I remember my daughter’s very first nightmare
. She dreamt a wolf was sitting on top of her on her bed, licking her face. Such a scary dream to have, especially when you’re just three, with no understanding of what a dream really is.
It’s very common for children to begin having nightmares
around the age of three, maybe because that’s when their language and imagination is really blossoming. All that pretend play and creativity they’re developing during the day can perhaps flow into more nightmares at night.
Nightmares and Bad Dreams
I always went straight to comfort my daughter, of course, but we also talked about the nightmare the next day. Although she didn’t like to talk about the bad dreams
when she woke from it, a few hours later, and when daylight arrived, she was much happier to speak about the dream. We used to call them stories in our head, and I would try to get her to understand the wolf wasn’t real, and that as soon as she woke from the nightmare, the dream had finished.
Now my younger daughter is the one who has nightmares
– often about witches or spiders – and my elder daughter is the one who is able to put her own experience into action, and help her little sister feel better about the dreams. She invented this dream catcher
, which is doing a great job at calming worry about nightmares
My daughter says a dream catcher
needs a net to trap the dream in. She used the weaving she made as part of our yarn art
project, but you could also try paper weaving
or a lacing card
Below the dream catcher
net you need two bags: one for good dreams, and one for bad dreams
. My daughter choose some suitable fabric from our making box and stitched the bags herself. You’ll see she choose pretty fabric for the good dream bag, and made a lid for the bad dream one, so the nightmares
can’t escape once they’re caught.
The dream catcher
needs to be hung above your bed, to do it’s work. And it has worked for us. My younger daughter is much more relaxed about going to bed because she trusts the dream catcher
to look after her all night long. And if she does have a nightmare, my girls still use the dream catcher
to deal with it in the morning. They draw a picture of the scary thing that was on the dream, rip the picture into pieces, and stuff the papers into the bad dream bag. They tightly close the lid, so the dream is dealt with and then head off for a day’s play.
That’s how we use a dream catcher
to banish our nightmares.
What kinds of kids activities do you use help your children cope with nightmares and bad dreams?