Preventing Nightmares in Children: Helping Your Child After a Nightmare

Sharing is caring!

Nightmare is a terrifying or deeply upsetting dream. Dream is a series of mental images and emotions occurring during the sleep. According to Sigmund Freud, dreams are the manifestations of wishful mind and they originate in subconscious mind. Based on what Sigmund Freud, the author of Interpretation of Dream, has said, we can say that we dream about our wishes and dream about the things stored in our subconscious mind. Nightmares are our fears stored in the subconscious mind.

Why Nightmares Occur

If your child wakes up in the middle of night crying loudly, it is very likely that he had a nightmare. Nightmares make them so much afraid that they cannot go back to sleep again. They need you to make them feel safe and secured. Nightmares occur in the dream, which is usually in the second half of the night. It is also likely that your child will not forget his bad dream and the nightmare will continue to haunt him.

Children not only experience nightmares but also night terror. There is a slight difference between night terrors and nightmares. Night terrors are sleep disturbances that is characterized with a sudden wake from fear, crying loudly, and then going back to sleep soon. The children usually do not remember night terrors on next day, however, when they experience night terror they are hard to console as they are agitated and very fearful.

How to Help Your Child After a Nightmare

Generally speaking, nightmares occur in children of all ages. However, it is most common in the children between the ages of 5 and 8 years. That’s because at this age they are trying to learn the real life dangers like accidents, pain, death, violence etc. They consume such information and store the images in subconscious mind.

The nightmare in your son might be the result of a scary story you told or the horror or violent scene he watched on TV. The nightmare of your daughter might be a result of stress and anxiety. If your daughter has to face a competition next day, she might have a nightmare the day before due to anxiety and stress related to the competition.

A child that witnesses a death, accident, parental divorce, even parents’ layoff from the work can have a nightmare. Even the thoughts about going to school can cause nightmares in children.  Nightmares are normal response to stress, anxiety and fear.

Your child has nightmares does not mean you are a bad parent. However, you will have to manage stress, fear and anxiety in your children to overcome nightmare. If your child wakes up at night with crying, go to him immediately and assure him that you are there and it is safe now. Physical assurances are very important to help your child overcome nightmares. Hug your child, pat on his back, sleep with him if needed.

You can also tell your child that you also have nightmares sometimes and it is perfectly ok to have nightmares.

Dealing With the Anxiety and Fear of Darkness

One of the reasons for nightmares is the fear associated with darkness. Fear of darkness is a common fear in children, it is also a common cause of nightmares. Children are afraid of strange things, unfamiliar things, things they cannot control. Darkness is strange and unfamiliar to them, thus, they are afraid of darkness. They begin to imagine things, in their imaginations they create creatures, monsters, and their imaginations being to haunt them. Children also cannot differentiate between facts and fictions, they see and hear monsters in the darkness. They think that monsters are under their bed, boogeyman is in the cupboard and when the light is out and darkness comes, these creatures are ready to spring upon them.

If you do not help your child overcome the fear of darkness, it might linger for a long time, darkness might even continue to haunt them in their adulthood. The first thing you need is sympathy. You need to be sympathetic towards your child who is afraid of darkness and believe that monsters are his bed. Never make fun of your child who is afraid of unfounded things. If you dismiss their fear, they will be distrustful towards you. Take your child’s fear seriously and help them how to differentiate reality with falsity. Make your child feel safe and secured. Show them the places (cupboard, under the bed) where they think monsters are staying.

The fear of darkness is also related to the fear of intruders. Children believe that in the darkness intruder come. Help your child understand that when windows and doors are locked, intruders cannot come in.

Understanding Your Child’s Nightmares

When your child wakes up from nightmares, never dismiss his fear. Never say things like “Don’t be afraid,” “Don’t act like a child” etc. If you dismiss their fear and make fun of their fear, they will no longer share their fear with you.

Author: Dear Daddy

Dear Daddy is a writer and publisher for Daddy Blog: Parenting Tips For Fathers. I'm a father of two girls and Educator for 20+ years. I love being a father, although it does have it's challenges. Let's help each other out!

51 thoughts on “Preventing Nightmares in Children: Helping Your Child After a Nightmare

  1. I never dismiss my child’s fears. Whether it’s from a nightmare or anything else. A child is no different from an adult. The fears are real. Their fears must be addressed and addressed immediately, and the child must be put at ease so that their mind and body are both calmed. Ignoring that child could cause a mental breakdown.

  2. Any kind of anxiety which a child faces should never be overlooked. This post clearly highlights the measures that should be taken in such situations.

