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Hey all! Time for a little Thanksgiving break. I hope you all have a great rest of the week and weekend! Happy Thanksgiving!

Brinley Toddler Summary: 27.5 Months Old

This is a summary for Brinley from 27-27.5 months old.

Sleeping was great! This was during a time of the time change, and she did really well with it. She adjusted well and quickly.

Eating was good and normal. Her favorite food right now, hands down, is yogurt and granola. She totally loves it. The food throwing was really a non-issue during this time period.

Playing was good. She really was just all around pleasant during this time. 

Like I said above, the time change was during this time and she handled it really well. We weren't able to do any prep before. It gets hard to slowly transition when you have older kids who have certain schedules they adhere by (like school). She is a flexible person, though, and did great. 

We went to the dentist during this time and she did really well there. She has always handled the dentist well. I think kids can do well and then suddenly be scared, though, so I did some practice that morning. We talked about going and I pretended to be the dentist and she was the patient. She probably would have been fine, but I have had scared kids at the dentist and I wanted to do what I could to have the best experience possible. While there, there was a little girl about Brinley's age who was super scared and crying. Her mom said she was great last time, so she figured she would be fine again. It is always a good idea to mentally prepare children for things like this. Sometimes, they will still be scared with preparation, but most of the time, it helps immensely.

At the end of this period, we took a trip to California. We drove there. A lot of people who drive from Utah to California split it up and stay in St. George or Las Vegas overnight on the way, but we really didn't want four days of travel. So we decided to just drive straight through. It was a 12.5 hour drive. 

Brinley did awesome. The furthest she has gone is 3.5 hours, so this was a huge risk on our part. We had no idea how she would do. We ended up getting there at about 1 AM our time (midnight their time). Then we had to unload and get kids in beds. If I did it again, I would have had a little bag packed with their pjs and anything they needed that night so we could have just unpacked that one bag and put them to bed. 

Brinley did not sleep in the car at all the whole way there. It was no surprise--she has not slept in the car since she was a very young newborn. So she missed her nap AND didn't get to bed until close to 2 AM her time. Crazy. 

That night, she was super hot. It is always a good idea when traveling to bring pjs for cool nights and hot nights. You never know how it will be, and over the course of our trip, she had a lot of variety of nights. We were able to dress accordingly.

The next day, we went to the San Diego Zoo. It was a great activity to do after a long drive and super late night. She was very tired, but really enjoys animals and only had one meltdown, which I considered a win. We saw all but four animals and left two hours before they closed so we could get her down at a good time for bed. 

We stayed in a condo in Oceanside. When we got back, we went to the beach to check it out. She was very cautious. She finally got brave enough to go just outside of the reach of the waves. She played in the sand. Well, a wave snuck up eventually and washed over her. She held her ground and kept her wits about her and got out of the water, but she kept a much further distance from the edge of the water from that time forward.

The rest of the trip will be in her next summary :). The zoo day was her only bad day with a meltdown of any kind. Pretty amazing.


8:45 AM--Wake up/Breakfast
9:15 AM--Get ready
9:30 AM--Walk
10:30 AM--Outside Time
11:00 AM--Independent Playtime
12:15 PM--Lunch
12:45 PM--Learning Activity
1:00 PM--Sibling play with McKenna
1:30 PM--Nap
5:00 PM--Free Playtime
5:30 PM--Dinner
6:00 PM--Family Time
7:30 PM--Get Ready for Bed
8:00 PM--Bedtime


Sleep Deficit

I often talk about a sleep deficit when giving advice for sleeping. The idea of sleep deficit comes from the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child written by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.

What is a Sleep Deficit?
A sleep deficit is what happens when your child doesn't get enough sleep. Sleep deficits grow over time. Just like if you owe money and you are paying interest each month and the amount you owe grows, if your child continually gets less sleep than is ideal, the deficit grows.

A sleep deficit is when your child isn't getting enough sleep and the effects add up over time.

What happens if there is a sleep deficit?
When your child has a sleep deficit, your child is not getting enough sleep. If the sleep stays the same each day (or less), then the deficit will only grow. "...there is a progressive worsening in a child's mood and performance even when the amount of lost sleep each day or night is constant" (page 116). This is why when you make a change in sleep, it can take a couple of weeks before you see the negative effects from that sleep change. Any time you have a sleep problem, look at the last couple of weeks and consider what has changed.

