The dreams we have when we sleep are a natural part of who we are and how we live our lives. They may represent our hopes and dreams or our worst fears, which we may not even be consciously aware of.
Most of us have dreams once in a while that really scare us. “Bad” dreams, as we most commonly refer to them can be especially scary to young kids. Where do our dreams come from? Dreams are one of the ways our subconscious mind deals with our fears and also what we love. Our dreams also process what is happening in our lives. Some experts refer to dreams as our release mechanism.
It can feel very unsettling to wake up from a bad dream. Often times kids may not be able to relate to the subject matter or even be able to describe the events in the dream they just experienced. They just know it was terrifying by the way it makes them feel when they wake up. It may even feel like their dream means something bad may happen to them or a loved one. As you soothe your child into feeling better, there are a few things you may keep in mind.
How do you soothe your children from the fears they experience from having a scary dream?
~ Tell your kids that all dreams are a natural part of our lives even though sometimes they don’t feel good. In simple terms, you may explain their dreams are their way of working things out, even if they don’t understand how or why.
~ Ask them if they feel like talking about the dream. Honor what they want and don’t force them to relive it.
~ Your child will react to their disturbing dream however you react to it. Focus on soothing your child with reassuring words as opposed to horror at what they may be recounting to you.
~ Encourage your child to not place judgment on their scary dreams. The more you refer to these as bad dreams, the more your child will be resistant to them and take longer to return to wellbeing.
~ If your child has a tendency to have scary dreams, be aware of what they are watching on TV or video games before bedtime. Also, keep any conversations near bedtime upbeat and as positive as you can. They fall asleep with whatever energy was nearest to their bedtime and also what was most dominant during their day.
~ Assure your child that even though their scary dream seemed very real, it doesn’t mean something bad will happen to them or someone they love.
~ Scary dreams can pass through your child quicker if they aren’t dwelled upon. Encourage them to find a happier focus. You can be an inspiration to them by helping find subjects or activities you know bring them joy.
~ Kids sometimes need to have their space and be alone to process their dreams. Communicate with your child to determine what will make them feel the best.
You want your child to fall asleep each night with a sense of wellbeing. One of the ways you can facilitate this wellbeing is to create an atmosphere of positivity and calm each night in your home. Evenings can be hectic, busy and non-stop but this doesn’t preclude them from being happy and positive.
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© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.