Nightmares can be a frightening and distressing experience for children. Nightmares can result in the onset of anxiety, fear, and confusion in children. Many parents wonder at what age do nightmares start and how they can support their
children when they experience them.
Nightmares can start as early as age two, but they are most common in children between the ages of three and six. This is because young children have a vivid imagination, and they may have difficulty separating fantasy from reality. Children may experience apprehensions and concerns which they are unable to articulate or manage effectively.
Parents can play a crucial role in supporting their children when they experience nightmares. Here are some tips to help parents:
Create a calm and safe sleeping environment
Children who experience nightmares may feel scared to go to bed or may be afraid of the dark. Parents can create a calm and safe sleeping environment by providing a night light, soft music, or a favorite toy. It can also help to establish a bedtime routine that is relaxing and predictable.
Encourage your child to talk about their nightmares
Talking about nightmares can help children process their feelings and fears. Encourage your child to talk about their nightmares and listen to them without judgment. Reassure them that their nightmares are not real and that they are safe.
Validate your child's feelings
Nightmares can be scary, and it's essential to validate your child's feelings. Tell them that it is normal to feel scared after a nightmare and that you are there to support them. Let them know that you will keep them safe.
Avoid scary movies or stories before bedtime
The probability of nightmares can be heightened by exposing children to frightening movies or literature before bedtime. Avoid exposing your child to scary or violent media before bedtime, and instead, choose calming activities like reading a book or listening to soothing music.
Seek professional help if nightmares persist
Most nightmares are normal and go away on their own, but if your child's nightmares persist, it may be time to seek professional help. A doctor or therapist can help identify any underlying issues that may be contributing to your child's nightmares and provide guidance on how to manage them.
Nightmares can start as early as age two, and they are most common in children between the ages of three and six. Parents can support their children by creating a calm and safe sleeping environment, encouraging their child to talk about their nightmares, validating their feelings, avoiding scary media before bedtime, and seeking professional help if nightmares persist. By following these tips, parents can help their children feel safe, secure, and supported during this challenging time.