"A constant small deficit in sleep produces a cumulative reduction in daytime alertness" (page 116).

If your child is not getting enough sleep, your child will become less alert, more grumpy, more needy, and have a harder time sleeping over time. Remember, sleep begets sleep. Overly tired children have a hard time sleeping. As Weissbluth says, it isn't logical but it is biological (see page 229). 

What does sleep deficit mean in real-life application?
A sleep deficit is something to watch out for when sleep changes ever. This is especially true when dropping naps. I see it most often when dropping the morning nap. That transition time is hard, and people sometimes move to just one nap a day sooner than is best for the child and things backfire.

Like Weissbluth says, sleep deficits accumulate over time. You might drop to one nap and have it be great for a few days, then things get a little muddled, and two weeks later you have a 16 month old taking a one hour nap total each day. If you have recently dropped a nap and your child starts to have napping problems, consider the possibility that your child is not getting enough sleep and a sleep deficit has grown.

Signs Your Child has a Sleep Deficit
  • Your child wakes up grumpy. "Upon awakening, well-rested children are in good cheer and are able to play by themselves" (page 116). Do note, however, that most newborns wake up crying. It takes several months before you can expect a baby to start waking up happy consistently--probably around 4-6 months old. 
  • Your child has a hard time falling asleep.
  • Your child takes short naps.
  • Your child wake early in the morning.
  • Your child's behavior is worsening.
What To Do If Your Child Has a Sleep Deficit
When you explain a situation to me and I say I think there is a sleep deficit going on, it means that I think it sounds like your child isn't getting enough sleep overall and is starting to have negative impact from the lack of sleep.

You need to figure out a way to get your child having more sleep in a 24 hour period. This means you need to figure out why your child isn't getting the sleep she needs. You might need to add in a nap. You might need to start the nap earlier in the day. You might need to have an earlier bedtime. You might even need more physical exercise and stimulation each day. Be sure to look through my Index of Sleep Problems for a lot of posts that will help you brainstorm.

Milkflow Herbal Supplement {Giveaway!}

Today's giveaway is super helpful for all of you breastfeeding/pumping moms. Milkflow is an herbal supplement that includes fenugreek and blessed thistle. It is supposed to taste like berries, which is a bonus! I haven't tried it since I am not breastfeeding right now. You just stir in a packet into water or juice and you are ready to go. These supplements are supposed to help boost milk supply. I know they have helped many moms stretch out the length of time they can breastfeed. You can check out the website for more info and testimonials. Enter to win your own below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway 

  • You must enter the giveaway to have an entry.
  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will disqualify your entry. Trust me, I check each winning entry to make sure it was valid.
  • Entries will be accepted until 12:00 midnight November 29, 2014.
  • The winner will be randomly selected through Rafflecopter.
  • The winner will be announced sometime after the winner is chosen. I will email the winner.
  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Be sure to check back and/or check your email. The only thing worse than not winning is to win but not realize it in time.
  • I will not use your email address for any purpose other than contacting you if you are the winner (and FYI, I don't have access to the email addresses except for the winner).
  • US Shipping Addresses only please.

Intentional Home Decorating to Teach Children

Today is BFBN Pinterest day. We thought it would be fun to talk about some of the intentional things we do in our homes to teach our children. I decided to talk about intentional home decorating.

For me, the most important thing I do in my home with the intention of teaching my children is to put at least one picture of Jesus Christ in each room. I am very intentional in my decorating and one thing I make sure to have in every room is a picture of Jesus Christ.I want Christ to be the center of our home. I believe it helps to have visual reminders in the home to go along with other teachings we do to teach our children of Christ. 

There are other things I do to be intentional about my decorating. For us, the LDS temple is a very important and symbolic structure. I have many pictures of temples in our home. I also have a picture of our family in every room. Family is another thing that is central to us and I like to show that it is prominent by what I focus on in decorating. 

Here are some examples photos we have of Jesus Christ:

I grouped this in Brayden's room with a sign about him being a child of God
and a photo of him and my husband together on his baptism day.

