Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nine Rules for Helping Kids with Dreams


When a child wants to tell a dream, make room for that. Make some daily space for dream sharing. Listen to the stories and cherish them for their own sake. 

#2. Invite good dreams 

Pick the right bedtime reading or better still, tell stories. Help your child to weave a web of good dream intentions for the night — for example, by asking “What would you most like to do tonight?”
     Encourage children to sleep with a favorite stuffed animal (whether teddy bear or T-Rex) and make this a dream guardian.

#3. Provide immediate help with the scary stuff

If your child was scared by something in the night, recognize you are the ally the child needs right now. Do something right away to move out that negative energy. Get a frightened child to spit it out (literally) or draw a picture of what scared her and tear it up as violently as possible. When appropriate, try a Riddikulus spell, as in Harry Potter.

#4. Ask good questions

When a child has told a dream story, ask good questions. Ask about feelings, about the color of the sky, and about

exactly what T-Rex was doing. See if there's something about the future. Say what you would think about this if this were your dream. Always come up with something fun or helpful to do with this story. Open up the crayon box, call grandma, etc. 

#5. Help the child to keep a dream journal

Get this started as early as possible. With a very young child, you can help with the words while they do the pictures. When your child reaches the point where she closes the journal and says, “This is my secret book and you can't read it any more” do not peek. Give her privacy, and let her choose when she'll let you look in that magic book. 

#6 Provide tools for creative expression

Encourage the child to bring dreams come alive through art, dance, theater and games, and to draw or paint dreams. Gather friends and family for dream-inspired games and performance. Puppets and stuffed animals can be great for acting out dreams. This can also be dress-up time. It's such a release for kids to portray mom or dad or other grown-ups in their lives — be ready to be shocked! 

#7. Help construct effective action plans

Dreams can show us things that require further action — for example, to avoid an unhappy future event that was previewed in the dream, or to put something right in a family situation. A child will probably need adult help with such things, starting with your help. This will require you to learn more about the techniques of Active Dreaming.

# 8. Let your own inner child out to play

As you listen to children's dreams, let the wonderful child dreamer inside you come out and join in the play. 


When you get the hang of this, you'll find it's about the best home entertainment you can enjoy. 

There is one thing more. It's not on this list, but it would be at the very top of a list of what not to do with a child’s dreams.

Never say to a child “It's only a dream”. 

Children know that dreams are for real and that scary stuff that comes out in dreams needs to be resolved, not dismissed.

Text adapted from Robert Moss, Active Dreaming. Published by New World Library. All rights reserved. 

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