Don't be afraid of nightmares!

Between 18 and 24 months it is normal for nocturnal nightmares to appear. We know that sleep is an especially sensitive topic for families with children from 0 to 3 years old and the appearance of nightmares can give a little respect. The first good news we are going to give you is that they will disappear as they grow, usually between 4 to 5 years old.

Nightmares are a natural part of child development and they are linked to their maturation: our children grow and acquire greater autonomy, their communication skills develop and their imagination increases. These episodes usually occur around the second half of the night, when the child is in the REM sleep phase, at which time brain activity increases (it is easily identifiable because his eyes move rapidly under the eyelids). At this moment dreams appear and, of course, also nightmares.

Despite being a natural stage, there are some factors that can be triggers of these episodes, for example, irregular sleep schedules, fever, some medications, the use of screens or situations of fear or anger that they may have experienced during the day or just before going to bed. But remember: nightmares are part of development and are just another stage.

So can we do something to avoid them? As in everything, in parenting there are no magic solutions, but at the Happy Way school we have some tricks that can help you survive this phase better:

  • It is important to have a proper sleep routine so that they go to sleep calmer.
  • Children perceive everything, which is why the calm of adults at these moments plays an important role.
  • When you have to take a medication, it is important to read the prescription to be prepared since some medications cause nightmares.
  • Observe when the nightmares start because, if we know that they occur at a certain time, we can anticipate the situation to wake them up a few minutes before it happens (always in a calm manner) and thus they can go back to sleep relaxed without going through a nightmare. bad time
  • When nightmares occur, we will stand by them in silence and interact as little as possible. In this way we accompany and support them so that they know that we are there and they can go back to sleep.
  • To get to bedtime as calm as possible, we will avoid playing overly stimulating games and, of course, no screens.
  • Although nightmares are natural, they can be a problem due to sleep disturbance. To disturb their rest as little as possible, it is better to keep them in their bed and, from there, accompany them. Moving them to the parents' bed can create a habit that is difficult to break later.

Cheer up families who, like all the challenges you have overcome, This too shall pass. Happy dreams to all. Shhhhhh…

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