What a Nightmare! Top tip for dealing with bad dreams

Last night I had a nightmare. I was in the final of Strictly Come Dancing (yes, of course I’m that good). For some reason we had drawn the short straw and instead of being in a glitzy ballroom we were in the school hall. Not only that, but the head judge was a sorcerer, whose modus operandi was to throw dirt in the loser’s face.

Now, 6 years of experience has taught me that the waking up of Mummy is only to be tackled after much consideration. So when I awoke, sweaty and indignant at the injustice of my subconscious ballroom failure, I weighed up the pros and cons and decided that yes, I would share my bad dreams with her. She allowed me the usual 10-minute snuggle and then sent me back to my own bed.

At that point I remembered why I don’t usually bother. I am well aware that several of my friends still run rings around their parents in the night-time antics department (and nightmares provide especially powerful leverage). No such luck with my Mum. Sleep – mine and hers – is her non-negotiable topic: you get enough, or you’re a pain the next day (and believe me, she really is)! I once spent 20 minutes in the middle of the night stomping around the house, railing against the fact that M&D had someone to cuddle all night, whilst I had to sleep alone. I even threatened to go into my baby brother’s room and wake him up. She didn’t bat an eyelid, just ignored me until I was too tired to be bothered any more and went back to bed. She claims it will stand me in good stead when I have my own kids. Little does she know if they behave like that I’m planning to get her round to babysit – that’ll teach her!

Mummy has a format for the avoidance of bad dreams. Whenever I go through a bad patch, she tells me that dreams are in my head and that I’m in charge of them. So whatever I dream about, I have to come up with a way to put myself back in control. For example, if I were being held captive by scary pirates, I would throw a pot of glue in their faces, followed by a bag of pink feathers. Blinded, and looking ridiculous, they would proceed to scarper all over the ship, tripping over the obstacles I put in their way. Eventually they would fall overboard leaving me alone on a ship full of cakes. Having agreed on this scenario, we then made a picture of it (funnily enough we had pink feathers in the sticking box – clever Mummy!). That dream never bothered me again.

So this morning I duly reported on my alternative version of the Strictly nightmare, wherein I switched the dirt for pink sweets. Much better result! Mummy then informed me that the Bug had also been up with bad dreams – something about a dog chasing him and trying to eat his spiderman top. I immediately got working on a solution for him, which I thought was pretty impressive. To make it better, we would wrap sellotape around the dog’s snout, and put a pink collar and a salsa dress on him (keeping to the theme of my own nocturnal adventure).

It turns out that Mummy, in her pre-dawn stupor, had mis-heard, and his assailant had actually been ‘a black hole inside a yellow thingy’. Well, terrifying though that may be, it made no sense whatsoever to me, so I tried to convince him that a dog in a salsa dress would be much easier to deal with. The Bug was quite insistent that it was a black hole, and nothing would persuade him otherwise. Disappointed that my dog-in-a-dance-dress masterpiece would never see the light of day, I took myself off to complain to Daddy. He too thought it would be unreasonable to manipulate the Bug’s reverie just to suit my own creative yearnings. What’s a novice dream therapist to do? It took a chocolate scone for breakfast before my lightbulb moment materialised. We would stuff the hole full of candy floss. Pink, of course.

Bad dreams are easily solved with a little pink

24 thoughts on “What a Nightmare! Top tip for dealing with bad dreams”

    • It’s amazing Niki! It really does work. We’ve put the ‘alternative dream outcome’ pictures up on her wall by the bed, and I’ve never had a come-back from a recurrent dream problem. New ones, yes, so we have to get creative every now and then. Maybe I should write a children’s book next!

    • It really does work! GG actually has ‘nightmares’ before she goes to sleep, we have realised. Just her working herself up in the dark. So thinking up an amusing outcome and putting it on paper really helps her to change her thoughts when she is up there stressing on her own 🙂

  1. What a fantastic post! and a great idea! my little one is a bit young to tell us about his nightmares at the moment (9 months) but I hope I remember your ideas when he is!!

    I have only just discovered your posts today but I will be subscribing to them from now on!!

    • Having to do another one tomorrow. The Bug is now scared of monsters hiding in all the dark places in his room – I feel a bit of a long slog coming on

  2. Creative therapy for nightmares? Brilliant! What a clever Mummy you have 😀 Definitely storing this one away for when little DD starts having bad dreams. Thanks for posting it!

  3. Fabulous first post and powerfully written.
    Must be terrible when your children have nightmares, I am not looking forward to that, but will always keep some candy floss handy … just in case x

  4. What a great idea to help kids get over their nightmares. Will definitely be using this tip next time my 4-year-old is being chased by daleks or cybermen (he insists on watching Doctor Who with his Dad!)

  5. A great post – I love Mums no nonsense attitude when it comes to sleep! Thanks for linking up to this weeks Parenting Pin it Party


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