This is for me in my craft room. One of my favoite symbols of Christ is that of Him
as a shepherd. I have this woman at the well picture with my sheep and oil lamp (Parable of the 10 Virgins).

I have this one in our family room. I have the Proclamation to the World on the family
along with a family photo and a picture of Christ.

On our forward-facing bookshelf wall, I have a couple of pictures of Christ, a picture of
Christ and God the Father visiting Joseph Smith, and the first presidency of our church. I also
have photos of our children reading books.

This is in the girls room. I love these tender drawings of Jesus Christ with little ones. I have
these same pictures in Brinley's room.

Of course, it isn't enough to simply put pictures up in your home. Actions speak louder than words and much louder than pictures. The pictures serve as a visual reminder of teachings we focus on daily in our home. Example reigns supreme. I hope that as my children see these pictures, it will help them remember the things they have been taught. What would Jesus do?

I have some sayings on walls that I want to remind my children of important things.
I love our house rules. My children actually read this quite often.

I love having these "Be's" by the front door. They pass it each time they leave the house.
Be grateful, smart, clean, true, humble, prayerful, positive, involved, and still. Great reminders!

I also have a clock in each room. This stems from me wanting to know what time it is at all times. 

I also love to have mirrors in every room. I like mirrors because they make spaces seem larger than they are. They add light to the room and give it the illusion of being more open.

Be sure to check out the other blogs in the BFBN today to see what ideas they have for intentional home layout. 

Poll Discussion: Pacifiers

Today's poll is on something that people always have questions about: pacifiers. Here are the questions--if you don't have an answer for a question, just reply N/A:
  1. Did/does your child use a pacifier?
  2. What age did you start using a pacifier?
  3. Do you think the pacifier ever interfered with breastfeeding or bottle feeding?
  4. Do you think the pacifier ever interfered with sleep?
  5. If it did interfere with sleep, how did you solve that?
  6. Did you have any "rules" for pacifier use (for example, how often would you reinsert it, was it allowed out of the bed, etc.)? If so, what were they?
  7. At what age did you wean the pacifier?
  8. How did you wean the pacifier?
  9. How did your child handle weaning?
  10. Any pacifier tips?
  11. Would you use a pacifier again?
It makes it easiest for me if you copy the questions and then answer below the question. If you don't have an answer for a question, just reply N/A. Thank you!

Pizza Cutter Tip {Meal Time Life Hack}

I have to share a tip with you that if you don't know about it yet, will change your life at meals when you have small kids.

Use your pizza cutter.

Whenever possible, I use a pizza cutter instead of a knife. This is especially handy on something like pancakes. Anything you need to cut into bite size pieces for your children that a pizza cutter can get through, do it! Using a pizza cutter is so much faster than using the "old fashioned" knife and fork way. Give it a try!

Do you have any tips that make your life easier?

Quotable Mondays: Be Thankful for All Things


Today's quote is from Maya Angelou. She said:
"Be present in all things and thankful for all things."

I set out to find a quote that would stand as a "second witness" to the thought I shared a couple of weeks go on Being Thankful for Our Problems. I love the quote I found. I think she puts the two things together. I think when we try to focus only on the good things in life, we block out a huge portion of life. We aren't able to be present for it. How often to we bury our heads in the sand like an ostrich to protect our hearts from pain? Be present. And at the same time, be thankful. All things are life, and be thankful for it. 

On the same page I found the nice picture above, I found a great quote from Thessalonians. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18: In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

It doesn't say, be sure to give thanks for the good things. It says to give things in every thing.

No matter if you are facing the bitter or the sweet (and we pretty much face both every day, right?),  say thank you. Grow from both facets of life. 

So remember to be thankful. In all things.  

Kismet Love Collection Nursing Scarf {Giveaway!}

Today's giveaway is really a cool product for breastfeeding from Kisment Love Collection. This is for a scarf that doubles as a nursing cover! How great is that?!? I love the idea becuase it is also something you can use when you are done breastfeeding just as a scarf. We buy so much stuff for our children that we only use for a year or two--it is nice to get some extra use out of it! Kisment Love Collection  has a ton of cute fabric patterns for you to choose among. Today you are entring to win a $25 credit to their store so you can buy exactly what you want. Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • You must enter the giveaway to have an entry.
  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will disqualify your entry. Trust me, I check each winning entry to make sure it was valid.
  • Entries will be accepted until 12:00 midnight November 22, 2014.
  • The winner will be randomly selected through Rafflecopter.
  • The winner will be announced sometime after the winner is chosen. I will email the winner.
  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Be sure to check back and/or check your email. The only thing worse than not winning is to win but not realize it in time.
  • I will not use your email address for any purpose other than contacting you if you are the winner (and FYI, I don't have access to the email addresses except for the winner).

