It’s just a normal part of childhood — nightmares. But what’s the best way to handle nightmares in kids?
Should you ignore them?
Pretend they’re not upsetting?
Let me share a personal story…
It was approximately 3 a.m. in the morning. My door burst open and some chubby little feet raced across the floor.
“Mommy, a wolf! A wolf!” cried my frightened three-year-old daughter.
Immediately I woke up and heard dogs howling next door.
I grabbed her up and cuddled her reassuringly.
“Oh sweetie, the wolf isn’t real. He’s not real. You’re ok.”
I knew that a nightmare had awakened her, and just so happened that our neighbor’s dogs were howling and barking at that same moment.
Now that is pretty scary!
Mary-Lynn found love, refuge and comfort in my arms.
My hubby pulled her over to his side of the bed and tucked her in.
“It’s OK baby. The wolf won’t get you in here. You can sleep with mommy and daddy tonight.” he told her soothingly.
Yeah, I kind of married the best on earth…;0)
Mary-Lynn had actually been thinking about wolves very often!
Mary-Lynn likes me to read her “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs,” and her favorite movie is the classic cartoon movie entitled,”The Three Little Pigs.”
I’m not sure if this has anything to do with her nightmares, but it is totally a possibility.
If your child experiences a nightmare, take this opportunity to solace them with affection and comfort.
Show them parents are touchable, approachable and understanding.
When we take the time and help our children walk through their trials in life, we give them a more clear illustration of how Christians can run to their Heavenly Father for love, shelter and comfort.
The Best Way to Handle Nightmares in Kids
- Walk to the scary place. If your child thinks there is something in her room, walk with her there and turn the lights on. After doing a thorough search, she can see that nothing is really there. Sometimes people (including little people) need some verbal reassurance — and that does the trick!
- Remind her that God never sleeps. Often I have comforted my children in reminding them that even though people sleep, God never sleeps. This way my kids know that God is still protecting and watching over them when mommy, daddy and everyone else is sound asleep. It’s also a comfort to me when I’m scared!
- Pray and read scripture. Even tiny tots are often comforted by a prayer of help to the Lord. Taking time to pray is also teaching your children to take all their burdens and trials to the Lord. Share with them scriptures about protection and comfort. Some great ones are:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
- Stay with your child. Don’t leave her side until she is consoled and truly comforted. Children need to know their parents will not leave them or forsake them in times of need. By doing this, we reflect our heavenly Father’s love and character. What a privilege we have to point our kids to God!
Seize the teachable moments and let your little ones know that you will be there to protect and comfort them in their moment of despair!
*Affiliate links have been added to help you parent your child through nightmares.