Why Children Have Nightmares? How To Avoid Bad Dreams And What To Do When Your Little One Is Scared

Date May 28, 2018 15:50

Even as adults, nightmares can be very scary. But how can you explain a terrified child, who still has some difficulties understanding the difference between real-life and fantasy, that there is no scary monster hiding under the bed?

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Dictionary describes nightmares as lengthy, very detailed dreams with scenes that evoke fear, anxiety, or sadness. Nightmares can lead to the dreamer waking up in the middle of the night and having difficulties to go back to sleep. Some of them can even cause stress and bring debilitating sleep disorder.

For kids, bad dreams can result in hours of tears and sleepless nights, which can be extremely stressful for parents. Unfortunately, there is no magic spell that can make the nightmares go away. But there are a few things parents can do to try and prevent them from occurring.

Why do kids have nightmares and what causes them?

Sergey Nivens /

Usually, kids between the age of two and four are prone to bad dreams the most. There are a lot of things that can cause them, like:

  • a scary story;
  • an upsetting film or TV program;
  • stress in life;
  • stress in parent’s life that they can pick up.

READ ALSO: Psychologists Reveal the Effect that Television Has on Children

What to do if your child has a nightmare?

Experts at BabyCentre say that there is one thing you should never do in this situation, which is bringing your child into your bed. Instead, comfort them in their own bed. /

Give them a hug and rub their back till they come down. Then ask them about the dream but don’t push too hard if they don’t want to talk about it.

Saying “it’s only a dream” might not help but it’s worth trying. Also, it helps to show them that there is no one under their bed or in their wardrobe.

How to stop your children having nightmares?

There is no cure for nightmares, but you can try to reduce them by:

  • carefully choosing a night time story;
  • creating a peaceful nighttime routine, including a nice relaxing bath;
  • making a dreamcatcher together and explain that it will catch bad dreams;
  • making some 'Monster Spray' which is a spray bottle filled with water and some essential oils, and let your kid spray it before going to bed to keep the monsters away.

Most importantly, talk to your child. Maybe his bad dreams are the result of feeling anxious or stressed. But when the nightmares are chronic, better consult a doctor.

So here’s how to combat nightmares. Do you have any tips of your own? Don’t hesitate to share them with everyone.

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