Join   Sign In  

Dealing With Nightmares When You Have Kids


Nightmares can be frightening for people of all ages. But it can be especially difficult for young kids who have a hard time differentiating a dream from real life. Here are some tips to dealing with bad dreams with your little ones:


Try to think back to what you were afraid of as a little kid. Maybe it was the dark, monsters or clowns. Those fears may have even persisted to adulthood. When you're a child or an adult, it's natural for your fears to flow into your dreams at night, oftentimes making them nightmares. For kids and adults alike, this can making sleeping incredibly scary and difficult. If your little one is experiencing nightmares, it's important to empathize with your child. Understanding how fear is different for children is the first step to helping your kid deal with nightmares.

Talk about it

It's important that you talk to your child about what scares them to understand what may be driving these nightmares. If your little girl is having nightmares there's a monster underneath her bed, it may be because she's afraid of the darkness (or just watched the movie "Monsters Inc."). Once you're aware of what might be scaring your child, you can take conscious steps to prevent future nightmares. Sit your little one down and explain how monsters aren't real. Perhaps you two can check underneath the bed or in the closet each night to showcase there is no one there. If darkness is an issue, try a nightlight or keep your child's door cracked. Comfort is key, and sometimes all your little one needs is a little reassurance. There's no one better to do it than the kid's own parent.

Limit consumption of media

Though your child's mind is imaginative, a lot of nightmares stem from frightening entertainment. Make sure to put parental locks on your television shows so your child doesn't end up watching something he or she isn't old enough to see. Depending on your kid's age and personality, stay away from scary books or stories before bedtime, as it will be on your little one's mind right before he or she falls asleep. Read happy or funny books so your child goes to sleep in a good mood.

In addition, your little one may benefit from a strict bedtime routine. Changes may spur nightmares. Establish a nightly pattern with your little one for consistency. These practices can help stabilize his or her mind to make falling asleep (and staying asleep) a breeze.

Be patient

Nightmares are common and normal for people of all ages, especially little kids. Be patient in helping your child overcome them. Take conscious steps to comfort them, and these terrifying dreams will be over before you know it. If the nightmares persist over time and pose a serious problem for your little one's daily life, you may want to consider contacting a physician or psychotherapist for help.

3 Sleeping Guidelines For Kids Ages 4-6
How Old is Too Old to Co-Sleep? 4

You Might Like