Parents can feel helpless when faced with their child’s nightmares, especially if these are severe and happen a lot.
But there are ways of empowering children to understand the nature of dream reality so that they learn to tackle their nightmares head-on.
Creative dreamplay is wonderful – this involves things like drawing the nightmare monster and then ritually destroying the paper afterwards, or creating a dream zoo in a cardboard box to house frightening dream animals or images. This book I co-edited, Sleep Monsters & Superheroes: Empowering Children through Creative Dreamplay, is a great practical resource for how to help children to thrive in their inner world of dreams and nightmares.
Another option is to explain to the child that it is possible to wake up inside a dream and change events. In this short video, I share my experiences with my little daughter and how giving her a mantra and telling her about lucid dreaming helped her to take charge of her dream dragons and scary witches.