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>How do you help with nightmares?


I’ve always had very vivid dreams – when I’m deeply upset about something I end up in the same incredibly real, incredibly scary, incredibly worrying dream.  Its horrid and I would’t wish it on anyone.

We’ve realised recently that, in addition to her occaisional sleepwalking, Toddlergirl has nightmares – she’s asleep but calling out that she’s stuck or has lost a toy.  When we go into her, she’s fast asleep but, eyes often closed, but able to slightly interact whilst working through whatever it is that has upset her during the day.

All of this came to a head at the weekend when she fell into the pond at my parent’s house (I’m fairly certain she fell and wasn’t pushed, she’d been quite delightful all weekend …).  She was promptly scooped out, her wellies emptied of pond water and dashed into the house for an early bath.  But that night I was repeatedly woken by her screaming that she was ‘fall in pond’, ‘soaking wet’ and had ‘wet wellies’.  She was obviously going over and over and over it in her head.

And there was nothing I could do to make it go away.  I could cuddle and calm her but when she had settled back into sleep, it would all come around again a little later.  I’d heard somewhere you shouldn’t wake someone who is having a nightmare but to just calm and comfort and it does work but ti doesn’t make it go away.

Does anyone know what I can do to help her – to make it easier on her when she is thrashing through things in her subconscious?  To comfort her more effectively?  To wave a wand and make this all go away?

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The blogging world has been alive this last week to the sounds of the launch of the MADS (Mummies & Daddies) Blogging Awards – I’m trying really hard to reign in my competitive streak but I would really, really appreciate it if you would consider nominating me for one, please.

Pretty please … !


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7 comments to >How do you help with nightmares?

  • chickenruby

    >These experiences are formative in our development. A child responds to situations based on our responses. If we show fear they are fearful, if we show we are scared they are scared. The best thing to do is to show her water is fun, take her swimming and to feed the ducks, don’t dwell on the situation, don’t explain that you are doing these activities to help her overcome a horrible experience just be ready to answer questions in a positive manner….put her back on the bike and make her pedal again.

  • TheMadHouse

    >Mini has nightmares, he had one lastnight, we just reassure him we are there and cuddle him. He tends to wake in tears and comes and finds us. It is heartbreaking, but they are happening less often as he gets older

  • cartside

    >Cubling has nightmares, almost every night. Half of the time she doesn't articulate enough in her half woken state what it is. I think it's probably something they go through, nothing much you can do about it, show understanding but no worry. It won't make them go away – I don't think there is anything to make them go away.

  • Harret

    >If my son has a nightmare i comfort him and then try to fill his head with nice things, I whisper to him, about the lovely things we did that day, or even just a list of things he likes, icecream, the seaside, jumping in puddles etc etc. It seems to give him something else to focus on and hopefully dream about when he drifts off again

  • Mwa

    >Oh poor thing! We've only had to deal with a couple of nightmares, but I feel so helpless every time.

  • Clair

    >Hi, My middle girl had (still has sometimes) night terrors and sleep walks. Usually brought on by something that has made her anxious or upset or scared her during the day.

    If we haven't preempted this and the nightmare arrives (with unconsolable crying/ screaming) then we lift her out of her bed- we've found just changing her location for five minutes helps- not sure why because she still appears to be asleep- and soothing her and once she is calm talking about her favourite things- granny/ chocolate cake/ books/ painting…. whatever you can think of. It usually takes time to settle her- 30 mins but it works and she doesnt remember it in the morning.

    We've found preempting it is best though- if something is likely to set her off (as with yours) we sit in bed and talk about what she is going to dream of and work out a great dream, we're quite good at them now, so when she is falling asleep she is focused on that totally.

    It has made a huge difference to us- she was crying out three or four times a week and now it is not even once a month. Partly that is due to her age- she'll be five in a few months…so time will help, she will be able to process more as she gets older.

    Good Luck!

  • Serenity

    >I don't know how old your little girl is, but if she's a little too young to be able to talk through her feelings properly, maybe you could try something a bit simpler for her. The nightmare is clearly based on a specific event (falling in the pond), so how about getting her to act it out with her teddies/dolls? You can both remember the "story" and retell it with her toys, only this way she gets to be in control, and she can even change what happens if she wants to. It might just help her to work through the feelings she's struggling with.

    Good luck 🙂

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