How to Handle your Child’s Nightmare

SOS_2-mom_2aMost parents come across experiences of hearing a sudden shriek in the middle of the night from their child’s bedroom. When they rush in, the sight of their toddler – sitting up wild-eyed in bed, crying and trying to reach out for them leaves them greatly anxious.

Unless your child expresses in words that she has had a nightmare, it is difficult to understand what caused her this distress.

However, if your regular “peaceful sleeper” unexpectedly wakes up crying, behaves clingy and faces trouble getting back to sleep on her own, you can consider it the after-effect of a nightmare.

Nightmares are most common in preschoolers, as they develop some general fears and have vivid imagination at this age. They face difficult time separating reality from make-believe.

So how are you supposed to handle your child when she has a nightmare?

Let us have a quick look at what our SOS Moms have to suggest:

Ensure that the night-light of your child’s bedroom is on

Keep the door of your child’s bedroom open and assure her that you are near-by

Ensure that you give physical reassurance to your child when she cries. Hold her close to you and gently rub her back until she calms down and is normal.

If your child is old enough, speak to her and try to understand her fears. You might be able to figure out a way to soothe her in a better way when she cries.

“Never scare your child or never let her see or be in scary environment. Also, before sleeping let your child watch or hear lovely stories of her favourite cartoon character”, says Shantala Murugendra

“Check if there is something that happens in the day that scares her. There may be some person whom she doesn’t like. Encourage her to speak up and try to find out a solution to her problem”, suggests Sanghamitra Sethi Kummera.

However, if the nightmares persist and she dreads going to bed or is fearful during the day too, do not delay to consult your paediatrician – such dreams could signal an emotional issue that needs addressing.  Lastly, do not panic as this is very common among children of this age and will fade away with time soon.


We thank all the Mommies of our community for sparing their precious time to give their valuable responses:

Heena Bhardwaj, Pavitra Thakur, Suchitra Prakash, Pratibha Gautam, Merina John, Gunjan Ravi Shadija, Srirama Sammeta, Sheetal Diniyan, Kim J S, Sirisha Naidu, Inderjeet Kaur Bindra, Tejasveeta Pawar Vaidya, Charu Singh, Pooja Dixit Patayane, Alpana Chaudhary, Seema Suthar Gaikwad, Sarika Jain, Namrata Sood Joshi, Gayathri Ramchandran, Shilpa Jaiswal, Karuna Gupta, Aarti Vedpathak, Cheena Jain, Rajprit Jaiswal, Ambika Mehta, Supriya Mishra, Vandana Anand, Aparajitha Nagesh, Shantala Murugendra, Sanghamitra Sethi Kummera, Laxmi Singh and Appasamy Pradeep.


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