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(14 Posts)
samwifewithkid Wed 20-Jul-05 20:24:48

Can anyone offer any advice with nightmares?

My dd is just 3 and has been waking screaming and shaking terrified about spooky eyes and wolves, she talks about the bad dream all day as if it is real.

I think her imagination is too vivid and she loves looking at books. We have a stable normal family, but have a new baby 4m. She is due to start pre school in September.

I would like to hear how others coped with telling their children the difference between dreams and reality? How did you explain it? Did you use any tricks or games to make the bad dreams go away?

Any experiences will be gratefully received!

BareFootAngel Wed 20-Jul-05 20:29:48

ok well its nearly impossible to convince them their not real[be honest when you have anightmare yourself feels real enough doesnt it?] so what you do is you make a game of it buy some glitter [sorry messy maybe think something else] what you do is make up a poem [spell,,?
and get them to reapeat it as your dd is only 3 prob something like
im going to sleep now
ive had a long day
so go away monsters find some where to play
im spinkling my angel dust
and going to sleep
so be quiet you lot ,,not so much as a squeek
night night
then sprinkle the dust

BareFootAngel Wed 20-Jul-05 20:30:42

good luck

Kittypickle Wed 20-Jul-05 20:33:47

Dreamcatchers, worked with my DD for a couple of years brilliantly, though unfortunetly it's stopped working now. All the dreams get caught in the web, the bad ones are destroyed by the moon and the sun, the good ones released so she can dream.

mandyc66 Thu 21-Jul-05 11:04:02

this may sound a silly question but does it happen every night or just certain times?
My ds1 had nightmares/night hallusinations(spl) after eating anything with monosodium glutamate in it!!...we knicknamed it nightmare juice!!!

MumtoLaura Thu 21-Jul-05 13:09:29

Daddy goes into DD's (who is 3.5) bedroom before she goes to sleep and gets rid of all the witches / ghosts / monsters / wolves etc. - He throws them out of the window. They dare not come back in as they're scared of daddy. This doesn't always work, but it's worth a try.

mummyhill Thu 21-Jul-05 13:44:10

Daddy goes in and shouts to scare the monsters away before bed each night.

HappyHuggy Thu 21-Jul-05 13:51:53

Have you ever heard of a dream catcher?

They really help alot

IanSomniac Thu 21-Jul-05 17:03:56

Change of diet?
Food is full of chemicals these days.
I get massively vivid dreams if I go near a curry - or anything with coriander in it.
For example, did you know there are 56 poisons in a potato? They actually come from the solanacea family which not only includes tomatoes & aubergines, but deadly nightshade, and woody nightshade.
Mostly the body can cope with limited amounts of toxins, (from which we get the word "intoxicated") but many of them can affect the mind, when they do so dramatically they are called "drugs".
Your doctor can recommend a dietary regime to determine hypersensitivity to food types.
I understand thyme & honey tea is recommended to reduce vivid dreams, might be worth a go.
The other obvious question is - is your child getting access to any video nasties, or playing silly games with other kids - or getting stories at nursery school? Even some of the cartoons on TV can leave deep impressions on the vulnerable minds of young children. Even the news can be disturbing maybe they've been showing foxhunts?
Maybe try to read "nice" stories to her at night as a bit of positive suggestion to drift off to.
Do you pray much? As a Christian I would go for this before the new age "Dream Catchers".
"Before I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep" ... maybe lay off the bit about "if I die before I wake - I pray the Lord my soul to take".
Make sure to visit the loo before sleeping as the bladder pressure keeps you just on the verge of half-waking and interupts sleep. Likewise, don't have too much to drink before bedtime.
Is Ted there to keep her company? Ted always scares away nasty wolves - coz they're frightened of bears!
Has she had a fright with a dog? Do you have any friends or zoos where she might handle puppies and get to know them as friends?
Is there any other kind of stress going on in the family?
Is there much background noise in the bedroom - especially barking dogs? (maybe play some gentle music in the background?)
Back to herbalism, hop pillows are supposed to give a good night's sleep. Lavender for aromatherapy (I think). Oats, help cleanse the body.
I am no therapist, but I do sympathise, I used to be terrified in the dark as a child, I have very vivid dreams and even at 50 I still have the odd terrifying nightmare that leaves me shaken.
I often wonder what my old dog thinks when she is twitching and whimpering in her sleep. I quietly talk to her (without waking her) and reassure her that I am there and she seems to calm down. If she is really frantic I gently stroke her and that seems to settle her. (wish it worked with the wife! :-)

Sweet Dreams!

mandyc66 Thu 21-Jul-05 23:30:12

have the night mares got any better?

pinkyroses Sat 23-Jul-05 23:12:07

Hi. My dd went through this a little while ago and I was tearing my hair out as I had no clue what to do.

Eventually, after watching the Cosby show, I came up with an idea. I bought her a new toy doll. Her favourite princess is Jasmine, so I got her a Jasmine doll and explained how Jasmine would keep away any baddies. It worked like a charm.

Hope you get things settled soon. Big hugs xxx

cori Mon 25-Jul-05 12:13:38

DS 3.6 went through this a few months ago. Everyday he would wake up telling me he had a bad dream. He would always say the same thing. 'man chased me away'. One day I suggested to him he could have a good dreams and suggested he might dream of balloons or teddy bears. The next morning he said he had a bad dream 'the balloons popped me away'.
He seems to have got over the nightmare stage now. But I still let him come into our bed when he is frightened.
I think it has to do with having such active imaginations at this age. I think it will probably pass soon as it did with my DS

TartanTeddy Mon 25-Jul-05 20:15:48

Hi everyone, this is my first Mumsnet posting!
A few suggestions - I've always found that I'm more prone to nightmares when I sleep on my back, so it might be worth making sure your daughter sleeps on her side. Also my older daughter went through a phase of nightmares (almost certainly triggered off by an unpleasant teacher at school, who eventually ended up at a tribunal, I digress here...) I found that getting her to draw a picture of her monster with a big sun shining on it helped. We folded up the picture and put it away in a box in a cupboard, out of sight out of mind. Stangely enough this seemed to work.
Good luck

samwifewithkid Mon 01-Aug-05 19:33:26

Thanks alot for the suggestions!

I like the idea of the favourite toy chasing away the monsters and the rhymne and fairy dust.

I have bought a book on dreams/nightmares and I am talking to her about them, trying to explain that when we go to sleep at night we dream.

At the moment she keeps telling everyone she has wolves in her head, which is quite cute.

We are making sure she has a calm transit towards bedtime now with no wind up games. And I have removed all her books with any pictures she might perceive as being scarey.

I think the talking is helping a lot and she is still having them, but they don't seem quite so scarey as they first did. I think once she realises the difference between dreams and reality she will be ok. She even had a nightmare about snakes the other night, all because she took her soft cuddly snake to bed with her. I have been told by my health visitor that this is all normal behaviour and not to over stimulate her in the evening. I am feeling a bit happier now.

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