Let's learn something: Bad dreams are scary

Image by Shawn Campbell
I remember the first time my son told me about a bad dream. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, "I dreamed there was no milk."

Did I immediately scoop him into my arms and get him some chocolate milk? You bet I did (he was only two)!

Since then, my son has told me about lots of bad dreams. His descriptions are always succinct:
  • There was a horse that was kicking me. It wasn't nice.
  • The train came into my room and it was being loud.
  • I couldn't find my friend.
  • Nobody knew where my mommy was.
  • The dark is scary.
While these are all awful things to dream about at night, they are all somewhat still based in reality. Unlike adults: Adult nightmares tend toward the bizarre. (Seriously, that link is worth a peek - there is some interesting stuff in there about nightmare topics.)

But, until he is older and realizes that dreams are irrational and beautiful, I have to help him with his fears at night. Here are some things that we do:
  • We stick to a bedtime routine. A few books before bed makes for a happy boy.
  • We do not let him sleep in our bed. He has slept in his own room since the day we brought him home from the hospital. (I don't need another co-sleeper.)
  • We talk about our dreams in the morning: The good, the bad and the in-between. Now's the time to get him to communicate about what is bothering him.
Sometimes I wonder what else would help. Monster spray? A special song?

What do you do in your household to chase away the bad dreams? Tell me about it in the comments.

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