them feel secure.
Hope this idea helps

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My wife and I did the "Monster Spray" with our 4yo twin girls and it worked flawlessly. We casually mentioned their fears to their pediatrician, and she was the one who suggested the spray to the girls. She gave us an empty bottle, but told the girls it was full of "invisible magic sprinkles" that gets rid of Monsters. We talked to them about monsters and how they were just "pretend"...and participated with them in checking the room, closets, and sprinkling the monster dust around. We made a game out of it and just had some fun. My wife would pretend to sprinkle me with the dust and the girls would laugh and do the same. It really distracted them from their fears. We also let them know that we understood their concerns, but showed them that they didn't need to be afraid. It didn't take long for the monster spray to start collecting dust!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We got a squirt bottle and filled it with water. We told our toddler son that it was monster spray. If he saw the monster, he should just spray it...that monster would disappear - just like that!
Worked like a charm.

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answers from Columbia on

We have also had luck with "Monster Spray". We went further and actually made up a bottle of water and vinegar with a homemdae tag that says "Monster Spray". Our three year old now request it occassionally so she can go on a monster hunt. She is even brave enough now to use her flashlight and shimmy under her bed with the spray to get the monsters herself.

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answers from Saginaw on

We had this same problem. I told my daughter that mommy and daddy was gonna kick the monsters butts right out of the room! So my husband and I would ask her where they were and then pretend to grab the monsters and kick them out the house! I know it sounds weird and kinda "violent" but it was actually pretty funny! After a few nights of that my daughter said the monsters were scared to come back in our house cause they knew that her mom and dad were gonna kick them out! Good luck!



answers from Detroit on

I agree with the other posters Monster Spray is the way to go....we used the can of hairspray that was under the sink, he would spray it into the doorway of his sister's room (where the monster would come from) and all would be good....he had to spray most nights for about a month.....good luck



answers from Minneapolis on

My 2.5 year old has been scared of the "lion" in the house. Well, Mommy kicked his butt out the front door and told him not to come back (in an over exaggerated fashion). When our daughter brings it up, we remind her that Mommy kicked him out and no one has let him back in. We also tell her that he is sad that he outside by himself and just wanted to be her friend, but it is up to her when he can come back to play.

I've also been told that we need to teach them that they can get rid of any monsters (or lions) on their own so that they feel comfortable when Mommy or Daddy are not there.

At ECFE class last week we talked about this. We were told that if they can imagine it, it is real to them and that we need to take them seriously, but to try to difuse the situation and explain to them that they are safe.



answers from Spokane on

I havn't been through this but I have a few thoughts that may help.

My son loves real life shows about sharks and sea creatures that look a lot like monsters to me. I worry that he will have bad dreams. He is a very logical child so that helps us but when he does talk about being scared we talk about the "logic" of it. We explain that they live very far away and they aren't trying to be mean they are just doing what they naturally do. Now, you said that she is scared of pretend monsters so instead of putting the power of safty in her dad, who isn't there to save her, give her the strength to protect herself. explain that monsters aren't real like her favorite cartoon isn't real. I know this wont take all fear away but it's a start. then maybe give her a flash light by her bed so if she get scared she can make the monster go away with the light!

By doing things like this she is being give the ability to depend on herself and feel strong and confident. She knows that you are still there.

If your daughter is a "silly" girl and loves playing pretend and make believe put power in that. Have her make a "go away monster dance" that she can do before she goes to bed.

Again, this is giving her the ability to make the monster go away making her strong. By saying that daddy can save her is also telling her that SHE CAN NOT make them go away.

good luck I hope this helps!



answers from Seattle on

Most children pass through the "monster" phase whether they watch scary movies or not. My boys did, too. We just carefully did a thorough check for any bad monsters before getting into bed. We looked in the closet and under the bed and we talked about a plan for what to do if anything or anyone frightening ever was there. I talked to my boys about how big and strong they were getting and how if they yelled and kicked and punched any bad monsters who tried to hurt them, the monsters would be afraid and run away. I also told them when they yelled that of course I would come to help them if they needed help. The monster phase didn't last very long and it helped the boys to be confident in their own abilities to solve their own problems and take care of themselves.

