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

Does More Exercise Mean Better Learning?
The push to academic learning at the expense of exercise has some parents concerned. Connie thinks her preschoolers academic learning doesn't include enough exercise. She decided to meet with her preschool's administration. The push for ...

posted 7:00:23am May. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Memorial Day: More Than a Backyard Cookout!
Memorial Day is more than a long weekend to play. Yes, it is a three day weekend and the grills are firing up. But it is a day we recognize those who have died while serving in our armed forces. Honestly, it's not a day of joy and fun for ...

posted 7:00:36am May. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Are Your Tweets Tied to Heart Disease?
#AngryInNYC Another stupid person runs in to me. Sorry doesn’t cut it. Look up from your phone you idiot. This is just one example of Sara’s tweets that regular fill her Twitter account. It doesn’t take much to anger Sara. If someone ...

posted 7:00:10am May. 22, 2015 | read full post »

What To Do When Anger is Triggered
Anger is triggered by expectations, perceptions, and things people say and do. These hot buttons are triggers that cause the feeling to rise. Knowing your hot buttons can prepare you for future conflicts. To deal with hot buttons, think ...

posted 7:00:22am May. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Why You Shouldn't Withhold Sex in a Marriage
Aaron and Jill feels distant in their relationship. Because of the lack of closeness, their sex life has suffered. Aaron came to therapy wondering how to change this dynamic in their relationship. Sex is so important to a man’s emotional ...

posted 7:00:16am May. 18, 2015 | 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.