  3. Nightmare for children is really problematic. In fact nightmare makes even big people to feel very afraid. so in this matter we should be really helpful to our children if we do that they can continue to their own work and they can be happy other wise that nightmare can makes children feeling lack of positive thoughts

  4. Nightmares can be really traumatic for children.It can interfere with the regular functioning of the child. You have nicely differentiated between nightmare and night terror.

  5. For me disturbing dreams are normal but for children it is frightening and difficult for them.
    So I agree with you and thank you for the POST.

  6. this is alarming, you should focus story telling before sleeping at night. keep your relation on your child as much as you can. agreed with this content

  7. this is alarming, you should focus story telling before sleeping at night. keep your relation on your child as much as you can.

    1. It has a lot to do with ghost stories that are dished out to kids. No doubt the kids enjoy them and in fact request their grand parents to tell them more but when it is time to sleep that is when hell turns loose. They cannot sleep alone and rush to their parents’ room. There is also the possibility if children are subjected to cruelty may be at school or even in their homes This should be avoided.

  8. Very nice tips, We also used to do these with kids in our family and its very tough to control kids and your tips are very much helpful.

  9. i Used to have nightmare during childhood if I am too tired during daytime spending time playing outside with my siblings. At night, I often woken up drenched in sweat while having a bad dream. Whatever it is, parents monitoring is the key to child action.

  10. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

  11. Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored at work so I decided
    to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break.

    I really like the knowledge you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, great site!

  12. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and
    it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or tips.
    Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article.
    I desire to read more things about it!

  13. I just want to say I am just newbie to blogs and truly loved you’re website. Likely I’m likely to bookmark your blog . You actually come with good articles and reviews. Thanks for sharing your blog site.

  14. I blog frequently and I truly thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.
    I am going to take a note of your website and keep checking for new details about once a week.
    I opted in for your Feed as well.

  15. I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this website. Thanks, I’ll try and check back more often. How frequently you update your site?

  16. hello there and thank you for your information – I have definitely picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise several technical points using this website, as I experienced to reload the site many times previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and could damage your high-quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more of your respective interesting content. Make sure you update this again soon..

  17. F*ckin’ amazing things here. I am very happy to peer your post. Thanks so much and i am taking a look forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

  18. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my site so i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to improve my web site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

  19. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  20. After I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a remark is added I get four emails with the identical comment. Is there any way you may remove me from that service? Thanks!

  21. I figured out more interesting things on this fat reduction issue. One particular issue is that good nutrition is especially vital when dieting. A huge reduction in junk food, sugary foodstuff, fried foods, sugary foods, pork, and white colored flour products could be necessary. Possessing wastes parasitic organisms, and contaminants may prevent desired goals for fat loss. While certain drugs in the short term solve the problem, the bad side effects will not be worth it, they usually never give more than a short lived solution. It’s a known fact that 95% of celebrity diets fail. Many thanks for sharing your thinking on this web site.

  22. One thing I would like to reply to is that weight loss program fast can be achieved by the right diet and exercise. People’s size not just affects the look, but also the actual quality of life. Self-esteem, depressive disorders, health risks, and also physical abilities are impacted in fat gain. It is possible to just make everything right but still gain. Should this happen, a medical problem may be the root cause. While an excessive amount of food and not enough exercising are usually to blame, common health conditions and popular prescriptions could greatly enhance size. Thanks for your post in this article.

  23. I am typically to blogging and i actually admire your content. The article has actually peaks my interest. I’m going to bookmark your web site and preserve checking for brand spanking new information.

  24. It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or tips. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read more things about it!

  25. I not to mention my friends came examining the best secrets found on your web blog then then developed a terrible suspicion I never thanked the website owner for those techniques. My men became for that reason warmed to learn all of them and now have actually been using them. We appreciate you being indeed thoughtful as well as for utilizing this form of very good things millions of individuals are really needing to discover. My personal honest regret for not saying thanks to you sooner.

  26. I also believe that mesothelioma is a uncommon form of most cancers that is generally found in individuals previously exposed to asbestos. Cancerous cellular material form inside mesothelium, which is a defensive lining that covers many of the body’s areas. These cells generally form in the lining on the lungs, mid-section, or the sac that really encircles one’s heart. Thanks for revealing your ideas.

  27. Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the web the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  28. Some really excellent articles on this internet site, regards for contribution. “I finally know what distinguishes man from other beasts financial worries. – Journals” by Jules Renard.

  29. Thank you for sharing excellent informations. Your website is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you’ve on this website. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found simply the info I already searched everywhere and simply couldn’t come across. What an ideal web site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *