Advertisement

Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

10 Ways to Help Your Child With Nightmares

sad childSarah sat up in bed and began to cry. Another nightmare woke her from a deep sleep.

Between the ages of three and six, nightmares occur for two developmental reasons: 1) Fears begin to develop 2) A child’s imagination is very active. Being overly tired, getting irregular sleep, dealing with stress and anxiety all increase the possibility of nightmares. In rare cases, nightmares can be caused by genetic factors so always check with your pediatrician before assuming cause.

Advertisement

A study published in the journal Sleep found three common traits in children with nightmares. These traits were noticed as early as five months of age. According to the study, children who tended to have nightmares had difficult temperaments (based on ratings by mothers), were restless during the day and were anxious and difficult to calm down.

Nightmares are often a way for children to cope with unpleasant events or change in their lives like divorce, a death, beginning school, moving, etc. So if you have a child experiencing nightmares, think about what is going on during a typical day.

Here are a few other tips to help a child with nightmares:

1)    Add a nightlight to the bedroom.

2)    Keep the bedroom door open.

Advertisement

3)    Briefly check under the bed and in the closet for “monsters.”

4)    Offer lots of physical reassurance when a child wakes up scared.

5)    Give the child a special blanket or toy to keep him or her company.

6)    Make sure the child is following a regular sleep routine. Keep the routine upbeat and soothing.

7)    Pray with your child before he or she goes to bed and ask God to give him or her sweet dreams. Remind your child that angels watch over him or her.

8)    Explain that a dream is just a story in the child’s head and that the child can change the ending if he or she wants to do so. Sometimes just talking about a new ending to the scary dream can help.

9)    Don’t allow the child to come to your bed for the night. This is a difficult habit to break if you start it. Simply reassure the child, rub his or her back, pray and stay until he or she calms down.

10)  Identify reasons for him or her to feel anxious or out of control.  Make sure the culprit isn’t watching scary media. It took me years to get over the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz!

 

Previous Posts

Thrive Vs. Survive Your Life
Is your life a great adventure or are you just trying to survive the day? Be honest. When it comes to everyday living, most of us would opt for more adventure and less boredom. We waste too much time fretting about things we can’t control and ...

posted 7:00:00am May. 02, 2016 | read full post »

Going Home, With Realistic Expectations
Sitting with women friends at coffee one day, the conversation turned to the topic of mothers and daughters. There we sat, discussing how to feel like grown ups around our moms. Visits home often left these women feeling like they were ...

posted 7:00:23am Apr. 29, 2016 | read full post »

Helping Our Children Keep the Faith
So many parents feel tremendous pain at having children who leave their Christian faith and do not go to church. According to studies by both Barna Group and USA Today, the staggering numbers are almost 75% of Christian young people. The ...

posted 7:00:51am Apr. 27, 2016 | read full post »

God, Where Are You, Do You Care?
About a month ago, I visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC. The experience was sobering, frightening, and chilling. This was clearly one of history's darkest chapters. At the end of the tour, I was struck by one of the survivors ...

posted 7:00:01am Apr. 25, 2016 | read full post »

Stress Help: Think on These Things
Stress affects people differently. Some people carry stress in their physical bodies. Others are more stressed because of their thoughts. They worry and become anxious. When stress originates from your thoughts, you need cognitive strategies ...

posted 7:00:54am Apr. 22, 2016 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.