What do you do when your child has a nightmare?
Nightmares can be hard on both children and their parents. How do you handle it when your child has had a bad dream?
My daughter has been getting nightmares for the past 4 yrs (she's 8 yrs right now) and what I do is, pray. I have her say the prayer and we hold hands while she is praying. When she's done I kiss her on the forhead tuck her back into bed and tell her God is watching over her and protecting her. This is normally what she saids.."Dear Father, we come to you father to help me sleep at night. Please take the bad people and monsters out of my head and help me dream nice things, like you and the angels, I love you God, thank you Amen"... This helps her... she gets nightmares about once every other week... All you can really do is comfort them... whatever works to help your kids feel protected and not scared anymore...
Although my daughter has not had a bad dream, I would say that I'd sit with her, hold her tight to comfort her. Reassure her that everything is all right or will be alright and maybe see if she wants to sleep with me that night.
When my daughter is 9yrs old and has a nightmare once in a while. She comes into my room, I hug her and ask her if she wants to tell me about it. Sometimes she does and sometimes she doesn't. Then all I need to do is to tuck her back in to her bed and she goes back to sleep. Most of the time a child just needs to be comforted.
My son started sleep walking and having nightmares when my husband was deployed but in the last month he was having nightmares almost nightly. My mom sent my husband a prayer bear when he was down range, this is a bear that was passed around her church and people prayed over it for him then they sent it to him, she suggested that I do this for my son when the nightmares were so bad. I couldn't find a bear at the store that wasn't to expensive for a bear so I bought him a little pillow. We prayed over it together as a family about 3 or 4 weeks ago and he has only had one nightmare since.
My kids don't have them very often but when they do I calm them down, then I tell them to tell me about it because if we talk about it and let it out of our head it won't come back. usually when they tell about it I think of something silly about the nightmare and then they laugh, lay back down and sleep soundly the rest of the night. Works everytime!
Because I cannot hear, my daughters come running in by me and lay down next to me. I ask them what's wrong and they'll tell me they either don't feel well or they are scared of the dark or they had a bad dream. I tell them that it is only a dream and that it can't hurt them. They feel alot better knowing mommy's there.
My son has nightmare's all the time. He has to sleep with someone right next to him or he panics. I would say he experiences night terrors. What I do is run my fingers starting at his temples up and over his ears to calm the fight or flight meridians. This calms the body down fast. Then I place one hand across his forehead as if I'm checking for a fever and the other across the back of his head. This is called the neurovascular hold and it brings the blood back to the frontal, reasoning part of the brain. (This is a great technique for everyone when they are feeling stressed and about to lose it.)
Here's the link to a video demonstration http://www.ginnywalker.com/how-to
While we're doing the neurovascular hold, I ask my son to repeat after me, "I'm feeling scared and it's okay. I'm safe and okay right now. I'm choosing to let all this scary stuff go. It's safe to go to sleep and relax, I'm okay and I am loved. I am never alone."
This seems to work really well because these techniques take the body out of the fear response and help my son to be able to think clearly and to calm down completely.
I have found that most generally with each of my 4 children whenever they have had a bad dream they always need to use the bathroom. I know I don't sleep soundly if I have to go. This is when they are most likely to dream. So I walk with them to the bathroom. (Of course, as they get older I wait outside the bathroom.) Then we talk about what the dream was and why it won't realistically happen. Finally, we pray that God would give them a sense of peace and safety and that they would be able to go back to sleep. I always offer for them to sleep with me. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.
I go in very clam and make my daughter look at me and say her name, say the cat's name.. ask her a question she has to think about to make sure she is awake, then I tell her to change the channel in her head, think about something else.. I then have her tell me a little story that she is thinking about. After I know that whatever was scaring her is out of her head, I tell her to lay down and I am right here.. This all takes less than 5 min, don't want her UP for the DAY! As promised, I will wait outside her door, like on the computer until she is back to sleep..
I have been doing this since my kids were little, and still did it the other night.. My son is 21 and my daughter is 15... less than a week ago I went through the same routine when she had a nightmare about a man with a knife killing her friends and me and she couldn't do anything..
I have also taught my kids that they have the power when they are asleep to tell themselves THIS IS A DREAM, I AM SAFE, WAKE UP!!! And it works too~!!!
buy a small spray bottle put water in it and when they go to bed tell them its magic spray and let them spray it under the bed and around the room and it will keep the bad dreams away ... use your imagination
My son gets night terrors and has since he was 2 he is now almost 6 we just wake him tell him we love him ask him if he wants to sleep in our room if not then we tell him to watch cartoons until he is comfortable going back to sleep. If they are monster dreams we give him a "monster be gone " spray which is lavender and water and tell him the monsters are afraid of the smell which helps. Then in the morning I call his aunt and yell at his older cousins for putting the ideas hin his head. It's always them
I have used all of the methods mentioned at one time or another. The one that works the best and most consistently for us is to write or draw the nightmares, to talk about them, and then change them. We change them by finding the point where they become scary and retelling them from that point the way the child wishes they happened. We talk about the changes and either write them or draw them.
My son is 2 1/2. He has periods where he has a bad dream every night for a week or so, and then he won't have one for a few weeks. When he has them I go in and comfort him. I try to get him to tell me, as best he can, what the dream was about. Then we talk about how dreams are just stories that you think in your head while you are sleeping, but they aren't real. When he had his last bought of bad dreams we would think happy thoughts before he fell back to sleep, like going to the beach, playing with grandma, opening presents, etc. It took a few nights, but he hasn't had any since and it has been about 2 months, so i am keeping my fingers crossed.
I would give my son glowsticks and he would fall back asleep
I would talk to him and ask him what was it about and try to figure things out.
There is a 30 min difference in bedtime for my two sons. Every night I sit or lay on the bed and read and sing songs. (you dont have to be able to carry a note) Reading and singing to them every night at each of their bedtimes told them both I see you I hear you and you matter to me. It also helped to give the a feeling of security and routine. Further it gave them the chance to reconcile the day and go to sleep thinking peaceful & Godly thoughts.
My kids both have nightmares occasionally. I always do the same thing: Give them a big cuddle and tell them to think about nice things they could dream about and tell them to go back to sleep. Simple but it always works! Well, I do ask what the nightmare was about sometimes.
When that happens to Kailyn, we talk about it, and reassure her that she is all right, hug her, and comfort her as long as needed.
I tell them to think of something they love to do, like camping.
I am a grandma now but I am speaking from the mother side . Listen sometimes Because my daughter had a dream that I was killed and a couple of days later a boyfriend attepted to choke me. When it really happened it saved my life because it was foretold I was able to talk him out of it. Spent a very scary night but survived.
I'm on grandchildren and our method works about 3/4 of the time. We take the child into their room, if they are old enough to vioce their fears. We would turn on all the lights, search the room completely with the childs help, then I would give them one of my stuffed animals to sleep with, tuck the child in, and sit and rub the back until sleep took over. this works well most of the time. It does depend on the age and what caused the nightmare in the first place....Good luck, and dig deep to find the patience to see your child through this fearful time
I used to get my children to tell me about it, saying it was only a dream and if you tell me it wont come back, that usually worked, we were usually snuggled up in their bed.