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childhood Nightmares raising children

NIGHTMARES – Walking your Child through the experience.

I stirred and opened my eyes as soon as the
doorknob turned and there stood Mimi my first daughter sniffing loudly.
“Is everything alright?” I asked.
“Mummy, I had a bad dream”, she
responded as she walked towards me.
She sat by my bedside and sniffed some
more. 
I got up and wrapped my arms round her as
muffled sobs shook her body.
Tears flowed from her eyes and descended my
arms.
It’s okay dear, I told her as I hugged her a
bit tighter.
Mummy I saw a… she sobbed as she tried to
recount the dream. Hush dear, you can tell me all about it later, I said.
We sat together for a while and I silently
prayed over her.
When she became calm, I reminded her of biblical
truths we had earlier discussed
Mimi, do you remember that a mighty God
watches over you every second of the day? I asked.
“Yes mummy” she affirmed.
“He never sleeps nor slumbers, like Psalm
121 tells us”
“I know” she nodded in response.
“Don’t be afraid, God is watching over you,
okay?”
 She
hugged me some more in response.
You can tell me about the dream later in
the morning, I said reassuringly.
 I
walked her to her room and left the night light on; few minutes later I went in
to check on her and she was fast asleep again.

Nightmares according to kidshealth.org
happen during the stage of sleep when the brain is very active. The vivid
images the brain is processing can seem as real as the emotions they might
trigger. 
The origin of nightmare and even dreams
remains largely unknown; however, the following can trigger nightmares in
children;
  1. Stressful events – when a child is dealing with events that are
    demanding like attending a new school, the birth of a sibling and even
    family tensions may leave the child feeling unsettled. Thus reflecting in
    their dreams.
  2. Traumatic occurrence –  A
    child’s reaction to trauma such as accident, robbery, injury or natural
    disaster can cause nightmares
  3. Reading scary books or watching scary movies or TV shows just
    before bedtime can be a likely trigger.
  4. Random activities of the day some nightmares are recognizable bits and pieces of a child’s daily experiences, but usually
    with a scary twist.
Handling
your child properly after a nightmare will give them a sense of security to
sleep back and build confidence and stability when it reoccurs.  
Below are 5 tips
to help your child through a nightmare:
  1. Reassure
    your child with your presence – your calm presence helps your child feel
    safe and protected after waking up afraid. Knowing you are available
    strengthens their sense of security.
  2. Gently
    but emphatically, let your child know that it was a nightmare and it is
    over. Pray over your child and reassure him/her with soothing words and
    scriptures earlier taught.
  3. Empathize
    and offer your child physical comfort, remind your child that everyone
    dreams and sometimes the dreams are scary, upsetting, and can seem very
    real, so it is natural to feel scared by them.
  4. Fix a
    night light in the room – A nightlight can help kids feel safe in a dark room
    as they get ready to sleep and when they awake from a nightmare.
  5. Help your
    child go back to sleep. This is an important step as transition back to
    sleep after a nightmare can be traumatic for most kids. Offer any form of
    comfort from a favorite stuffed animal to a pillow or blanket. You can
    even lie in bed with your kid till they doze off, after which you can
    tiptoe out.
  6. Never forget
    to discuss the dream. Talking about the dream in day light can be
    therapeutic for most kids as the scary images loses its hold or power in
    the light of the day. Endeavor to debunk wrong perceptions and direct
    their minds to the truth, positivity and the power within them.
  7. Always
    remind your kids of their identity in Christ and to take charge of their
    imagination.
Parents and caregivers can’t do much to
prevent nightmares, but they can take steps to help their kids sleep better and
intuitively encourage good dreams. They can
address
daytime stress, establish good and regular bedtime routines and
avoid scary movies, TV shows, and stories before bed.
                   https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/nightmare.html
Image Credit –
Google

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