I also totally agree with Susan's comments about not encouraging the idea that "Daddy" is the only one who can protect your daughter. This type of thinking just encourages girls from an early age to think that men will solve their problems for them and can cause women to be insecure, lack confidence in themselves and make poor choices long after "the monsters" are gone. For your daughter's sake, please set an example that women are strong and capable of taking care of themselves and solving their own problems.



answers from Honolulu on

Here is a link, from MamaPedia, about a same question that was posted here yesterday:

When you are with your daughter and she is scared of something etc., I would "not" say that Daddy is the one that is the "solution." Because otherwise she will expect that ONLY "Daddy" can help her... or that "Daddy" is a "man" so he is stronger etc.
You want her to just feel comfort with you too.... not making it about Daddy being the only one. That she can rely on you too.

She is normal... "fears" of all kinds develop in kids from about 2-3 years old. Even my Daughter who is 7... still sometimes gets night-time fears.

all the best,



answers from Indianapolis on

We believe our 3 year old son learned to be scared of monsters from a really cute library book we got several months ago (The Monster that Ate the Darkness). He'd been watching Monsters.inc for well over a year, and we don't talk about monsters at home.

We tried to convince him that we monster-proofed the house when we had it built, that both our cat and dog would eat a monster.

Finally, about 2 months ago, we told him that Monsters aren't real. If you ask him who the real monsters are, he'll tell you Cookie Monster, Mommy Monster, Daddy Monster and him.

We just have to keep reminding him that they're not real.
I don't know if I'd personally try the Monster Spray for concern it would reaffirm that they may actually exist when you want the opposite.

Good luck. That's a tough one because their imaginations are so vivid at this age.



answers from Seattle on

My son just turned 3 years old and we have been checking for monsters at night for over a year now. He was having some scary dreams for a while so we started a new night time routine of after we read a book we end the night with a special happy thought, which can be rather entertaining some nights with the things he comes up with. After the happy thought, we check for monsters which has turned into being more of a fun game than anything scary. He has a flashlight, "pow-pows" (nerf guns) and also a foam sword. Everynight while he watches from his bed either mommy or daddy "attack" the monsters with the foam sword whereever he tells us we need to check. If he says closet we open the closet and dramatically fight the monsters by smacking the door frame with the sword and making grunting sounds while shouting ridiculous exagerated things to them which makes load cracking sounds that make him giggle. We do this for all the bedrooms and bathrooms (just by beating them and smacking the monsters from the doorway with the sword) When we are done he is completely satisfied that all the monsters are gone because either mommy or daddy has gotten rid of them.

I would suggest you get her a flashlight and a special sword or fairy princess wand that magically beats up the scary monsters and takes them away to far away lands. Every night end the night with a happy thought. Tell her she can choose whatever happy things she wants to dream about which will give her something to look forward to every night. This way it will help her to go to sleep thinking of happy things versus scary monsters. Get a night light or leave a distant light on for her. My hubby installed a dimmer on our hallway light which helped a lot. Tell her monsters don't exist and if they did they can't EVER get her, not just with daddy around but also you and her dolls or pets or whatever else you want to say. Tell her her stuffed animals all watch over her while she sleeps and protect her. Let her tell you all the places to check for monsters and battle them to the ground momma! Giving her the power to check all these places will make her feel more confident and rid her of any doubt. Have fun with it!


answers from Philadelphia on

I see a lot of people talking about monster spray. I am sure it works but the problem that I have with it is that you are telling your kids, "Yes there are monsters and you need this to protect yourself." Instead keep up the communication and bring your child into the solution. Ask them what might make them feel better. Perhaps a night light, flash light, or such. Also take a look at their room from their perspective. Is something making a shadow? Do things look mer menacing in the dark? You may want to de-clutter or rearrange the room.

B. Davis

Child And Family Coaching
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answers from Spokane on

My son had monster issues at about the same age. My husband also works nights. I told him that there are no monsters in our house b/c Mommy is meaner than any monster out there and they are afraid of her. That's all it took :)
Good luck!!


answers from New York on

We had Monster be gone spray. It was a can of air freshner in a scent that I usually didn't use. I took paper and made a label showing monsters running away from someone spraying. Every night we'd be sure to use our monster be gone spray and the scent stuck around long enough for the scared child to fall asleep. At first we'd have to respray during the night but after a while it seemed to work without a repeat application.



answers from San Diego on

I wish I'd heard of "Monster Spray" (didn't learn about it until coming to this site a few years too late).

