What is a nightmare? Merrian-Webster’s Dictionary describes nightmares as “a frightening dream that usually awakens the sleeper”. When adults have nightmares they generally wake abruptly and return back to sleep soon thereafter. But when kids have nightmares, it turns into an all night affair that includes mom and dad. Finding the causes and addressing them with your child can help the family sleep through the entire night.
What Causes Nightmares?
As adults, we have nightmares just as easily as kids, but the difference is, when we wake up we know the difference between reality and the nightmare. That simple distinction is not as easy for kids to decipher. Luckily there are always reasons why kids, much like adults, have nightmare. Figuring out the causes can help you get to the bottom of these issues. Here are some possible triggers.
- – Daily Stress (school work, homework, friendships)
- – Illness
- – Traumatic Family Change/Issues
- – Watching, Reading or Hearing Something Frightening.
External Factors Causing Fear
Sometimes a child’s fear can be an external, instead of internal. These fear are easier to diminish due to it usually just takes a simple quick change in the room or lifestyle for a child to sleep peacefully again. Some changes parents can make are:
- – If shadows are scaring your child, put up curtains that will block any shadows from dancing around their room
- – If the darkness of the night scares them, add a nightlight to their room
- – If they watch shows that provokes frightening ideas or images, avoid letting them watch the show
Find the Seed That the Boogeyman Stemmed From
Whether it was stories from their friends, a scene from a movie or even a book they read, the idea of the Boogeyman has haunted school-aged children since time began. If your child is finding that they are afraid at night, sit down with them and figure out what caused this fear. Maybe mom or dad made a joke about it, or pretended there was a scary monster in the closet. Remember that even the smallest mention of it can have some big and frightful consequences. The most important point to make is that the Boogeyman is NOT real.
If your child is frightened in the middle of the night, use one or a few of these methods to put them back to sleep:
- – Do not show anger, although this may be difficult, it will only make them more upset
- – Singing to them or reading to them will calm them down.
- – Play soothing music
Majority of parents will experience this situation with their kids, and the biggest step they can take it to acknowledge this problem. Do not ignore it and brush them off when they come to you in the middle of the night. Be sure to talk through this with your kids and find a solution to the Boogeyman and his scary ways!