Nightmares - thoughts, suggestions, or commiseration?February 14 2012 at 6:24 PM
|Ariadne (Login ariadne2)|
We've been having problems on & off with ds #1 waking up in the middle of the night hysterical. Lately, it's more often than not & dh ends up sleeping in his room.
We're not sure what to do. We don't want to end up in a situation where ds #1 starts to want & expect daddy to sleep with him, but OTOH, he's waking up hysterically scared, so we aren't going to ignore him. We do wait a little bit to see if he'll self-soothe & drop back to sleep but that's almost always not the case. Last night, dh waited even longer than normal, but no go.
Is there even a solution to this? Night lights have been a bust b/c they create shadows, which he's afraid of.
Will he just outgrow it?
On the plus side, a la the recent snoring thread, I'm sleeping better with dh otherwise occupied but I know long term it's not a good idea.
How old is he again?
|February 14 2012, 6:35 PM |
I do not know if this would work for a child but it might if they are old enough to be verbal. For adults, the prevention technique for nightmares is to say before bedtime, "I will not have bad dreams tonight." I have frequent nightmares as an adult and have all my life so I was interested in this and when I read it, I simply did not believe it. However, I can say from personal experience that it does work!
Again, I don't know if it would work on a child, but if he can talk, you might try it and make it part of his bedtime routine.
He turned 4 in Nov.
|February 14 2012, 6:52 PM |
We did talk to him last evening about sleeping through the night, that daddy can't come in there every night, etc., but that sure didn't work! He still can't really articulate why he's scared. We're surmising it's from nightmares. He always complains about shadows & "shadows talking." It's usually around 1:00 or later, though, so it does come after he's fallen asleep just fine.
We're just kind of at a loss b/c we're not going to leave him alone in there when he's terrified. I mentioned one time in a recent post that I still remember my mom never letting me in bed with them when I was terrified. (She was then & still is rigidly anti-co-sleeping, a position I don't share. It just happened to work out fine for us & for our boys to have their own rooms.)
I have no real complaints about my parents, but I do still remember kneeling on her side many times, terrified. Then before too long she would take me back to bed. Ugh. She never stayed with me & I couldn't stay with her, & I was still scared from my dream. So needless to say, I feel kind of stuck here, as we won't leave our boys like that when they're scared.
Oh, no, I don't mean that kind of talking
|February 14 2012, 7:03 PM |
I don't mean preparatory talking in an attempt to plan the night. I mean having him make mental suggestions to himself by simply making the statement "I will not have bad dreams tonight." That apparently sends the subconscious a message and it prevents nightmares. Again, I don't know if it works in children, but it works in adults and it works for me every time. Also if he's not really having bad dreams, then that won't work either, but it's worth a shot.
I agree that you definitely need to be there for him when he's frightened. I also think he will either grow out of it or learn how to self soothe back to sleep.
|This message has been edited by biogal on Feb 14, 2012 7:04 PM|
No, I understand
|February 15 2012, 7:32 AM |
Just reporting what we did that didn't work!
Will try this.
Dh went in once last night but didn't have to say very long, so that's an improvement over some nights.
Make him something.
|February 14 2012, 6:54 PM |
When I was a little girl, probably a year older than your ds, I suffered from nightmares. My dad made me a little wooden creature called "no bad dream thing" - it sat next to my bed for years and really cured me.
I think it can be anything: a cardboard cutout or even a photo album filled with soothing dream images that you can look at before bed and tell his head to only dream of these nice things. Any kind of little shrine you can set up next to his bed, maybe with some ninja character in the middle that you declare "the bad dream fighter." you get the idea.
Yes! That's it, that's the sort of thing
|February 14 2012, 7:05 PM |
Basically what your dad did was help you to make suggestions to yourself, in your case, in the positive (have good dreams) as well as in the negative (bad dream fighter). I think this is the same concept.
Thank you, cotton!
|February 15 2012, 7:31 AM |
Will try something like this.
Oops double post
|February 14 2012, 7:41 PM |
|This message has been edited by BabyCotton on Feb 14, 2012 7:42 PM|
no solution.... but my DD gets scared and just comes to sleep with us...
|February 14 2012, 8:35 PM |
... us meaning, me. Dad usually sleeps in the spare room because of my snoring and can't just sleep with little ones. It doesn't bother me. In fact, she sleeps longer in the AM if with me. BUT she doesn't wake up screaming, just says she's afraid of the dark - the DARK OUTSIDE, not necessarily in the house. We keep their door ajar and a bright light on in the hall.
I know, its baffling. Poor little guy.
1st kids for us!
5th DE attempt
|This message has been edited by AndreaMomma on Feb 15, 2012 6:11 AM|
|February 15 2012, 8:35 AM |
Yes, dark & shadows are what he reports, too. He starts out calling us for & escalates quickly to crying for us. I guess I assume they are nightmares, but perhaps he is just waking & getting scared.
He insists the hall light stay on, which actually makes more shadows in the room b/c of the gap under the door. I've explained that to him, but no go. He wants the hall light on. And if he wakes up & it's off, then he really does start screaming.
I really like BBG's and Cotton's replies
|February 15 2012, 6:24 AM |
My DS talks about his dreams and bad dreams, but he hasn't woken up in fear of them as of yet, even though he does mention them. Actually, now that I think of it, he does wake in the middle of the night sometimes, but not often. And I will sleep next to him until he falls asleep. If he mentions it the next morning, I try to get him to tell me what happened in the dream and then I try (see I use the word 'try') to explain how dreams work. I guess maybe he is too young even though I explain it in 4 year old terms.
As an aside, DS has also already asked me what happens after someone dies? where is my penis? and who is G-d? Such difficult questions! Our babies are growing up so quickly.
|February 15 2012, 8:37 AM |
Yes to tough questions like dying! Would post more, but gotta run out the door. Literally.
Lots of fears here lately
|February 15 2012, 9:01 AM |
Mostly related to shadows. They want the nightlight to stay on, but don't understand that any light in the room will cause shadows. The main issue is the shadow cast on the ceiling from the ceiling fan. There's no way to prevent it, other than turn off the nightlights. No go! They won't have it. So nightly, one or both boys woke up crying because of shadows.
So, I unpacked 2 dolls my mom made me when I was younger. They are boy/girl scarecrows, about 30" tall. I put them in the boys room, in view of either bed. Told the boys the scarecrows will scare away the shadows. It worked! Of course, the shadows are still there, but to the boys they aren't...or at least they think Peter & Patty (the names I chose for them when I was a kid) are keeping the shadows from being too scary.
We've also been battling night terrors, but that's another whole story....
Good luck & I hope your DS's fears go away soon. I feel for him! I had many fears at night when I was little, even as a young adult.
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