How do you calm a child when they awake from a nightmare?
By loving them, and letting them know you are there for them and they are safe. Talk about the nightmare, find out what is was, let them know it was not real, only a dream and no one or nothing can hurt them. Let them sleep with you or a stuffed animal.
Pray with that child and maybe let him/her sleep in your bed if they are still scared.
First you want to make sure that the child had a nightmare and not a night terror; with a night terror the child can often seem awake (eyes open and responsive to you) but they are still stuck in their nightmare. If they are having a night terror, you do not want to try to wake them up, instead you just want to keep them safe, occasionally reassure them that you are there and they are safe, and eventually they will calm down and go back to bed. if it is a traditional nightmare, just comfort the child by telling them they are safe. If they need it, walk them around and show them how you keep them safe (no monsters under the bed, doors and windows are locked, nightlight so you can see). Lay them back into bed, sit with them, rub their back or head and just talk calmly to them about how much you love them, how safe they are and maybe even tell them a story about a happy time or event from their life.
The best thing you can do is let them know you are there. Hold them in your arms, play some music for them, sing them a song.............just comfort them until they calm down.
There is a native culture I had heard about years ago which was deemed to be quite psychologically healthy as a group. One of the reasons was thought to be in the way they handled their children's dreams. They would guide the child to RE-dream the dream in a positive way! It can be done; I used to do this with my daughter when she was about 3 or 4 and it was helpful - even kind of fun. For example, in the culture I mentioned, the child might dream a bear is chasing him. The parent helps guide the child as to how he might dream that interaction differently. Maybe the bear could suddenly stop and start dancing or maybe the bear could reach behind him and give the child a basket of cherries, or ? The child is the one who can help in the decision of how to re-dream the dream. To me, it's a brilliant way for a child to feel empowered. It's worth a try. My daughter grew up to be an actress and has performed in front of thousands of people, and in general is a pretty fearless person. (She still doesn't like worms in the garden though; we should have tried to dream them away when she was younger!)
Slap him, joke ! Honestly, some do that to bring them back to senses.
Well, Just hug him tight and whisper you are there and sleep with him.
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