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Montco Mommy Versus Nightmares

How do you keep your tots in bed for the entire night when bad dreams come?

The boogey man. The monster under the bed. Vampires. Zombies. Witches. Spiders. At one time or another, one or many of these things have been after my children. Thankfully, they woke to find they were only dreaming.

Our house seems to run feast or famine on nightmares these days. The main problem is? We’re never quite sure when to “believe” them.

Since the day they were born, (OK, more like the day they were out of a crib) the rule in the house has been simple. If you have a bad dream, you run to find mom and dad.

The kids used to be small enough to squeeze in between the two of us in a queen-sized bed. These days, that is getting tougher and tougher. Typically, my husband has gotten into the (likely bad) habit of getting up and moving to the guest room when one or both of the tots come calling.

Mostly, both my son and daughter, want to cuddle mommy. They want to be told it is all going to be OK. And, somehow, falling back to sleep next to mom means the bad man can’t get you.

I don’t mind providing this night service, except when it gets out of hand. There will be entire weeks where no one in the house gets much (good) sleep. Both of my children have queen-sized beds in their room. They are quite accustomed to sleeping with a whole lot of space to flip, flop and move about within, from corner to corner.

When they are in the same-sized bed with an adult, they tend not to change that method of sleep in any way. A foot in the face, a punch in the gut, waking next to someone’s feet instead of their head: it’s all happened in the family bed.

My daughter, much like her mother, seems to generate heat when she sleeps. Despite the fact that I keep my bedroom around 60 degrees, if she and I are the two occupants of the bed, it is like a sauna in there. She snuggles up to your back, no matter how far you try to push her away. It is like sleeping with a tiny fireball in your spine. You can imagine the next day’s sore back, neck and shoulders.

We’ve done nearly anything to try to prevent the creep up the stairs. My daughter slept for two years with ALL of the lights on in her room. She insists on “Monster Spray” being sprayed (it’s actually Glade air freshener spray) before bed every night. She has to have her “Dream Monkey” (a blue stuffed animal).

My son isn’t much braver. He spent two or three years wearing two of my hair ties around his wrists as “Dream Bracelets.” He said they helped keep the bad dreams away. And yes, I made that up in a tired, sleepless night long, long ago. He took it to heart.

From nightlights to story times, sound machines to lava lamps, we’ve tried (or are still operating with) nearly any item that would help. So, does it? Most of the time.

We tend to still go through our stints of “visitors in the night,” but they are far less frequent. Sure, we jump through a lot of seemingly silly hoops to make it work, but I’d do nearly anything for a decent night’s sleep.

What have you tried? 

marion1 February 14, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Melissa, seems you've tried alot already! Here's a couple more: a food journal to track possible links to behavior, eliminating food dyes helped us, limiting sugar or preservatives too. Limiting TV shows that contain "nightmare material"- a phrase coined by our daughter at age 5----known to run from the room at a commercial, calling out " oh no, that's nightmare material!" If they just love to be with you, they will eventually grow out of it---and you will someday miss it....but you will have to trust me on that one. good luck.
andthatsthetruth February 14, 2013 at 06:03 AM
I agree that foods can effect young children. Not enough comfort food? Maybe a bowl of cereal before bedtime as their snack. Mine always did good with desert a bit earlier than bedtime & milk. I can truly say there hasn't been nightmares or trips to bed with me. Granted,now you have struck a nerve so that I relate. I've got a 150lb german shepard that is 9 & wants to do this same kinda thing NOW - gets there first & won't move? Same deal, has me sleep sideways. Queen size bed & his own personal bed pillow on the floor RIGHT NEXT TO THE BED. This is with Hubby on the couch~ not late enough to come to bed. Another may be ~ Don't know what your children are watching, In my time it was Barney, but come Halloween, they are into it big time. No nightmares. Maybe try not being as verbal about why you are doing something. It may be too late for what you have already told them considering the 5 yr old has already left the room? Wait until later in the evening to put something that has substance until they go to bed. I realize that there are several shows that are on earlier, but the TV GODS are not doing what they did in younger years. Sorry to say... get them a VCR/DVD so that they can watch in their personal rooms enjoyable things before going to bed. Let them wind down separately. Set the TV timer. Give them a selection so they can make good choices. Carebear, Disney, no fast action stuff. No violence. Suggest going to bed to watch.
andthatsthetruth February 14, 2013 at 06:06 AM
Oh BTW, sorry to add, it won't be but minutes at most!
Davidangelo43 February 14, 2013 at 01:07 PM
You yell at them for an hour and a half saying who cares about a big fly then finally the fourth time going in there room a bat flies by your head!! To this day she's got super vision. Can spot smallest bugs in room. What a trip. Good times!!!!

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