Distance to the bad dream: Parents should offer children rest after nightmares

Children's nightmares: calm instead of interpret together
When children wake up after a bad dream, parents should help them get away from their nightmare. Experts advise against interpreting the dream together with the little ones, which would make it difficult for the children to forget the horror trip.

Nightly horror trips sometimes extend into the day
Everyone has woken up from a bad dream. It is not always over. Sometimes the horror trips last far into the day. Appeasement such as: "It was just a dream" doesn't really help. Many worry about the confused dreams and their meaning and are sometimes even more frightened. Children are particularly affected.

Children are more often plagued by nightmares
Because of the longer sleep phases, children are more often plagued by nightmares. As the professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ) reports on its website "", parents should under no circumstances try to interpret the bad dream together with the child after waking up.

According to Katharina Rödiger, a qualified psychologist and sleep researcher at the Children's University Hospital in Eastern Bavaria, it is much more important to build a distance from your dream. If parents interpret the dream, it may be that it sticks in the memory. This makes it very difficult for the little ones to forget the dream.

Body contact with the child
As the BVKJ explains, parents recognize a nightmare by the fact that the child wakes up, is very emotionally aroused and has sweated. In addition, the youngsters can clearly remember the terrible dream.

In this situation, it is best for parents to calm their child, hug them, or go to bed with them. The child feels protected through physical contact. However, if a child has nightmares every week or keeps having the same dream, it is advisable to see the pediatrician.

Get a grip on nightmares
Other experts point out that it is recommended for nightmares to let children find a solution themselves by discussing the bad dream with them the following day.

Even adults should not put up with it: nightmares can be defeated. There are targeted techniques with which you can get nightmares under control on your own or with professional help.

There are also successful therapies for chronic nightmares. The family doctor can often recommend an experienced psychotherapist or a sleep doctor. Medicines are only prescribed in extreme emergencies. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Nightmare vs. Night Terror (September 2021).