Recently Matthew has started having nightmares. It is terrible, thinking something is scaring your child so badly, and there isn't much you can do to stop or avoid it. All of our children are great sleepers. They have slept in their own bed in their own room from a very young age. They rarely wake in the night. When Matthew woke whimpering for me in the early hours of the morning we knew something was up. Honestly, I thought he had an accident. He instantly told me that he had a nightmare, and continued to recap the entire dream in detail. We let him come sleep the last hour and a half in our bed, and we didn't think much of it the next day. When we went to put the kids to bed, Matthew was not ok. He didn't want to shut his eyes, he didn't want to be in his room. My husband made him feel better by placing one of my loose fitting hair ties around his wrist to comfort him, saying that is what he does when he gets nightmares (so cute, right!) **BTW, it has been about a week since we did this, and he hasn't had another nightmare since. He still wears the hair tie at night, but has been sleeping great again.
Some other things we do to create a calm bedtime routine:
*We do the same routine every night at the same time.
*We shower, put on pjs brush teeth, get a drink
*We read stories in our bed. They each pick 1 and then we read from a chapter book.
*We say prayers, go potty one more time and head to bed.
*In their rooms they each have a blanky (which they have had since birth) and a LeapFrog My Pal Scout. In Matthew's room there is also a cd player that plays the same Lullaby CD That he has listened to since the day he came home from the hospital.
*They also each have nightlights in their room as well.
My heart can't handle these nightmares, so I hope so badly they go away soon. In the mean time, while we lay at bedtime, talking a few minutes before lights out, I am trying to make this a teachable moment. Telling Matthew how it is so important to be brave. That he is brave. That the superheros he looks up to are brave. To not be afraid. That so many wonderful things happen as long as you are not scared. Bravery is such a wonderful character trait, one that I do not have. One that I so hope my boys develop, because when you are brave I feel you can confront the bad dreams you may have, and chase the good ones.