Some children go through phases of having nightmares, whilst for others it’s a rare but frightening occurrence. If your child is struggling with them, here are three simple but effective ways to help them.
Sleep is important, and it can be incredibly annoying to be woken by your child halfway through the night because a bad dream has disturbed them. However, try your hardest to be gentle and sympathetic – many children can feel genuine terror when they experience bad dreams, and they need to feel safe and secure again. Whether or not you allow them to sleep in your bed for the rest of the night is up to you – sometimes, it’s the easiest solution to ensure that everyone gets at least some sleep that night.
Talk to Them
In the morning, when everything feels less frightening (and exhausting), talk to your child to try and establish where the bad dream came from. More often than not, something that children have heard or seen during the day finds its way into their dreams at night. Work out whether any of their friends are sharing age-inappropriate images, videos, or games, as this can be a quick way to remove the source of the terror. If there’s not a clear source, talk with your child about how they can rationalize their fear in the night. Some children find leaving a nightlight on a massive help, whereas others need the comforting presence of a favorite teddy or blanket.
Change Up Bedtime Routines
Sometimes, switching up routines can disrupt a pattern of bad dreams. Whether you slightly adjust your child’s bedtime, sing a different song while they clean their teeth, or choose a different book to read, these small things can make a massive difference to their mindset as they go to bed. In turn, this can impact the chances of them having nightmares during the night.