What we did was to watch Monsters Inc., AND we have a family tradition of "magic covers" (aka your bedspread). My grandmother started it as a way to keep 6 kids under 6 in bed. As long as you were under the magic covers you were safe.


answers from Portland on

I can sympathize a little with you. I have a 3 year old that has a very vivid imagination, it was not monstors that scared her, but shadows. What we did, in additon to the night light, was to let her sleep with a small flashlight, and also, I do not know if you are religous or not, but having her say a prayer to Heavenly Father to help her not be scared has helped her as well. Hope you are able to find something that helps!




answers from Seattle on

Definitely create some ritual that will get rid of the monsters or help protect her from them (I blow my 3-year-old son "fast" kisses that chase away his bad dreams every night). I also tell him that Mommy AND Daddy would never let a monster get him if they existed. I do make sure to tell him there's no such thing as well.



answers from Portland on

Buy a twilight turtle that she can turn on in the middle of the night they project stars everywhere. Without casting shadows so it is much better than a nightlight...u can say they are magic and she can turn on without bothering u. And or buy an ugly doll. These look like monsters. You can tell her that it willl be her very special monster friend and other monsters won't come to her house because they will know that a monster already lives there.



answers from New York on

Coolest thing.............monster be gone kit - my daughter was between 3 & 4 and went thru the same thing. We had just moved into an older, creekier house too that didn't help. We found this kit that had just a small spritzer that we filled w/water (monster potion) and my husband would spray every inch of Sami's room before she went to bed. We also made a sign for the door telling the monsters to stay away (incase there were any straglers) - we just kinda went along w/the whole thing & in no time she was fine. He would spray under the bed & in closets too. I don't remember where we bought ours from but if you just get a water bottle it should do the trick. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

We got a small door gate and we "lock" our huge dog in her room until she falls asleep. We say "Do you think Maverick would let monsters in the house?" and she giggles and says NO WAY. As for our dog, he's a good sport and we give him a blanket to lay on while he's in there. (we do have to use the gate because he would rather hang out with us than sleep in her room).

We also have bought her a little flashlight that is easy for her to turn on and off.



answers from Raleigh on

We handled this two ways-1. We explained that monsters aren't scary. Cookie Monster, Grover, and Elmo are all monsters. And they are definitely not scary! He thought about this for a while and that seemed help a lot. 2. We got my son a Glomate nightlight, which we can Glowbuddy. He can take it into bed with him and it's safe and rechargeable. We told him that Glowbuddy chases away anything in the night that might make him feel scared. (They do make battery powered cheaper versions available at Walmart, as well.)



answers from Dallas on

When my daughter was 3, the monsters came to our house, also. We don't watch scary movies, watch scary books, etc. I think they are just a "part of of lives". Anyway, we talked about the fact that monsters are good and talked about some of the good ones like Elmo and Grover. The monsters also don't like to sleep at our house. They come for a visit but leave at nighttime because they have their own house and mommy monster wants them home when it gets dark. If you have stubborn monsters then you can get out the monster spray (any aerosol spray like window cleaner). It works wonders under the bed and in the closet. Eventually the monsters kind of go away on their own. Sometimes with friends they will chase the monsters but that is about it. So, yes the monsters will be a part of your lives for a short while and then they kind of disappear.. You just have to find what works for you and your daughter. Leaving a lamp on helps a little also.


answers from Savannah on

Hey C.,

I'm totally for the Monster Spray. As a former preschool teacher of 3's and as a mommy - you just can't use logic for her at this age. All she knows is that she's scared. When you're afraid, you're not very logical anyway. When you're 3 years old and afraid - you're REALLY not logical.

Having someone explain that monsters don't exist is silly because at this age she cannot comprehend the concept of existence. She doesn't have the cognitive ability yet to understand what that means. It would be like asking a 9 month old to use silverware. They just don't have the fine motor skills to hold the fork!

Monster spray is good for emergencies when she's crying or upset because she feels insecure.... but movies about nice monsters, books about silly monsters and shows like Sesame Street will help convey to her that its not meant to be frightening, so use these during the day time to help place happier pictures of monsters in her mind instead of whatever she's imagining. The more she can remember funny movie characters or books she likes, the less likely she will be to freak out.

Eventually it will get better. It is so common for kids to be afraid of things that don't exist. Even I still don't like being in the complete dark. It makes me uneasy. See what I mean? Even adults have strange fears that do not subside even though we know there is nothing to be afraid of.

Best of luck!



answers from Portland on

I painted my son's room with "Monster Proof Paint". That seemed to do the trick. LOL! He still remembers that fondly.

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