Sleep is a critical part of a child's development, and it should be a rejuvenating, healing part of your child's routine. Unfortunately, though, sleep can turn traumatic for many kids. Nightmares and scary dreams are more common than most parents think, with one study by Dutch researchers finding that 96% of 7-9-year-olds reporting nightmares. As parents, we know how difficult and painful it can be if a child develops frequent, intense nightmares – so as your resident sleep experts here at 5 Little Monkeys, here are our tips on stopping nightmares and scary dreams.
Nightmares & Kids
Are frequent, frightening nightmares getting in the way of your child's sleep? Here are 3 mom-approved strategies that can help bring some peace of mind to your child's bedtime:
- Try Circle Breathing: Your child's state of mind before bedtime can have a significant effect on their dreams, so we recommend being intentional in taking time to calm down and relax before bed. In particular, a technique called "circle breathing" can help. This involves imagining the breath enter through the right nostril and exit through the left nostril, then imagining the inverse on the next breath. This breath visualization technique helps calm the mind and help your child focus on bodily sensation, steering focus away from anxious thoughts.
- Find the Cause of the Nightmares: Especially for kids aged 6 through 10, nightmares can be extra scary because they incorporate real-life fears. Talk to your child about the nightmares to see if there's a specific phobia or stimulus that's causing them, whether that be clowns, closed spaces, or any other theme. Then, spend 15 minutes a day with your child focusing on this theme and showing them that it's not scary after all – that may mean playing with pictures of clowns, spending some time in the closet with the door closed, or anything else that shows your child they're not in danger.
- Get Professional Help: Relaxation and daily focus will do wonders for most kids, but if persistent nightmares or night terrors continue to be an issue, it may be appropriate to seek professional help. Especially if your child's nightmares are interfering with daily life, seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist can help your child learn techniques to control their fear and make nightmares not so scary.
Order Your 5 Little Monkeys Kids Bed
Nightmares may be scary, but with the power of good parenting on your side, you can help your child alleviate their fears and reclaim healthy, happy sleep. While you're at it, it may be time to re-evaluate your child's bed as well. The 5 Little Monkeys Sleep System is designed to support growing bodies and help kids get the deep, restful sleep they need for healthy growth and development. Try one for risk-free for 100 nights today!