Preparing Children for New Baby {Guest Post}

You can check me out today over at where I am talking about our STTN stories for all four kids. Today's post here is from Emily.

by Emily Parker

As a parent a big reason many of us choose to have multiple children is because we want our children to have the bond that siblings create. However, once we actually become pregnant with that sibling...we start to worry. Will the older child be jealous of the new baby? Resent the new baby? Will I be able to give enough attention to them all? Is it fair to the older children to have to share me? Is it fair to the baby that I won't be able to give them all my time and attention because I have an older child to care for too?

Here are some tips I have for preparing older children for a new sibling:
1. Perspective: More than anything else I think MY perspective makes the biggest impact on how our new baby will be received and viewed by siblings. Stop worrying about the concerns a new baby could bring and instead focus on the blessings of it. It's a blessing that the older children will learn to share. That they won't be spoiled and will have to learn patience when you are tending to the new baby. Don't allow yourself to feel guilty. Yes, it'll be an adjustment for the children but soon having the baby in the family will be their normal and they, most likely, won't even remember life without the baby in it!

2. Anticipation: You are pregnant for ten months. 10 long months. That's a long time to be able to get your older children pumped up for a new sibling. In our home we talk about the future a lot and it's fun to build excitement for upcoming events. We talk about our next Disney trip months before it actually arrives. The anticipation is half the fun! The same thing works with a new sibling. It's an exciting time so talk about it! Build that excitement for your children! My kids were PUMPED for the baby to come and I think those last days of waiting to go into labor were probably more difficult for my son than for me because he was SO ready to meet his new sibling.

3. Preparation: Just as you talk to build anticipation and excitement, talking about the baby often is also a chance to prepare the older kids. Before our new baby was born even my two year old could tell you that babies can't eat pizza ;) She could tell you that babies will cry a lot and that Mommy will need her to be a helper. Changes WILL be happening in your home when a new baby arrives, by discussing the changes with the other children it helps prepare them for what is to come. When they know what to expect it will make the transition easier for them and more enjoyable for you!

4. Responsibilities: Children love to have a "job." It helps them to feel important and valued! Find some sort of task your child can have when the baby comes. When I am pregnant we don't find out the sex of the baby nor do we tell baby names. With our most recent addition we had our two year old tell everyone the sex of the baby after she was born and had our five year old announce the name of the baby. Both kids knew they'd have this special job and it made them SO excited for the baby to be born. They took pride in getting to make such a big announcement and talked about it daily. You can also have your older children help prepare your home for the baby. Both of our kids "helped" put together furniture in the nursery and it made them more excited for their new sibling to come home and see their hard work. 

5. Books: We read a lot as a family so a wonderful way to prepare for the new baby is by reading lots and lots of books about it! I love how books focus on the role of a big sibling and help the older kids see the responsibilities they will have as a big brother or big sister. Some of the books we own and enjoy are:
6. Reward: I'm not big on gift giving with my children at times other than birthdays or Christmas, however I think it's important for the new big sibling to have something special. During a time when so much attention will be on the new baby, it's nice for them to be given a small gift to remind them that they are still super special and important! For our most recent baby I put together a bag for each older child with small toys and things I knew they'd enjoy and that I knew would entertain them during the early newborn stage when I'd be too tired and too busy nursing to provide much entertainment ;) You can see what I included in the bags here!

