Though you cannot entirely stop your child from having nightmares, there are some immediate responses and preventative measures you can take to help your child get a good night’s rest.
“Mommy! I had a bad dream.”
Your heart aches for your child as they recover from another nightmare. You crawl out of your bed and walk to your child’s room. You wish you could take away their nightmares, but unfortunately we can’t control our children’s imaginations. These bad dreams often leave us wondering how to help kids with nightmares.
Though you cannot entirely stop your toddler or young child from having nightmares, there are some immediate responses and preventative measures you can take to help your child get a good night’s rest.
Immediate Responses to Your Kid Having Nightmares
There are two aspects to your child having nightmares: the before and the after. While your child’s nightmares might seem overwhelming, you can learn how to calm your child after a nightmare and how to create an environment where your child’s nightmares would become less frequent.
Here are some simple ways to help your child after they have a nightmare.
Your toddler or child has experienced a nightmare. Whether your child’s nightmares are full of fantastical monsters or more realistic fears of the world, listening to your child is key.
- Ask them questions so they know you are actively listening.
- Allow them to explain their fears; be cautious about dwelling on the subject for too long.
- Advise them to wait until the morning to divulge the rest of the dream. You want them to talk the dream out, but not at the expense of them not being able to fall back asleep.
After discussing the nightmare, take time to reassure your child. When doing this, try to avoid the tendency to say it’s “only a dream.” Although pure in thought, it can seem like you are brushing off their nightmare. There are a couple different ways in which you can reassure your child of their safety.
- Turn the lights on and walk through the room with them to show they are safe. Check under the bed and in the closet. Encourage them to look with you so they can see their surrounding environment.
- Give your child a reassuring hug. Though you want them to be able to cope on their own in the future, stay with them for a little while until they feel confident enough to fall back asleep.
- Pray over your child as they try to go back to sleep. We know the Lord is bigger than our fears and praying for your child is a powerful thing. Below, is a guided prayer for times when your child experiences a nightmare.