Nightmares are most common amongst children, typically between the ages of three and six. This is because, at that age, we are developing our fears and our imagination is very active. Nightmares are frightening or unpleasant dreams that disrupt sleep. Sometimes, nightmares can even cause stress in your day to day life, instead of just while you're sleeping. It can be incredibly relieving to wake up and realize that the dream was not true, but then you have this feeling that you need someone there. Children especially, need to be comforted when they wake up from nightmares, as they are more likely to burst out into tears once the realize what is going on.
How to comfort a child after a Nightmare
- Listen to your child. They want to explain to you what is going on and why they are scared, so you should give them that opportunity.
- Provide a nightlight. Most children sleep a lot better knowing that the nightlight is there. If they wake up, they aren't consumed in total darkness. It makes things a lot easier.
- Check under the bed and in the closet for monsters. Even though it is silly, it can be very reassuring for the child to know there is nothing there.
- Sing to your child. Singing a soothing song can help the child drift back into a peaceful sleep.
- Stay with your child until they fall asleep, but don't bring them into your bedroom. It is important for a child to learn to sleep by themselves and not be dependent upon an adult.