7. Praise: Each child is different and special and you love them all equally but in different ways. Point out what makes them special and unique and why they will always be super special to you. I now have two daughters so I always tell my son that he's my favorite little boy in the world and that he'll always be special to me because he made me a mommy. With my older daughter I always tell her how special she is to me because she was my first daughter and how I always wanted a little girl and how thankful I am to have her. I make an effort to tell them these things daily. When I tuck them into bed at night I make sure I whisper sweet things to them as I want them falling asleep at night feeling loved and wanted and appreciated. Praise them for being helpers, for being quiet when baby is nursing, for doing something thoughtful without being asked, for obeying, for just being them!
Adding a new baby to the family is a big adjustment for everyone! It can take awhile before life adjusts and that's okay. By helping prepare the older children for their new sibling you can make the transition easier on everyone and a happy experience!

Emily blogs at

Related Posts/Blog Labels:

Sleep Totals for 12-15 Months Old

These are the results for the poll on sleep totals for children ages 12-15 months old. See this post for original comments.

1-What was your child's optimal waketime length for 12-15 months old?
1.5 in morning: 1
2 in morning: 7
2.5 in morning: 2
2 afternoon: 3
2.5 afternoon: 2
3-3.5 after nap: 5

4.5: 2
5 Hours: 3

2-What time was your child's morning waketime (what time did he/she get up) at 12-15 months?
6:00 AM: 1
6:30 AM: 3
7:00 AM: 5
7:30 AM: 2
8:00 AM: 2
8:30 AM: 2
3-What time was your child's bedtime at 12-15 months?
6:30: 1
7:00 PM: 3
7:30 PM: 6
7:45 PM: 3
8-8:30 PM: 2
4-How many hours did your child usually sleep at night at 12-15 months?
10-10.5 Hours: 2
10-12 depending on number of naps: 111.5 Hours: 3
12-13.5 Hours: 9
5-How many naps did your child take a day at 12-15 months?
1: 5
2: 8
2 then 1: 2
6-How long was each nap usually at 12-15 months?
1.5 hours: 2
2 Hours: 5
2-3 Hours: 7
7-Looking at all of the sleep as a whole, do you think your child was getting the sleep that was ideal for your child at that age range?
Yes: 14
Unsure: 1

8-Other comments if desired.

Thanks to your advice on your blog our son has grown to understand that bedtime is bedtime. We haven't fought him going to bed since he was a tiny few month old (he is now 15 months). His morning nap can be hit or miss, but he loves his afternoon nap now, too.

Brinley Toddler Summary: 27 Months Old

Anna and her little Olaf
This is a summary for Brinley from 26.5 months to 27 months old.

Sleeping was great and normal. We have been keeping her warm enough in her PJs at night for the cold weather. 

Eating continued on as usual. She is improving on the throwing food. The hands up in the air helps. She has kind of moved on to squishing food when she is done. She has always loved to get her hands messy and dirty. I am trying to give her substitution for this sensory experience--playing with playdough and other sensory things. I need to get more on that. I, myself, do not love my hands dirty, so it is a hard thing for me to wrap my brain around.

Playing was good other than the fact that she got a cold and was pretty grumpy for the first couple of days. She was more prone to do what she shouldn't do and just seemed to want to irritate people.

This really made me reflect on when McKenna was this age. She was always testing boundaries it seemed and loved to get a rise out of people. She also always had double ear infections. Always. It wasn't until we got tubes in her that she got a lot better. I just feel bad for her that she was in enough pain that much for it to impact her personality like that for months. 

One day, our power was out for scheduled maintenance. It was out right when it was time for her IPT in the morning. Her room at that time of day doesn't have a ton of natural light coming in. Kaitlyn and McKenna's room, however, does. So we went for it in that room. She did quite well! She spent the first 30 minutes as good as can be, then she started opening and closing the door over and over, then she finally came out. I had to tell her to go back. I thought it was pretty good for being in a different place. 

Like I said, she got a cold. I have noticed in myself, the pain of the cold is really the worst right before and then the first day or two of the cold. I don't like taking medication, so for years I would hold off in case the pain and pressure got worse, because colds last a long time. Once I noticed the pattern, however, I started allowing myself to take medicine for the first two days, and it really makes it so much more pleasant! All I need is the two days and then I can handle it. So since she was grumpy, I gave her some pain killer for two days (since decongestants aren't available for her age...I think? Is she old enough now?).

During this time, we removed her rocking chair from her room and added in a doll house that was in Kaitlyn and McKenna's room. She loves that doll house and was really the only one who played with it, so it just made sense for her to have it in her room. She loves her new setup! I think she feels more like a big girl.  

