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Beating the Monsters - Reading with Bean

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Beating the Monsters

When I was little I swore something lived under my bed. I remember my parents telling me there was nothing under there, but I still needed to have it checked before the lights were turned off each night. 

At certain ages, the imagination of children runs wild. The expansion of the imagination is important and one of the pillars of creativity, but in certain developmental stages it can haunt children and create fears that we adults have a hard time understanding and helping them with. We can tell them that monsters don’t exist and that there is nothing in the closet, but until they truly understand and believe these things, our words are meaningless.

As with many developmental milestones and life changes, books can help us deal with fear, nightmares and imagination. How? By demystifying and giving different perspectives on fear.

Here are some titles I like to help with the bad dream / nightmare / monster under the bed stage:

1) There’s Something There by Mercer Mayer This is a collection of three stories: There’s Something In My Attic, There’s a Monster in my Closet and There’s an Alligator Under My Bed.  All stories are simple and empower the main character, which may provide some ideas on helping your child. I do have one hesitation recommending There’s a Monster in my Closet. The main character sleeps with a pop gun to scare the monster away. While I despise the use and thought of any gun, I do think that having some sort of item that helps a child protect themselves can be a great strategy in dealing with nightmares. My choice of an item would be a teddy bear who can speak Monster…a peaceful negotiator.

2) Bedtime for Monsters by Ed Vere This book is great for the 3-6 year old with monster fears. It not only has great illustrations, but will make you and your child giggle. Turns out that the monster who is supposedly coming to eat you only wants kisses. Love that guy.

3) The Dark by Lemony Snicket  This story is for the older child, but the idea is that once you get used to the dark it is easy to see everything.

I am not a child counselor nor child whisperer, but helping your child differentiate between real and pretend while reading books will help them process the world around them. (This is easy to do and also introduces the idea of fiction and non-fiction literature.) We don’t want to destroy our children’s imaginations, but aim to help them understand what is and what is not real. They will and can continue to use their imagination, but will hopefully also slowly learn the reality and control of these thoughts.

If you have further interest in this subject, here is a great talk on fear. I am still pondering the speaker’s point; maybe you will find something helpful.


  1. Fantastic idea, I’ve always said “monsters aren’t real”, which goes in one ear and out the other. Fortunately my kids don’t sneak into my bed to wake me up when I’m tired, I’ll definitely pick up one or two of these to share with them. Great suggestions!

  2. These are great ideas! Fortunately, we haven’t had to deal with monsters yet but I know it’s only a matter of time. Definitely saving this list for later!

  3. Its kids they have a huge imagination, i used to think there was a crocodile under our sofa so i would jump miles away to get on there..
    im going have to take a look for the books. In case one day one of my kids gets fear


    • readingwithbean

      I remember doing that as well – to my bed. I thought there was a witch under there….Thanks for visiting Yasmina!

  4. Ohh can I add one to your list? Any of the Owly books. I mean, they might not help fight the monsters under the bed, but they would be such a calming read before bed, that no monster would DARE show up .

  5. Hi! Great post. I watched Drop Dead Fred when I was little and I could never sleep at the top of my bed, as I was scared that Drop Dead Fred was going to grab me in my sleep (even though he was the good guy, the visual depiction was traumatising!)

    When I was little, my mum read me a book each bedtime, called ‘Moonbeam’. It was a beautiful book, full of meditations, that helped me deal with my childhood anxieties.

  6. Love the share and great pic!

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