Nightmares In Kids: An Intro.
It’s not uncommon for children to have nightmares, but it can be hard on them if they have them frequently. Nightmares are scary, and it often seems like there’s nothing you or your kids can do about them. However, this is not always true!
This article will discuss ways to deal with nightmares in children so they won’t continue to disrupt sleep patterns or cause anxiety in everyday life.
What Are Nightmares?
Nightmares are bad dreams that can be disturbing and scary. They occur when your brain cannot distinguish between what’s real and not, so it thinks something happening in the dream is happening in reality. It then triggers a fight or flight response from your body – adrenaline rushes through you because of fear, which is why nightmares often cause sufferers to feel distressed.
Why Should Nightmares Be Addressed?
Nobody likes nightmares. They are frightening, and they make us feel vulnerable or scared, so what is the point of them? Nightmares can cause intense feelings of fear and discomfort that may affect our ability to sleep well. Nightmares also have been linked with child psychology and psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety disorders. This is why as parents, we should address these as soon as possible.
What Can We Do About Nightmares?
Many natural remedies for terrifying dreams have been in use for centuries. These can include eating a light meal before bed or even taking melatonin. But there is no single foolproof solution to stopping nightmares. What works best varies from child to child, and what worked last time may not work the next time. So parents should keep trying to deal with nightmares in different ways.
8 Ways To Deal With Nightmares In Children.
1. Practice A Regular Relaxing Bedtime Routine.
You can follow these steps:
- Brush teeth before bed with the child.
- Put children in clean pyjamas or nightgowns and brush their hair.
- Sing lullabies to children as they go to sleep if desired.
- Read books together at bedtime.
2. Talk About The Nightmares.
Sit the child down and discuss their thoughts. Reassure them that they are safe. Help them make sense of their dreams by illustrating or drawing them. Expressing emotions through storytelling, art and journaling can help kids in understanding what they were scared about.
3. Apply Distraction Techniques.
Write a list of your child’s favourite things. Then, watch a movie, read books together. Have your child go to bed earlier, expose the child to new activities. Play with them in the morning or afternoon before naps.
4. Use Night Light to Prevent Bad Dreams.
Therapy for dealing with nightmares can include using night light in the child’s room. Thoughts and imagery leading to a nightmare are often caused by a child’s fear of the dark. Give your child something to be afraid of in the light rather than the darkness. Use night lights that can display different shapes and colours, like a moon or stars on them. The dim light will make sure your child has fewer nightmares resulting from their fear of darkness.
5. Provide Comfort Measures.
You can use bed sheets and blankets illustrating fairy tales and cartoons they love. Yawning, stretching, and deep breathing can also help promote sleep. Offer them a drink of warm milk before bedtime to ensure they don’t wake up with a dry mouth.
6. Offer Reassurances.
Keep reassuring a child that everything is okay. Encourage comfort measures such as holding his hand while walking or sometimes while sleeping if he’s having a nightmare. If your kid is too frightened to go back to sleep, get them out of bed and reassure them that it was just a bad dream. Sometimes they may be so scared by what happened that they don’t want you to leave their side for a while after waking up from it all.
7. Rewrite The Ending Of The Nightmare.
Reframe the nightmare. Ask your child what the bad guy wanted them to do or why they were chasing after them? Help your child develop a good solution for that situation (ex: tell the ghost you are sorry and give it some cookies).
8. Accept Nightmares As Part Of Growing Up.
It happens to everyone. Dreams help children process their emotions and thoughts. They also protect them from real danger by creating a safe space to work through the scary things that may happen in life. Encourage your child to tell you about their nightmares so they don’t have to go through it alone, even if they wake up.
This blog post is meant to be a helpful guide in understanding bad dreams and how they affect people. There are many ways of dealing with them, which we will explore below. I hope this has been an informative read for you!
Nightmares can have significant effects on our mental health, so we must learn about the different types and what causes them.
Above were some tips from experts on dealing with these night terrors when your child comes up with them. Turn off all screens before bedtime (TV, phone) as these stimuli can trigger your brain’s fear response; practice good sleep hygiene by going to bed at the same time every day.