Hannah had me up at 4am, she had a nightmare.
Thinking back, it was her first real nightmare, not that she has never had one, but I guess they were more of bad dreams that didn't really effect her. Last night was different, she was terrified and refuses to go to school this morning.
She said her dream was about Halloween and she never saw her mommy and daddy again. She said she's afraid to leave me today.
She's not an irrational child. She's actually a very rational child that easily differentiates between fantasy and reality. Last night she didn't seem to be able to do that.
Hannah is intelligent, I'm not just saying that because she's my child, she really is and she's in Gifted and Talented and Dual Language classes. She's 7. So I explained to her what a dream was. Ironically enough I just studied this for a class a couple of weeks ago. The latest research indicates that our brains are processing our daily activities in bits and pieces to our long term memory and that is why we dream, however when processing into long term memory, our brains can't take just bits and pieces and in order for it to be understood, our brains make up random story lines... these are our dreams. We also never remember a dream unless we wake up during it. I explained all of this to her. But she didn't care and wasn't having any of it. This morning she's actually laughing with her brother, but she said to me "Remember mom, I can't leave you today"... I don't have work or school today. Thank goodness, but even if I did, being a mother comes first, as she's not always going to be 7.
What do you do when your child has a nightmare? They feel so real, we all know that, and they are a normal part of life, but how do we make our children realize... they are just dreams?