Nightmares can seem extremely real to many young children. Children’s nightmares can get so bad that they can cause them to lose sleep. Many of them become too terrified to sleep. The nightmares that children have can last throughout their adolescent life, but parents can lessen these episodes by responding to their children in a certain way. If your child is suffering from nightmares and you are not sure how to console them take a look below.
1. Parents should stay within arms reach so that they can respond to their child if he experiences a nightmare. Once the parent reaches the child she should console him by hugging him and asking what is wrong. Too often the parent’s sleeping quarters are far away from their child’s sleeping area and the child terrified by their nightmare is left in a dark room alone calling out to parents who may never hear him.
2. Parents should assure the child that everything in the nightmare was not real and that waking up is real. The parents should then look into the child’s eye and let the child know how they know that the nightmare felt real to them. Again ensure the child that the nightmare was not real but instead that you talking to him is real.
3. If the child is not convinced that the nightmare was fake you can walk him through the house and show him that there is nothing scary lurking in the corners of the home and that home is still home. Sometimes children have to see it to believe it and if they can visualize that their home is peaceful and not like in their dream they might be able to get back to sleep without hassle.
4. Lay down with the child until he falls asleep. Some parents are against this because they think that their child will get spoiled and should be able to calm himself. Parents should realize that children have incredible imaginations and so what is obviously not real can seem very real to them. It is important for parents to offer as much comfort to their child as possible. Parents can lie down or sit in the child’s room with them until they fall asleep. The parent’s presence will make the child feel at ease and secure.
5. Parents can tell their children to think about something happy just before falling to sleep. If kids go to bed thinking about a happy thought then chances are they will have a dream about that happy thought. Give the child some ideas on what happy things to think about such as a land full of candy, unicorns, or a place where school doesn’t exist and the children get to play all day and shop for toys etc —
6. Parents should talk to their children the next morning about their nightmares and let them know that sometimes their imaginations can run wild and that nothing in the nightmare was real. Let the child talk all he wants about his nightmare.
7. Ask the child how you can help him feel better. Ask your child how you can help make him feel better. Children are really smart and may surprise their parents with ideas on how to conquer their nightmares. If the child’s idea on how to soothe him is within reason, then parents should go along with the idea to help put their child at ease.