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When a Child Has a Nightmare

Night time is supposed to be a time of rest for your child and for the parents, but what do you do when your child has a nightmare?  What is the best way to help them get through this traumatic event and back to sleep?  Read below for good ideas to help you when bad dreams threaten this important time, because every child and parent needs a restful night with sweet dreams!

Remain calm.

The best way to combat fear is to walk in faith.  Being peaceful and calm will reassure your child that everything is ok.  Tell them that although dreams or nightmares seem real, they are just dreams, and that is all.

Ask your child about the dream.
Listen to their fears, no matter how silly or unrealistic they might seem.  Sometimes the dream is a way for your child to cope with something they are dealing with in their life and the nightmare is a way to process the situation.  If you listen to their hearts, you may be able to minister to them and bring them comfort by sharing wisdom or truth for their situation.

Use the time to be a teachable moment

Ask them if there was anything that they may have seen or heard that might cause them to be afraid?  Today it is not unusual to see video games or movies that are too frightening for little innocent eyes.  The Bible says that our eyes are the windows to our souls so we have to be careful what we watch or allow into our temples.  Use this moment to remind them to be careful with what they see or hear.

Read the Bible together.
Did you know there are 365 scriptures in the Bible that say not to fear?  Listening to God’s word can bring peace to help your child be able to rest again and teach them where to go when they get older and have children of their own.

Pray for them

After you listen to them, take a moment to pray together.  Everyone appreciates prayer when they are feeling afraid or anxious.  Knowing that the Creator Himself is listening and cares can be very comforting to a child.  

Play music.

Turn on some comforting music to help soothe them back to sleep.   There are also some great music CD’s with scripture songs on them to help your child get the Word into their hearts so they can learn to comfort themselves as well.

Put them back into bed.

Tuck them into their own bed with their favorite lovie, and reassure them that everything will be better.  If that does not work, you can also let them put a sleeping bag on the floor beside your bed if they are still afraid.  Having mommy and daddy close by might help them get back to sleep.  Once they are asleep you can put them back in their bed so they do not get accustomed to sleeping in your room.

Whatever you decide to do, I believe it is most important to reassure your child that everything is going to be ok and for them to know that you love them.  As the word says, “perfect love casts out all fear.”  Sweet Dreams for you and your child!