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Making the Imaginary Monkeys Go Away...

My 2 1/2 year old son is afraid of imaginary Monkeys that live in the trees and are outside his door. He wakes up with nightmares and starts randomly crying about them during the day. Any ideas?

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Asked by musicmomma_89 at 9:44 PM on Sep. 1, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (10)
  • That is so sad!!! My son is 2 and also having nightmare issues. Have you gone out with him and showed him the tree and let him explore it to see that it's safe and monkey-free? My son was afraid of the noise that was made when our air conditioner kicks on (his room is near the unit for the house) ... so when it started to happen once I took him to the closet that it's in and opened it and let him touch it to see if was cold and making noise and explained to him that it makes the air cold and it comes out the vents. I showed him the vents and we felt the cold air. Now if he starts to get upset about it I ask him what is wrong and he tells me it's the air.. I ask him how the air goes and he just blows air out his mouth, smiles, and goes to sleep. Hopefully showing and explaining can help your son too!

    Answer by Kisses4Henry at 9:48 PM on Sep. 1, 2010

  • get a spray bottle with essential oils and have him help decorate it and call it the monster spray or what not and whenever he wakes up scared spray it and it make s the monsters go away

    Answer by miritrose at 9:49 PM on Sep. 1, 2010

  • My husband tried to carry him out to the trees to show him there was no monkeys, but he starts screaming and freaking out when they are about a yard away.

    Comment by musicmomma_89 (original poster) at 9:51 PM on Sep. 1, 2010

  • Have you tried "Monkey Spray"? Give him a small spray bottle with some water and maybe a few drops of perfume or cologne.... have him spray where the monkeys are. Voila! Monkeys are gone! It also works for monsters, ghosts, aliens, and cats!

    Answer by MommaofH2 at 10:10 PM on Sep. 1, 2010

  • I agree with miritrose. My kids started getting scared of monsters in their rooms when they were 3-4 yrs old. I got a air freshner and would spray their room every night at bedtime. IT WORKED!

    Answer by cuteasabutton78 at 10:11 PM on Sep. 1, 2010

  • Does he know why he's scared of them? Not why he sees them but why they scare him? Maybe knowing the answer to that, can help find a solution to the problem.

    Not trying to freak you out or anything but I saw something on Oprah about a 7yr old with Schizophrenia. In her case she hallucinated imaginary children and animals. She started having imaginary "friends" at about 2.... Here's a link:


    Answer by Krysden at 12:02 AM on Sep. 2, 2010

  • The spray bottle is a good idea, but I want him to understand that they aren't there at all instead of pretending that they are and that he can "spray them away".

    Krysden-One time when we were at the zoo a monkey jumped on to the chain link fence and scared him, but that was a few months ago. I thought if that would have scared him that badly he would have started to have nighmares sooner. I don't think it's anything as serious as schizophrenia. My mom said I used to think there was something under my bed that would get me if it was dark. She said if I woke up and needed to go potty I would call for her to turn the light on before I would get out of bed. She doesn't remember how she got me to stop being afraid though.

    Comment by musicmomma_89 (original poster) at 12:11 AM on Sep. 2, 2010

  • Not knowing how long (or serious) of a thing this was, I wanted to add the link "just in case" Can he answer questions about them? Things like how long they've been there, or what he thinks they will do. The only "real" thing I can think of is to make sure that he knows that monkeys can't live there unless they are in the zoo. That if they are not in the zoo then they can't find food or be taken care of so they don't ever leave. The problem at that age is that they can have such vivid imaginations and often you can't explain something scary away. If using "real" things doesn't work, you may not have any other choice but to go the "monkey spray" route. My oldest talked himself into being scared of things when he was 4 or 5 and the only thing that worked was telling him that monsters and scary things were scared of Teddy Bears because they give good feelings and that is scary to monsters.. I didn't like it but it worked.

    Answer by Krysden at 12:26 AM on Sep. 2, 2010

  • This has only been going on for about 2 months. He's a little bit behind so he has a hard time putting things into words and is just learning to make sentances. I will try to ask him more questions about it though. When we ask him he usually just repeats himself that they are "in trees" or "the door". My husband thinks that maybe he sees the wind moving the branches and thinks it's monkeys, but that doesn't explain why he thinks they are outside the door. We'll try talking to him more and trying to get him to explain better. Thank you.

    Comment by musicmomma_89 (original poster) at 12:34 AM on Sep. 2, 2010

  • Good Luck. I do understand that you want him to know that they are not real. I will say though, that sometimes knowing something isn't real doesn't make the fear of it go away. I remember being scared as a child at a point when I knew that the things that scared me were not real... but that knowledge didn't take away the fear at the time. If you can't get an explanation, try not to let it frustrate you. Not saying you would but I know that that sort of thing can be frustrating. And remember that irrational fears are just that... irrational. There may not be be an explanation for why he thinks they are outside the door other than the fact that he is scared. When you are scared you can imagine the thing that scares you anywhere. Again, do what works. If talking about it works, that's great. If not... monkey spray, or super teddy bears, or whatever. The sooner he can quit being scared, the better.

    Answer by Krysden at 10:36 PM on Sep. 2, 2010

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