Anyone who has ever woken up to the sounds of terror in the middle of the night knows how exactly our children are affected by nightmares. Most common between the ages of 2 and 4 years old, nightmares are a by product of the growing imagination of a young child and his or her ability to absorb and react to a number of stimuli during his or her waking hours. Some kids rarely have nightmares while others may wake up screaming several times a week or a night. Fears may vary from child to child but are a normal part of the growing years up till their teens.
Most kids outgrow this phase and their nightmares can be handled by the parent. However if the frequency increases or the child refuses to go to school or even get into the bedroom, it could be symptomatic of some serious stress in your child’s life and you may need to seek the advice of a child therapist.
If your child is experiencing nightmares here’s how you can help.
- Reassurance is critical. Some parents find by hugging the child and soothing him or her the anxiety levels decrease. Empathise with your little one and understand to him, his fear is very real. Remind him how safe he is and assure him of protection.
- Protective mantras, amulets and even a piece of iron under the bed has been used for centuries by parents as a means to ward off anxiety and negative energies.
- Lavender and Roman Chamomile essential oils promote restful sleep and work well with children.
- In colour therapy, pastel shades and light yellow in the bedroom are believed to promote a sense of calm, peace and courage.
- Healing crystals like Agate when placed beneath the pillow makes sleep deeper, calmer and more recuperative. Amazonite works well during phases of anxiety and stress and is best worn as a bracelet or a pendant. Like with a crystals, it is best to get them cleansed and energized by an energy healer before use.
- Avoid fear inducing stimulants before bedtime especially violent or scary TV shows and bedtime stories with scary themes or villains. Though the child may appear calm before bedtime, his subconscious absorbs and replays the images during deep sleep.
- Prayers before bedtime and placing of holy books by the bedside always reassure the child.
Finally, patience and love work wonders with nightmares in kids. As with all phases of childhood, this too shall pass.
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Mita Bhan 2023