Childish dreams often become a problem for young parents. This is particularly so with nightmares that can easily cause a baby’s sleep disorder. However, common dreams too require attention on the part of adults, because their vividness and intensity affect the development of a child. So, what should parents do in order to take care of a healthy sleep of their children?
Dreams of a newborn
Despite the fact that a baby cannot speak, scientists are sure that it has dreams. During the first two years of life, nightmares are very rare in occurrence, that is why many parents do not pay enough attention to the dreams of their children. However, they have an impact on the neurodevelopment, particularly, during the first six months of life. Parents mustn’t leave them out of account.
What does usually see a baby in dreams? In general, these are the emotions and events that have been happening to it during the previous day. But a baby cannot “generate” a colorful and vivid dream by itself – it needs the mom’s help. Actually, it’s not that difficult to help: a tender voice and lullaby when falling asleep will be enough for a baby to have some sweet dreams.
Dreams of children from 2 to 7 years old
Dreams of children from 2 to 7 years old are almost identical, and they may be divided into groups:
– occurrences of the day. For example, playing in a habitual place, or going out somewhere at the week-end;
– people and animals. As a general rule, these are the family members and pets;
– fictional situations. They may happen to the family members, as well as to book/ cartoon characters.
The younger the children, the simpler are the plots of their dreams.
Dreams of children from 7 years and older
For children older than 7 years, there are typical the same dreams that adults have, but they see them more rarely. Usually in dreams they deal with the situations requiring solution in a real life. For example, in dreams children can overcome certain real-life problems or fears.
The older becomes a child, the less vivid and rememberable his/her dreams are. By 13-15 years, dreams begin to “disappear”. However, this doesn’t mean that dreams themselves discontinue, it’s just that the brain instantaneously pushes them out of the memory, in the same way as for adults: we have dreams every night, but we don’t remember them.
Nightmares and children: why do they have them and what should we do with them?
Every child has nightmares. It’s a natural stage of growing-up. But the intensity of such night visions may be different, just as well as the reaction to them – everything depends on your child’s nervous system. You should not pay a very special attention to them. You should only be afraid if nightmares take place on a regular basis, and the child is very worried about them. Other than that, they may be even useful.
If a dream itself it’s a training for a child’s brain, then a nightmare it’s a training and exercising of tricky situations. For example, if you have scolded your child and are choked up about him/her, at night he/she can see a dream in which he/she will be running away from a monster. Sometimes in dreams there is processed not only a conflict in the family, this may be just a strong impression left by a cartoon (if a child is feeling pity for a character, was frightened by a bad guy, etc.)
Is it possible to affect dreams? Of course, it is. Dreams first of all depend on the impressions left by the previous day or recent time (the older the child, the broader the range). In order to diversify dreams, you can visit different places, watch different movies, read a lot of books – the more impressions, the more diversified dreams are.
Positive moments and feeling of safety in a real life will help your child to avoid nightmares. But if a bad dream too much disturbs a child, you can thrash it out: discuss with the child what exactly did he/she see in a dream. Discuss his/her feelings about it. Whether he/she was afraid? Why? What did frighten him/her? Some parents prefer not to disturb their children after having bad dreams, but it’s not always right. Fears have to be thrashed out instead of being buried somewhere deep in the consciousness. But that’s exactly what will happen if you don’t neutralize too bright impression left by a nightmare.
Discuss negative associations and make play with them in reality. For example, if your child was flying through the air and fell to the death in a dream, play with him/her using toy planes, etc., in order to “break” negative memories and replace them with positive ones. It’s better to choose games for two, so that the child doesn’t feel lonely.
Think out a night defender for the child – a fluffy toy he/she can take with him/her to the bed, etc. This will prevent your child from feeling lonely when falling asleep, and consequently, the level of uneasiness will decrease. This, in its turn, will be a guarantee of nightmares quantity reduction.
Dreams for children represent an integral part of their life. You should not be afraid of them and try to get rid of them. The unconscious of a human, and of course, of a child, has always been a “well-functioning machine” working only for the good. If your child does not experience any stresses when awake, then in the sleep nothing wrong will happen to him/her as well.