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You lot are good at this kind of thing: any creative ideas for handling nightmares in 4 yr old?

(12 Posts)
LowLevelWhingeing Wed 28-Oct-09 13:21:45

My 4 yr old DS has had bouts of night terrors as a 2 and 3 year old. They came around firework time of year and stopped when the fireworks stopped. However, last night he ran out of bed really scared after a nightmare and it was quite different from the terrors that we've seen.

With the terrors it was like he didn't even know we were there and it was a case of waiting it out and he would settle within 30 minutes. Last night, he kept running out of bed to us, really frightened and even woke up screaming after falling asleep in our bed.

We were burgled recently and though we haven't told him the full details, he knows our car has gone and that we have a new (v loud) burglar alarm; he's a bit worried about this.

We all had a crap night's sleep so can any of you help us please? Any tips for calming his anxiety?

thanks in advance

LowLevelWhingeing Wed 28-Oct-09 16:28:30

do the bump

Kewcumber Wed 28-Oct-09 16:32:07

DS had a nightmare about a "bad nurse" a year ago when he was 3 and has been a bit scared ever since.

I bought him a nightlight in the shape of a blobby man from IKEA and we named him Percy. Percy;s job is to look after DS in the night.

Monster spray squirted liberally aorund before bedtime (especially if it smells like lavendar) works a treat too.

I also have "sensible discussions with him about what he is scared of and go through different scenarios to counteract them. Mostly involving me routing burglars in a superhero type way! Also a discussion of who has a key to the house and how difficult it is ot get in wihtout a keyetc.

Good luck.

LowLevelWhingeing Wed 28-Oct-09 16:55:36

Thanks Kew, that's excellent advice. I like the monster spray!

Kewcumber Wed 28-Oct-09 17:22:24

I like it too! but actually it was Percy who made the biggest differnce in practice.

NorbertDentressangle Wed 28-Oct-09 17:27:33

I remember a dream catcher working for DD at one stage. I can't remember what age she was though.

We let her choose one and explained that it would catch any bad dreams and stop her from having them or, if she woke up having had a bad dream, then the dream catcher would take it away so that she could get back to sleep OK.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 28-Oct-09 17:30:57

Dreamcatcher also worked on my DD when she was 4.We said much the same as Norbert. Then when she had a nightmare after quite some months I said it's power needed topping up so we added more features, that kept it working for a bit longer.

dizietsma Wed 28-Oct-09 17:35:30

We have a keychain LED light next to the bed AKA "piglight" for use in the night. Also have a pretty ladybird nightlight

When DD was 3 we started a tradition of "Kicking the bad dreams butts" where we pretend to waste the bad dreams with our awesome kung fu moves, DD then presses imaginary buttons that send the bad dreams into outer space. That worked for a bit, but she recently informed us that she knows we're just pretending. She still wants us to put on a show of it though, so I think it has a reassuring effect anyway.

I have also explained that bad dreams are just what happens when we are thinking about upsetting things in our sleep, and that they aren't really real.

I have suggested thinking of things that make her feel happy or imagining fun stories before falling asleep, as this really helped me when I was suffering with bad dreams as a child. She's less convinced about that, but I suspect repetition might get her to give it a try.

LowLevelWhingeing Wed 28-Oct-09 22:12:30

Sorry I disappeared - had to go to work for a few hours.

Thanks all for the great ideas. So maybe a night light of some kind plus something with special powers? I'll get my thinking head on!

I missed bedtime tonight - apparently it went fine - so I'll see how the night goes.

Thanks y'all!

PrettyCandles Wed 28-Oct-09 22:18:30

Our dc have always liked our getting rid of nightmares ritual, which we do when they have told us about the dream:

(Talk the child through this, with hand actions, and their suggestions if they want)

Let's take that horrible dream, roll it up into a tight bundle, stomp it flat, roll it up even smaller, then we can throw it out of the window and the buses and lorries will run over it and squash it flat and it will be all gone.

We lived on a busy road. Now that we live in a quiet road, we flush the dream down the loo, it will get washed out to sea, where the fishes will eat it and poo the bits out of their bottoms. And it will be all gone.

The dc particularly like the pooing one!

LowLevelWhingeing Wed 28-Oct-09 23:02:08

Ah yes harness the power of poo! always a hit with the toddler grin

NellyTheElephant Sun 01-Nov-09 21:00:03

My DD1 (now rising 5) has suffered from bad nightmares for a long time - to the extent that she gets upset if someone says something innocuous to her like 'goodnight, sweet dreams' (which is something her grandfather often says when he says goodnight) as she says it makes her think about dreams and then all the nightmares come. A couple of things help.... she has a tyrannosaurus rex toy (who she says is a girl dinosaur called Tyranna) who she likes to sit on her bedside table. Tyranna protects her from the monsters (comes into her dreams and eats all the monsters up). It's not infalliable, but it helps. A night light is essential too. It also helps to talk through a few happy thoughts about nice things she has done recently (or wants to do) and friends etc to think about, so she focusses on real (and happy) thoughts as she falls asleep.

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