6 Ways To Calm Your Child’s Nightmares For More Tranquil Nights

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Nightmares and disturbed sleep can leave your child feeling terrible, both physically and mentally. Nightmares and bad dreams are common in adults and kids, and experiencing them on a regular basis can cause problems in the sleep pattern and overall health. Children particularly experience nightmares when they’ve just begun to sleep independently or in their bedrooms. As a parent, you may feel highly helpless if your child is suffering from nightmares — after all, there’s not much we can do to control anyone’s dreams.

However, the good thing is that you can take a few practical measures to calm your child if they struggle with nightmares. Let’s deep dive into what can be done to help your child get through the night without any trouble:

1. Don’t Dismiss Their Fears

Don’t Dismiss Their Fears

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When your child experiences nightmares, don’t dismiss their fears by saying “it’s not real”, “get over it, it’s just a dream”, or “grow up! There’s nothing to be scared of”. For children, even though it is a nightmare or a dream, the feelings are genuine. Your child is reaching out to you because they consider you a safe space, a source of comfort and support. By dismissing their fears, you might make them feel more helpless and even ashamed of their worries. Instead, let them know that you understand their fears. Comfort them and show them that there is nothing to be afraid of and tell them that you will be there for them should they need you.

2. Help Them Focus On Good Thoughts Before Bed

Help Them Focus On Good Thoughts Before Bed

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If your child is worried about sleeping alone or in the dark, it may help to encourage them to think good thoughts before bed. While tucking your children in bed, talk to them about things that they like. Ask them what they’d like to dream about and talk about it for a while. You could also speak to them about how their day went and discuss what they enjoyed the most about that day. Help them focus on happy thoughts, so they can get their minds off from the fears they have before going to bed.

3. Get Your Child A Night Light

Get Your Child A Night Light

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As much as you want your child to be comfortable with the idea of sleeping alone, the truth is that it can be scary for them, especially if they’ve just started. Lights out and doors closed are a typical setup for a horror movie, and your child knows that. Get your child a night light or lamp, one that is dim enough to be left on during the night, or at least until they have drifted off to sleep. Some children feel better if the door is left open just a crack; you could do this as well. Another fun option is to stick glow-in-the-dark stickers on the ceilings that remind them of the night sky or their favorite cartoon characters. Ask your child what they would like best, so you can get it done for them accordingly.

4. Stick To A Consistent Routine

Stick To A Consistent Routine

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There is a sense of comfort that comes with the predictability of a routine. Try to stick to a consistent schedule throughout the day and night, or at least during the night. Incorporate activities that will help your child sleep better in the hours leading up to bedtime. For example, let your child indulge in physical activity during the evening. Follow this up with a warm bath, so they feel clean and comfortable. Make sure they have a healthy but light meal before bedtime and avoid heavy and processed foods. Right before bedtime, you could give them a glass of warm milk with honey.

You could also make it a point to read a fun book with them or for them before they hit the sack. Ensure that no gadgets are around, especially for about two hours before bedtime. Sticking to such a schedule can help your child find comfort in knowing that the night is a safe time to sleep, so they feel fresh and energized the next day.

5. Set The Right Tone

Set The Right Tone

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Make sure that your child’s bedroom is a comfortable zone that is only meant for sleeping. The bedroom should not have toys and books scattered around. Refrain from mounting a television in your child’s bedroom. Choose warm colors, as opposed to ones that are bright and loud. Some children love the idea of a sleep buddy, which is usually their favorite stuffed toy. You could also get your child to pin a dreamcatcher, so they feel reassured that bad dreams will not come their way.

6. Make Sure That They’re Not Facing Issues In Real Life

6 Ways To Calm Your Child’s Nightmares For More Tranquil Nights

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Often, dreams are a manifestation of our fears and things we experience. If your child is facing any sort of struggle in school, be it bullying by schoolmates, or from the fear of hiding something. Try to get to know if your child is going through any such issues by keeping a close watch on them or asking their teachers. You can also directly ask your little one if there’s something bothering them. However, be gentle in the approach. Children often blame themselves for the issues they face and would only hide away their concerns if pushed too hard. They might not feel comfortable enough to confide their fears to elders that easily. Children often feel more comfortable around friends or siblings, from whom you can get to the bottom of the issue.

Nightmares will appear every now and then for most of us. It is only when nightmares start appearing on a regular basis, they start causing mental as well as health problems. It is essential to be patient with your child when they complain of nightmares or suffer from night terrors. Do not make them feel ashamed or belittle them when they come to you frightened. If nothing you do seems to help, and if their nightmares only seem to get worse, seek professional help. How did you help your child deal with their nightmares? Let us know in the comments below!

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