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Please give me strategies to deal with 7 year old bad dream hysteria

(7 Posts)
sheepareextinct Fri 31-Jul-15 18:52:36

7 year old has been having bad dreams on and off for ages, coupled with (not always at the same time) fear of the dark.

We've tried loads of strategies. She's always allowed to come to our room if she's scared. She shares a room with her sisters (it's a big room). We've done deep breathing, relaxation, thinking nice thoughts, distraction, lights on, lights off, black out curtains, no black out curtains, ninja warrior teddies, specials 'drops' (ie water), bad dream go away spray, banning cartoons like scooby doo. All seem to have worked for a short while but now she's getting worse.

She's winding herself up during the day with thoughts that she'll have a bad dream that night, she closes her eyes and 'sees' things and she's getting hysterical. This combined with the 4yr old being a pain in the bum at bedtime is sending me over the edge.

We've had a really tough 2 years; her dad was seriously ill, had a big operation and had a long and arduous recovery. I thought the kids had come away relatively unscathed but now I'm not so sure sad.

Does anybody have any more suggestions of approaches we can take? Or do I need to consider that this is a result of worry from the last two years and look at some kind of counselling?

FKellett007 Fri 31-Jul-15 21:17:41

Sounds like you are having a really tough time of things. I have 2 children who dont like to sleep so I can sympathise with you totally!

Is your little girl ok when she is in bed with you? If so then that suggests that she is capable of sleeping but it is more of a fear and apprehension. I can only really suggest the things that you have already tried really, you seem to have tackled many of the initial variables. The "ninja teddy" worked quite well with my son. He also had a worry monster which i bought off amazon - it has a zip for a mouth and the kids draw pictures of what they are worried about, fold them up and pop them in the mouth and zip it up. Its great for them as it gets the thoughts out of their head and also you get a chance to open them up whilst little one is asleep and try and see what is bothering them.

My daughter has got a little bit better after we had a complete change around of her bedroom. We totally redecorated it and moved everything around including changing the way that the bed faced. This helped a bit.

I am no expert on sleep or psychology but I would say that you know your children better than anyone. If you think that there is a chance something is bothering them and upsetting them, particularly after their dad's illness then it wouldnt be a bad thing to have a chat with the GP and see if there is any help you can get.

I hope that things get better for you, please let me know how you get on


Oddsocks2 Fri 31-Jul-15 21:28:19

Hi, that sounds awful for her and for you!
I wonder if she is worrying about her Dad on some level. It sounds like you've tried most things. I have been unwell recently (not life threatening but it has impacted our lives) and my 5yr old ds dreams that I am going to die & worries about it despite reassurances. He comes in our bed most nights. My 7yr old is also like your daughter in that he worries about whether he's going to have a bad dream.
Have you tried 'rewriting the story'? You take yourself to the point in the where things start to go bad, then you imagine it going differently. So (to give a clumsy example) when the witch appears, you drink a magic potion which protects you from anything she can do.
However, my feeling is that, if she is experiencing underlying anxiety, the feelings will come out, no matter what technique you use & it may be worth pursuing the counselling idea. Without knowing anything myself, I've seen people on here discussing 'play therapy' which sounds quite gentle.
I hope things improve for her flowers

sheepareextinct Sat 01-Aug-15 03:36:48

Thanks so much for the ideas. The worry monster looks great actually; I had considered worry dolls but the monster would allow me to look at her drawings and maybe give me a better idea. And I think I'll try rewriting the story as well - I did something similar which last night which was that she closes her eyes and thinks of penguins (her current love!), if she 'sees' something she doesn't want to she opens her eyes again, thinks penguins and closes them again. I also thought I'd youtube some meditation for kids stuff (there must be something).

And in case it's attention seeking (don't think so but I need to tackle this anyway) because her four year old sister has been such a demon at bedtime I'm going to try to tackle that too.

We really need to try to crack this this holidays. We're overseas and when school starts back we're out of the door at 6.15 for a 7am school start. Although, it's got worse since she hasn't been as exhausted from that...

sheepareextinct Sat 01-Aug-15 03:38:29

And the overseas thing just makes access to counselling, play based therapy etc rather tricky. Fingers crossed we can come up with some kind of solution!

pause4thought Fri 07-Aug-15 00:11:33

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

DarkEvilMoon Fri 07-Aug-15 01:13:13

pause4thought has been spamming the development board and has been reported. I hope that you manage to get things sorted without using maverick services.

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