The Nightmare Before…

Our kids usually sleep pretty well. However, on occasion, a few of our children have woken up in the middle of the night experiencing dark dreams which haunt them even when they’re awake. When the Boogie Man decides to drop in on our children, what’s a parent to do?

Recently one of my kiddos has been experiencing some pretty bad dreams. On occasion, I’ve dreamt of being chased by maniacal clowns or some such nonsense. My daughter, on the other hand, dreams of people dying or her being left alone, unwanted.

While I’m sure there are various reasons people could give for why she has these dreams, my immediate concern is helping her move on from them and getting her back to sleep. Here are a few tips we’re using to give her a good night of rest:

Prayer – Instead of waiting for her to wake up with bad dreams, we’re being proactive and praying over her before she goes to bed. We pray the Lord would protect her from bad dreams and help her get a good night of rest. This definitely helps. So far, she hasn’t had another bad dream!

Comfort – When she was waking up with bad dreams, we would make sure to comfort her and let her know we’re here. Sometimes just a quick hug is all they need.

Take a Break – Occasionally distracting them from sleep itself is the trick. We encourage them to take a restroom break, have a quick drink, and perhaps have a snack. When their body’s needs are being met, they are more likely to sleep soundly.

Talk it Out – If they really have a hard time settling in for the night, we walk through their dreams and try to better understand what is causing the problem. We reason out the visions and show them the truth. Even if they can get back to sleep without talking, we usually try talking it out the next morning. Talking it out helps them push aside the previous night and move forward.

We all experience nightmares from time to time, but it hits harder when they attack our kids. Through prayer, comfort, and good parental involvement we can help our children move past these strange visions and enjoy a good night’s rest.

Time to Chime In: Have your children ever experienced nightmares? Share what helped them get through hard nights and finally get some good sleep.

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3 thoughts on “The Nightmare Before…

  1. Sometimes, if they’re not really awake, they can be difficult to comfort. I’ve learned that the first thing to do is wake my little ones all the way up, and once they’re fully awake they generally calm down quickly. A few of them are almost impossible to wake up in the middle of a nightmare, though. My son will even be talking and moving and have his eyes open, but not actually be aware of anything going on. Thankfully such nights are getting rarer and rarer as he gets older.

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  2. All three of our kids went through a nightly nightmare stage around age 5. This is apparently normal because of their newly forming grasp on the reality of the ugliness of life. We just looked at it as another sleepless parent stage and they eventually outgrew it.

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