When do our children start dreaming? There are different phases of dreams that a child goes through. Between the ages of 2-5 years a child can see the images of animals or people but they do not dream. Children older than 5 can see a sequence of events and dream but fear is not reported as much. By the time children are 7 or older, the dreams turn into “bad dreams” or “nightmares” which can really affect them. Their dreams generally have them also playing a part in it.
Maybe all children dream, but some do not yet realize that they are dreaming, do not remember their dreams, or cannot report them because they just don’t know what is happening to them.
Can parents do something to prevent these nightmares from happening? The answer is Yes! A lot many times these bad dreams are because of something bad that the child had heard or watched before sleeping.
Here is something you can do to prevent bad dreams
- The television programs and the commercials that the kids are exposed to are really to blame sometimes for the occurrence of bad dreams. Parents need to be extremely careful of the shows that kids are watching because it is very difficult for the kids to separate fiction from reality. For them whatever they see is real.
- Bed time should be a series of calming down activities – a soothing bath, oil massage, reading a nice story book, or may be just a simple heart to heart talk so that the child is peaceful before going to bed.
- Cut down on caffeine and sugars before bedtime. Caffeine or sugar before bedtime makes kids hyperactive and and restless in the night leading to bad dreams.
- Be careful of what people around them say. Children take everything literally. So getting them to do something by telling them that monsters are lurking around if they don’t really scares them off.
- Sometimes we say that “Ahh! That is just a dream.” It is not okay to dismiss their dreams because the child might stop telling you. Show them in real there is no monster in the living room and daddy is still working on his laptop.
- Help them cope up with the bad dream by telling them that its their dream and they can do whatever. Either scare the monster or throw him out of the window.
- Sometimes it helps to keep something like a spray that frightens the monster or a net that will catch the fearful creature next to their bed that assures them that they are protected.