My child has nightmares!
When children are small, it is common for them to have anxieties and nightmares, which often results in a bedtime ritual that lasts longer and longer, a child who does not want to sleep. All children are affected by this problem one day or another, but it should be noted that even if this period is difficult to bear, it is necessary for the psychological development of the child.
In the course of learning, a child is constantly confronted with rules and prohibitions. All these frustrations are expressed unconsciously during the night in the form of nightmares. Depending on the child and the period, these are more and more numerous.
How can you help and comfort your child when he/she has a nightmare?
Before the age of 3: talk to your child, try to get him to talk so that he can express his anxieties. Tell him that you also had nightmares when you were little. However, do not make him sleep with you, he might associate the nightmares with his room and not want to sleep there anymore...
When the child grows up: he is able to understand that nightmares or dreams are different from reality. You can go around his room or the house and check with him that there are no monsters under his bed, or in the living room, that the doors are well closed. In the morning, when he wakes up, don’t pretend that nothing has happened, on the contrary, don’t hesitate to talk about his fears, you can even ask him to draw his scary dreams.
In the evening, try to direct his thoughts towards happy moments such as the next outing, the next holiday or his boyfriend’s next birthday party. Above all, stay calm, even if it’s difficult in the middle of the night when you’d rather be asleep... but if you get upset, you risk accentuating his anxieties and therefore his nightmares!
Also make sure you don’t feel guilty about putting your child to bed because you haven’t spent enough time with him, as this negative feeling could increase his stress.