According to Dr Henderson, while many young children face these common night fears there has previously been little help available for these children and their families. As a mother of three, Dr Henderson says that she discovered this first-hand when her daughter's monster dreams led to frequent night waking and distressing bedtime battles. Calling upon her years of medical and therapy training, she created a story, personalized for her daughter, in which a girl overcomes her fear of monsters. She then encouraged her daughter to illustrate her story. As Dr Henderson explains, "The story is based on successful therapeutic principles but what made it really meaningful for my daughter was that it was about her and her monster, rather than featuring an unknown child with a nonspecific monster character. I think that's why it was so effective so quickly. Within a week of reading it together, my daughter was sleeping through the night".
Inspired by this success, Dr Henderson developed her second story to help children who are scared of the dark, then established Little Children Big Dreams (www.littlechildrenbigdreams.com) to share these stories with other families. Each personalized story is accompanied by a guide for parents on how to use the story to help their child overcome their fear of the dark or fear of monsters.
"It's so common for children to be afraid of the dark or scared of monsters yet parents often feel powerless, not knowing how to help. Often they try to convince children that their fears aren't real. Unfortunately this often leaves children feeling afraid and alone while their parents feel exhausted and frustrated", says Dr Henderson. "These stories can be downloaded and printed immediately from the Little Children Big Dreams website making them really simple yet effective tools for parents to help their children overcome their fears."
Along with the launch of the Little Children Big Dreams website, Dr Henderson has also announced her parenting blog (also found at www.littlechildrenbigdreams.com), offering parents free online access to a Child Psychiatrist. This parenting blog invites parents to write in with topics that they would like information about. As Dr Henderson explains "Parents often meet with a lot of misinformation. My blog aims simply to help parents to best help their children".
Dr Kaylene Henderson, MBBS (Qld) FRANZCP Cert C&A Psych, is a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist and the founder of Little Children Big Dreams, www.littlechildrenbigdreams.com, "helping more children fear less".