In the middle of the night, a terrible scream goes through the house. In seconds, parents rush into their child’s room. With eyes wide open, the child lies in bed and sobs bitterly. The reason? A nightmare. In the following article, we will show you how many nightmares are normal and what you can do about the monsters in your child’s dreams.
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Occasional Nightmares Are Normal
For kindergarten and preschool age, it is not uncommon for the offspring to be plagued by nightmares from time to time.
Often the little ones have to flee from dangerous ghosts, witches or monsters in their dreams, they are chased, held, captured. Filled with fear, they wake up and can often still remember exactly what they dreamed about days later. For some children, the same nightmares and horror scenes appear again and again at night – usually in the second half of the night.
As bad as nightmares may be at first, they are fortunately not usually a cause for great concern or even in need of treatment. According to experts, occasional nightmares in children are part of normal development.
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However, the grown-ups need to be alert if the nightmares occur very regularly – that is, once a week or even more often. Also, if the child develops a fear of going to bed due to bad dreams, or if the nighttime experiences also cause distress and fear during the day. Then they should contact the pediatrician or a child psychologist.
Nightmares – Parents Can Do Anything
If the nightmares occur only rarely, the problem can often be solved on your own. Kindergarten kids can not yet distinguish between dreams and reality. Therefore, it makes little sense to deny the existence of the wicked witch or the ravenous monster.
In contrast, concrete and courageous action on the part of parents promises success: Mothers can drive the dragon from under the bed with a broom, for example, and fathers can send the villain into exile with magic spray. Because in a child’s imagination, the nocturnal horror figures don’t stand a chance against the overpowering parents.
It is also important to talk to the child about the dreams: If the child describes the bad dream again the next morning, it often loses some of its terror. This can be especially helpful with recurring nightmares. Together with adult support, children can find a solution in this way.
Banish The Horror Figure
It has proven successful, for example, when children draw the horrible monster and themselves and then consider how they can drive away or defeat the culprit. With a lot of imagination, kindergarten children usually succeed in getting themselves to safety or rendering the scary figure incapable of acting. Witches are locked up, dangerous animals are shot to the moon, or heroic knights rush to the rescue.
Once children have developed their strategy, they should talk about what they have painted again and again over the next few days. In this way, the little ones can lose their fear for good and slumber peacefully again at night.
No Fear Of Night Terrors
Even experienced parents can lose their composure if the child is “surprised” by the so-called night terror (Pavor nocturnus): This is when the offspring is jolted out of sleep out of the blue about one to three hours after going to bed. He screams, gasps, sweats and opens his eyes wide.
The frightening thing: The child is completely disoriented and can neither be woken up nor calmed down by the parents. After a short time, however, the dramatic spook is fortunately over again and the child continues to sleep peacefully. In contrast to the nightmare, the child cannot remember the night terrors later. As a rule, the phenomenon occurs between the second and eighth year of life. Reassuringly, for the vast majority of children, night terrors occur only a few times and then disappear from their lives forever.