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Nightmares Be Gone!

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Nightmare be Gone!

As we get closer to Halloween, it’s exciting to plan all the “scary” fun and games. But for some children, this time of year can set off nightmares or make them worse.

Here are some tips for helping your child handle nightmares:

  • If they need to talk, let them talk while you just listen. While some believe talking about the dream can make it more vivid, it can also allow a child to realize how unrealistic the dream was so there really is no chance of it actually happening. You will know whether your child needs to talk or prefers not to.
  • After they have talked, subtly change the topic to something fun, such as the vacation you took last summer, or are planning next year.
  •  Favorite objects such as a stuffed toy or a blanket can give a child a sense of security and help ease fears to overcome nightmares.
  • Have a book on hand to read for a few minutes to help them relax and go back to sleep. This could be a book with a happy theme, or a book about a child who has overcome their own fears.
  • If the nightmares continue, try putting a nightlight in the bedroom. This can do a lot to ease fears.
  • If possible, let a pet sleep in your child’s room. Sometimes they have nightmares because they are feeling powerless, and having a protective presence in the room can greatly relieve their stress.
  • And finally, reassure them. Let them know you are there, that their dream was not real, and everything is safe and they are OK.

Nancy Keaton

Nancy is the Program Manager of Child & Family Studies at Centralia College.

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