How to Help Your Kid When They’re Scared From a Nightmare

All of us remember the horror of childhood bad dreams, and the lingering fear they could create, even in the light of day. If your kid is waking up with nightmares, there are things you can put in place to help ease them back to sleep once they’ve woken, and adaptations you can make to reduce the amount of nightmares they’re having overall.

Set a Predictable Bedtime Routine

Lots of kids don’t like going to bed for lots of different reasons, but if you set up a predictable bedtime routine that your kid can follow, it will help them feel less anxious as they drop off to sleep. It will be especially effective if you can spend ten minutes or so in their room with them before they sleep, reading a book, or talking over their day. This winding down activity will help them to feel sleepier and more relaxed, reducing the risk of nightmares occurring.

Don’t Scold Them Once They’ve Woken

If your kid does wake up from nightmares, it can be incredibly frustrating as you will want to get back to sleep as soon as possible. Different parents have different rules about whether they let their kids into their bed in the night, but whatever your stance on this take the time to listen to and soothe your child. Nothing is worse than waking from a nightmare and then feeling like your parents aren’t there to protect and comfort you. Make sure your child is settled before attempting to get them to go back to sleep, otherwise, it’s likely they’ll have another bad dream.

Talk to Them in the Morning

Make sure you check in with your kid in the morning, as many children remain terrified by their bad dreams, even during the day. Talk about your own experiences of bad dreams, and how you learned that, whilst scary, nightmares can’t actually hurt you. Ask your kid if anything is playing on their mind, as sometimes issues at school or with friends can reveal themselves in the form of bad dreams.