This has been a new, frequent question from her lips lately. Many times when she is told no, she will respond, "Why?" or "Why not?" Funniness. 

Brinley had a lot of fun at Halloween. She of course loved going to the neighbors' houses and getting candy. She walked most of the way. She loved dressing up in her Anna costume (yes, we joined the ranks and did Frozen this year). 

Brinley really wants to be a big kid. She wants to be treated like a big kid. She wants to do all they do.


8:45 AM--Wake up/Breakfast
9:15 AM--Get ready
9:30 AM--Walk
10:30 AM--Outside Time
11:00 AM--Independent Playtime
12:15 PM--Lunch
12:45 PM--Learning Activity
1:00 PM--Sibling play with McKenna
1:30 PM--Nap
5:00 PM--Free Playtime
5:30 PM--Dinner
6:00 PM--Family Time
7:30 PM--Get Ready for Bed
8:00 PM--Bedtime

Colic: Reasonable Sleep Expectations

image source
If your baby has colic, you are faced with much difficulty for sleeping (among other things).

Know the Newborn Sleep Hierarchy and Apply It
Here is the link:

Believe it.

Apply it.

Do What it Takes to Get Baby Asleep
You have read the hierarchy. So now you know, the most important thing is that your baby sleeps when he should. This might very well be the only part of this list of goals that you can follow. And if your baby fights sleep like David fought Goliath, don't stress it. Do what you can, but you can't force a baby to sleep. Each baby is an individual. Find what works best for your baby to get sleep. Do you need a swing? Go for it. Do you need to sit and bounce your baby? That is fine. Do you need to offer a pacifier? No problem. Do you need to carry your baby in a front carrier? Then do so. 

Worry About Sleep Training When Colic is Over
Yes, I know, you want to start as you mean to go on. You are stressed out that these props needed to get your baby to sleep are going to ruin him forever.

They won't.

Once colic is done, over, and behind you, you can worry about teaching your baby to sleep on his own. Before that, don't stress. Colic is like your baby having a personality swap with some crazy thing. What your baby does to fall asleep during colic will not ruin your baby forever. 

That is it. As hard as it is, your primary expectation for sleep is to work on having baby sleep when he should. Do not stress yourself beyond that goal. You have enough to worry about.

Learn What Reasonable is For Your Baby
You can definitely get some great insight from parents who have been there and done that, but you will have to tailor your expectations to your child. Figure out what "reasonable" is for your baby.  Go with that and don't feel guilty about it.

Related Posts/Blog Labels:

Simple Wishes B3 All-in-One Bra {Giveaway}

Today's giveaway is for a product I cannot try out myself. But it looks awesome and I wanted to give you all the chance to win one!

The giveaway is for a B3 All-in-One Bra from Simple Wishes. With this bra, moms can breastfeed, pump, or do both simultaneously. For nursing moms, the bra is designed to allow as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. It also is strong enough to support flanges during hands-free pumping (which I think is awesome for poor moms who are pumping all day!). You can even breastfeed one side while pumping the other. The bra is compatible with all pumps on the market. Enter to win yours below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • You must enter the giveaway to have an entry.
  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will disqualify your entry. Trust me, I check each winning entry to make sure it was valid.
  • Entries will be accepted until 12:00 midnight November 14, 2014.
  • The winner will be randomly selected through Rafflecopter.
  • The winner will be announced sometime after the winner is chosen. I will email the winner.
  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Be sure to check back and/or check your email. The only thing worse than not winning is to win but not realize it in time.
  • I will not use your email address for any purpose other than contacting you if you are the winner (and FYI, I don't have access to the email addresses except for the winner).
  • US Shipping addresses only.

NIGHTMARES IN KIDS: Causes and Solutions {Guest Post}

Holly Easterby adores her family and wants to help fellow moms like her take care of this treasure. This is what she loves to write about on blogs like Bonza Brats. In this article, she explains the causes of kids’ nightmares and what to do about them.

Babies have dreams, both good and bad ones. While most of them may have a few bad dreams, these nightmares seem to happen more during their preschool years. At this point in the life of a parent, it might help to learn more about the causes of kids having nightmares and how to deal with them.

