Every parent goes through the experience of dealing with
a child's nightmares. Nightmares that persist cause alot of upset
to both parent and child as well as wreak havoc with everyone's
need for rest.
To begin, you all know that nightmares are the way that the
unconscious mind actively copes with stress, change and
unresolved conflict. When a parent pays attention to the nature
of the nightmare, key elements of what the child is trying to work
through are revealed. These are signals to you that your child is
trying to work through something that is inexpressible.
When you listen with an open heart and allow your inner guidance
to take the lead, you get to hear the special message that your child's
mind is trying to reveal.
7 USEFUL TIPS ON TAMING THE TERRORS
1) Create a routine at night that is calming and soothing.
No TV right before bed. TV is actually a stimulant and
the images that are taken in the last 5 minutes before sleep
will enter into the dream cycle.
2) One on one time with parent. Take this time with your child
to read a story that is positive and inspiring. Reassure your child -
never diminish the seriousness that the child places on the dream
with comments like "that is silly, there is nothing to be afraid of",
that is not the world your child is living in at the moment.
Tell your child stories about yourself and how you overcame
your own nightmares, this normalizes the situation for your child.
3) Well before bed, tell a story out loud that involves the nightmare.
Together with your child, come up with alternate endings for the
story that empower your child. Rehearse the new story and play it out.
Give your child the option of creating an invisible magical toolbox
that has special things inside of it that relate to dissolving the recurring
threat within the dream. Your child can even create a toolbox out of a
shoe box, decorate it and put special things inside that may be ordinary
when he is awake, but becomes powerful and protective when he takes
them into his dreams with his imagination.
4) You can create a special ritual like putting lavender water in
a spray bottle and use it sparingly as special "protective" mist that
puts a shield around him at night.
5) As you pay attention to the symbols that seem to keep showing up
in your child's dreams, you can ask questions during the day that will
help you understand what your child is trying to work though. You
are looking for ways to help your child gain more emotional balance.
Look for clues that point in the direction where your child needs your
reassurance and support in dealing with a situation.
6) I would recommend, not too much eating before bed as this
can boost a child's metabolism and increase brain activity.
Keep it light and at least an hour away from sleep if possible.
7) When your child wakes fearfully, remember his brain is not
wired the same as an adults. It may take some time before he
realizes that is fully conscious and is no longer in the dream.
It takes children longer to "shake off" the dream. Offer lots
of reassurance and let your child talk about the experience.
As you engage your child to role play and feel empowered
to conquer the fear or conflict he is dealing with you will
notice improvement and a decline in the nightmares.
Persistent nightmares that lead you to believe that more
serious psychological issues are taking place should be
addressed by a trained professional.
With your loving support and guidance, your child can creatively
find ways to work through issues in his life that he is finding
challenging to deal with. When you use your inner guidance, you
will note patterns in symbols and how your child's mind is trying
to handle the inner conflict.
Never assume that you know exactly what is going on without
inquiring first. Ensure that you give your child plenty of opportunity
to express and answer questions that are designed to get to the heart
of what he is trying to work through. Remember to remain flexible
with your solutions. The mind ebbs and flows with thoughts, beliefs
and patterns, be in flow with what emerges and co -create beliefs
with your child that lead him to discover the power of "I can".
with love and light