Bad dreams impact many of us, but when we’re older, we’re able to brush them off or recognize the difference between reality and truth. When we’re young, however, nightmares can be really scary! Some kids, most commonly between the ages of 6 and 10, get regular nightmares and it has a huge impact on their sleep. Theses kiddos are often reluctant to go to sleep in the first place because they are worried about nightmares and even when they do sleep, it’s interrupted.
Poor sleep can have a big impact their mental health, focus, performance in activities, concentration, and overall mood… so reoccurring nightmares are a big problem! Here are a few considerations/potential ways to help:
Create A Relaxing Bedroom Environment
Children that get nightmares often associate their room with bad dreams and can become afraid to even enter it! To help, put some fun decorations on the walls and make sure they have a comfortable bed to sleep in. If their bed has seen better days, you can find a great kids bed collection at Cuckooland to make their bedroom more inviting and comfortable.
Sleeping too hot or too cold can also make them uncomfortable and even more likely to be woken by bad dreams. Do everything you can to make their sleeping environment as relaxing as possible, and this will make it easier for them to sleep through the night.
Help Them Manage Stress
Nightmares are often brought on by stress. If a child has a lot of things going on in their life, from school to sports and other activities, it can start to pile up. To help them cope better with stress, do everything you can to make sure they have time to relax and wind down after a busy day.
Encourage them to take part in activities that they enjoy such as drawing or playing with puzzles which will help lower their stress levels. Buying a pet can also give your child some support. You can even create a less stressful environment by choosing the right colors in your home to invoke more relaxed feelings. If you help your child with their mental health, their nightmares should improve.
Don’t Shield Them From Things They Are Scared Of
Kids that get nightmares are often scared of certain things. Rather than trying to shield them from these things, you should actually encourage them to face their fears. Try not to startle your child when they mention something they’re afraid of and instead help them cope with what scares them and the underlying reasons.
If you shield them and/or play along with fears, you are only confirming their fears and making the problem worse. Helping them face the things they are scared of will actually make the situation a lot better.
Consider Behavioral Therapy
If your child is still getting frequent nightmares after trying everything you can, talk to their doctor about behavioural therapy. The therapist will use a range of methods to help children cope with bad dreams and give them tools for the future. This isn’t always necessary, but if things don’t improve, it’s certainly an option to consider.
Nightmares are very common in kids under 10 because they sometimes engage in imaginary play. So, it’s important not to panic if your child gets regular bad dreams. Most nightmares are easily managed with some simple steps, but if they keep coming back after three months or so, it might be time to consider help from a specialist.