When Nightmares Happen

Nightmares usually happen at that certain point in your sleep when the brain is at the peak of its activity, when it is going through the day’s experiences and new learning and memories. This is also the time when the images captured during the day remain vivid enough that they might feel real and trigger certain emotions.

This is called the REM (rapid eye movement) stage, which manifest in the rapid movement of the eyes under the eyelids. Nightmares usually occur during the second portion of your sleep because it’s when REM intervals are stretched out than the previous periods.

In the case of kids having nightmares, the images tend to stay longer and more alive in their minds, hence the need to feel comforted.

When they are in preschool, you can explain to them that nightmares aren't real and that whatever happened to them in there won’t hurt them. But one thing you need to remember when dealing kids with nightmares is that knowing this fact isn't enough to stop them from being scared. Older kids may even feel scared, too.

What Causes Nightmares

No studies have firmly established the cause of nightmare in kids. But as observed, extreme tiredness, not enough sleep, stress or anxiety, and irregular sleeping habits may lead to experiencing nightmares.

Nightmares, like dreams, may be one of the ways kids deal with different feelings and thoughts about their experiences and worries.

They may happen for no apparent reason. But for some, they could be troubling kids who are dealing with unsettling situations, such as moving, family problems, going to a new school, or welcoming a new member of the family. Their confused emotions over these things may manifest in their dreams.
In some cases, the cause of nightmare in kids is trauma. It could be an accident, injury, or natural disaster. Having a creative imagination doesn't help these cases either, as the scary movies, books, or TV shows the kids watch may trouble their dreams, causing nightmares.

Kids at a certain age often share a single theme in their dreams, depending on what they are struggling with at their age. It could be about separation anxiety, independence, or aggression. These emotions translate to the characters often recurring in their nightmares, such as bad guys, monsters, imaginary creatures, animals, or even familiar faces, events, and places.

There are also kids who end up with nightmares due to psychological and genetic factors. According to a study, about 7% of kids with nightmares have family members who are also troubled with nightmares. This is also a common occurrence among kids who are dealing with depression, mental retardation, and other conditions that involve the brain.

How to Comfort a Child after a Nightmare

As a parent, you have to adapt to dealing kids with nightmares. Help your child calm down and make him feel safe in your arms after waking up. You have to boost your child’s sense of security after a nightmare.

Give more reassurance to your child by showing him that he only had a nightmare, but he’s awake now and everything is going to be fine. It’s important to make him feel that what he dreamt about won’t happen in real life.

Show your child that you understand what he went through. Tell him that everyone has nightmares and that it’s normal for people with bad dreams to feel scared.

To further assure your child that the monsters or any of the bad guys in his dream have disappeared, check under his bed. Open his closet. Go to the bathroom. Show him that the coast is clear and that he has nothing to be afraid of anymore.

It might help if you install a nightlight in your kids’ room to counteract his fear of the dark.
Lull your kid back to sleep. You could cover him with a warm blanket, let him hug his favorite toy, turn soft music on, or switch the nightlight on. You may also want to tell him about pleasant dreams to motivate him to go to sleep and distract him from his nightmare. Make sure to kiss him good night once more.

The most important thing for a parent to do when dealing kids with nightmares is to listen. Let him get over his fears by talking about it. They might even want to draw it to full express themselves and to help them feel like those monsters at night are powerless in the daylight.

How to Prevent Nightmares

A child’s active imagination may be partly responsible for these nightmares. Don’t feed it, so stop your child from watching scary TV shows or movies or reading frightening books. Ask him about how his day was and if anything stressful has happened to him, which might trigger a nightmare. Help your child develop a healthy sleeping habit. Be more sensitive to your child if there are major changes in your life, such as moving house, getting into a new school, or welcoming a new sibling. If recurring nightmares happen, let your child express it by talking, writing, drawing or acting. This might help them feel braver about conquering their fears. If nightmares have become one of your kids’ persistent sleep problems, it might be best to consult a doctor about it.

Author: Holly Easterby

Holly's love for children has seen her featured in many education and children websites, whether talking about healthy snacks, motivating students or children's fashion at Bonza Brats. Holly loves reading books, and shopping is her way of spending time with her young family. If you would like to catch her, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @HollyEasterby