Every parent has been awakened at night by the cries of their kids. If dreams are nice, nightmares are scary and terrorise kids who will wake up in the dark and think that the nightmare isn’t over.
Nightmares appear around the age of 2, when kids really start to put words on things they see or discover. The world starts to make sense to them and fear has a role to play. Often, kids will be scared by monsters and dragons. What they see on TV or read in books will influence their dreams and nightmares. Horror movies, shocking news images, tales… Anything can find its way in the head of a little kid.
Some kids are more easily shocked than others and the least thing will influence their night. For those kids you have to be extra careful and also spends time to explain them that nightmares are not real neither are monsters, witches etc.
Nightmares appear usually at the end of the night, during the REM sleep. When your kid wakes up after a nightmare, you have to calm him and console him. Listen to his story if he wants to share it. Once reassured, he should fall asleep again. But if nightmares are too frequent then going to bed at night will quickly become a fight and darkness a massive fear for them. Try to understand what is expressed in the nightmare. There might be more personal feelings hidden behind the monster.
Darkness can become a problem and some kids can even imagine things just by see a shadow on the wall. If it can help out your kid to be less scared, then it might be worth checking the cupboard and under the bed with him. To show him that nothing is hidden to harm him, the problem should become past very rapidly.
Nightmares can express a deeper fear that even the kid don’t always get but his unconscious needs to evacuate and it uses all its means. Take time to listen to your kid and to reassure him. They only need to feel secure. And off to bed!