Toddlers and Bad Dreams

I guess my question here is…is it common for a toddler to have bad dreams? And if they do have bad dreams how does it affect them??sleeping2

I ask because my son has recently started having bad dreams. The type of dream varies from fighting someone to taking something that is his to wanting something he shouldn’t have. And how do I know what he is dreaming about you ask….well…because he is yelling it IN his sleep. Whenever he has a nightmare he tends to talk in his sleep and we get an idea of what is wrong.

It’s a range from:

No!! Mine! Mine! Mine!

No! My teddy!

I want yogurt!

I wanna go to the water park!!!

The weird part is…we will all be sleeping and then all of a sudden a loud cry erupts from his room and when I walk in there to see what is wrong….he is dead asleep. He has no idea I am in there.

The first few times I tried to pick him up and console him and let him know that he was ok…there was nothing there…mommy is here….BUT that didn’t work. When I did that he would either throw a fit by kicking and screaming even louder OR he would cry “NO NO NO” and then cry/whine for about an hour until he can fall back asleep. Then I remembered a rule I had heard a long time ago….that when someone is sleeping and having a nightmare/bad dream…you should never touch them. It could feel like it is part of the dream and scare them even more. SO…I stopped touching him. I then started to just whisper (with no touching) … “Shhhhhhh, its ok. Mommy is here.” But even that got a bad reaction. He would still cry “NO NO NO” and kick his legs.  Although with no touching….it didn’t take as long for him to fall back to sleep BUT it was still a bad reaction.

I still haven’t quite figured out what to do when this happens. I am still doing the whisper with no touching….but it does get a little taxing to get up out of bed to whisper at 1am every few days.  The good thing is that when he wakes up in the morning he has no recollection of the dream or waking us up in the middle of the night. So at least he is unaffected.

I read that a child between the ages of 2-4 is more likely to have bad dreams because they are finally starting to develop fears and their imagination is growing.  But then I ask…is it normal for them to talk in their sleep? Does this mean that he is going to talk in his sleep for the rest of his life??

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2 comments on “Toddlers and Bad Dreams

  1. My children were all (four of them) big dreamers, screamers and talkers. Two of them were walkers. As I post this my youngest who is eleven has just wandered downstairs! I did not wake them when they were small unless it was a recurring shout or cry. When they got older if they were very unsettled I would get them up without really waking them and take them to the loo. They always settled after that.

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