My parents were cleaning out their attic and found a bin of old stuffed animals from when my sister and I were kids. My caring 5 1/2 year old son thought it was so sweet to see one of his mom’s “well loved” stuffed animals as he has a few himself.  After snuggling and tucking kiddo in he, not so quietly, went sneaking around my bedroom. I wasn’t sure what he was doing, other than not sleeping, and I said from the living room “get to bed kiddo.” A moment later I heard him whimpering in his bed. I don’t believe you should ever let a child fall asleep crying so I went in and held him for a moment and asked if he wanted to talk. He shared that it scared him being in a dark space and that he wanted to surprise me by placing my long lost stuffed animal in the bedroom doorway so I would see it and remember to snuggle it. After this I laid with him for a few moments and gently rubbed his face as he fell asleep peacefully.
As a parent I feel it is so important to take the time to show you care and embrace your child, really listen and give them the respect you would like. What a sweet, caring thing my son was doing to surprise me and if I had just said “get to bed kiddo” and let him cry himself to sleep he would have gone to sleep feeling he wasn’t good enough, when in turn he went to bed feeling proud of himself and loved…and so did I.