My Preschooler Has Nightmares
Help! My 3 1/2 year old son has begun having nightmares, and I really and truly don’t know what to do about it. Sleep disruptions are the worst when they crop up anew. I know this well. My daughter was a terrible sleeper until she was about 3. For all those long years, I thought I’d never get a full night’s rest. But once she got into a good rhythm, a single night of interrupted sleep (because she was sick, or wet the bed, etc.), felt 1000 times worse than years of constant exhaustion. It’s all a matter of what you’ve gotten used to. Well, I’ve been used to years of two children reliably sleeping through the night. I know that makes me fortunate. But I don’t feel so fortunate these day, because my son has woken up several nights in a row with nightmares. To be clear, these are definitely NOT night terrors. He just wakes up crying with very 3-year-old type bad dreams, and doesn’t want to go back to bed…unless it’s in our bed…and that doesn’t work well for anyone.
I feel so bad for the poor little guy. Two or three nights in a row of bad dreams and now he doesn’t want to go to sleep. He doesn’t want to stay asleep. He doesn’t want to be alone. And if I thought that all would be well if I just slept in his bed with him – whether that was for an hour or all night long – I would do it (for a limited time). But the fact is, he doesn’t sleep well with company in his bed, and he never has. And the thing that comforted him one night (a broken musical cow), had zero impact the second night it happened. And on the third night, my husband seemed to bribe him back to sleep with the promise of taking a special toy to school the next day, but that just left me wondering if my son was faking it all along, or left quivering alone in room just so he could take his Paw Patrol toys to preschool.
So now I’m at a loss. I can’t quite think about it straight because, of course, I’m sleep deprived, and I can’t seem to come up with a workable solution. And maybe I should not stress about it because I know this too will pass, but if you’ve had any experience with this, I sure would appreciate your thoughts.