Before beginning with the tips for treating nightmares in children, it is good to explain the differences between nightmares and nightmares. Basically because knowing how to differentiate them will make us have a greater knowledge about them and a greater capacity for understanding and action on them.
It is normal for children with three years to start having dreams that can be good or bad and that usually represent day-to-day factors . You may also notice touches of aggressiveness, excessive energy, or fear. After six years, your child will begin to understand better what is happening to him, but until then, he will need someone to accompany him and reassure him by explaining that what he is experiencing is not real.
In night terrors, the child appears to be awake, has wide eyes, is restless, crying or screaming. If we find these symptoms it means that your child is not awake but he is not having a nightmare, but a night terror. This is very distressing for family members who may see it but you have to understand that it is common in preschool age.
Once this is clarified, you can continue to have doubts since it is sometimes difficult to differentiate them and that is why below I will explain some small differences about nightmares in children.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NIGHTMARES AND NIGHT TERRORS
We define nightmares as a dream that causes a lot of fear but when you wake up you will surely remember something. In the case of night fears , you usually don’t remember anything. Nightmares usually occur at the end of the night, between five and seven in the morning. However, night terrors occur between one and three in the morning, that is, at a much earlier time. Finally, if your child when he wakes up recognizes you, notices your presence, calms down and even goes to look for you to give him some affection, then it is a nightmare.
The night terror is so intense that it may not recognize you and even yell at you and push you away. That is why it is better not to immobilize or overwhelm him physically. So if the child suffers a nightmare, surely it will be difficult for him to fall asleep again because it is something that they have lived with more realism. In the case of terrors, they easily fall asleep again because they do not remember anything, they do not need affection and they do not fully wake up.
Focusing on what to do when you have a nightmare , these are normal in the lives of children. We have all suffered them and we know, if we stop to think a bit, that what usually comforts the most is knowing that your parents are going to come to see you after suffering them. It is essential to have the affection of your parents present in the moments after having a nightmare since even if they continue to happen, you may begin to know how to deal with them if they have had the support, explanation and affection they need in their first nightmares.
If we see that he is having one and we can observe that he is having fear, in these cases we can wake him up, unlike in sleepwalking. This will shorten your child’s fear and you are really doing him a favor, as well as being an affectionate gesture . If you observe it for a few moments and you realize that the fear passes after seconds, it may not be necessary to cut off the sleep, but as I said, if it is intermittently for a while or continuously, it is good to wake him up.
HOW TO AVOID HAVING NIGHTMARES
It is important that the environment when going to bed is conducive to not having nightmares . This is achieved by preventing you from going to bed too energetic, which is why sports encourage you to go to bed tired (in addition to social factors) and not see scary movies before going to sleep (or anything that you don’t scares him). This moment prior to sleep should be calm , relaxed and if to put him to bed you read him a story, put soft music, light to sleep and say goodbye by giving him a kiss or a hug, even better. Above all, the affectivity that is an essential factor.
You should discuss the issue with him or her who understands that everything that scared them last night was created by their mind and that it has no connection to real life . Therefore, you can treat the subject with your child in an affective way and even when you see him relaxed, make a joke to make him forget the bad drink. Convey that you are going to be there when a nightmare occurs and that they do not have to worry because you will make it over. Another option is to do a psychological trick, such as telling him that you bought a dream catcher.And that you don’t have to worry because now almost all the evils that might want to enter your room will be caught in the net. They are all communication issues that can make the child feel defended in the face of this new situation that he has to face, as well as with the rest of the difficulties that arise in his life.
Now, if the child continues with these fears and continues to have nightmares that prevent him from having a normal life, that is, sleeping and being well rested, then it is good to see a doctor so that he can advise us on how to proceed .
I hope this article helps you, first, to differentiate a nightmare from a night terror in order to save you a greater worry and, second, to have ideas for treating nightmares.