When your child is a baby, they cannot communicate things as an adult would. Whatever happens within their head is a mystery that you can hardly understand. However, once your baby grows and becomes a toddler, you start getting a glimpse of what’s going through their mind. Nevertheless, as a parent, have you thought about what toddlers dream about? For most parents, that has never crossed their minds.
As little as your child can be, they can talk your ear off, ask questions beyond asking, and tell you incredible stories. Something these stories are mere descriptions of their dreams. Most toddlers sleep approximately 10 -14 hours per day. This sleep hour includes naps that can last between one to three hours. It’s at the toddler age that your kids begin dreaming.
Toddlers Dream before Words
Different studies have shown that toddlers can have active dreaming because of rapid eye movement. The fast eye movement stage is when your child’s body is related while their brain is active. Doctors have associated this stage with dreaming in toddlers.
Nevertheless, neuroscientists believe the child must develop the capacity to imagine things within their environment for toddlers to dream. In other words, your child should have the ability to construct visuals for them to experience any dream. However, it is only when your child starts talking you can understand what dream they had. They have to put words to imitate what they saw in their dreams.
How to help your Toddler develop their dreaming
It’s hard to tell what your toddler is dreaming about when they can’t communicate it. In several ways, dreams are very important and accurate as you recollect things that happen in your life. There is nothing like a dream template; therefore, each toddler might not get the same dream.
Since experience shapes a lot of things in their growing period, you can use books. According to research, kids from 2 years can start talking about their dreams, seeing themselves sleeping close to a dog, running, or eating. However, as time goes by, their dreams become complex with social understanding. Additionally, dreams, where they observe a scene without them being present, become very common.
Can a toddler experience terrible dreams?
Your child can have bad dreams like an adult. Most times, these dreams relate to their personal experience of things that happened during the day. Some parents think that nightmares and night terrors are the same. These are two different things – nightmares are upsetting dreams that occur during rapid eye movement sleep.
However, night terrors take place during the transition from stage 4 to rapid eye movement sleep. It doesn’t matter if the eyes are open. In most situations, the child won’t recollect what happened. While night terrors can happen at any age, toddlers suffer from them frequently. Recent studies show that about 15% of toddlers report experiencing at least one terror night. According to scientists, night terrors result from over-arousal of the central nervous system that controls brain activity. Unlike an adult, most toddlers tend to outgrow them as their brain matures.
How to Help out your toddlers
You don’t have to fret and feel night terrors are dangerous. While the reason for night terrors hasn’t been concluded, scientists attribute them to brain chemistry. As a parent, this can send different signals. However, how can you help your toddler when they experience such a situation? Here are a few things you can do for your toddler.
- Keep first before you take care of your toddler. A reassuring voice would go a long way to help when you find your kid in this situation.
- Ensure you reduce anything that would cause stress in them. Avoid exposure to loud parental voices and emotional stressors.
- Don’t allow them to overplay because that can make them vulnerable to night terrors. Therefore, create a bedtime routine and ensure they get adequate sleep. An easier way to move their bedtime closer every night. It will allow your child to sleep earlier and reduce the likelihood of over-arousal.
- When you find your toddler struggling while sleeping, don’t rush to wake them up. You will disorient them or make them get temporary amnesia. In such a situation, allow them to wake up on their own.
- Remember, fever can cause night terrors. So, if your child has a fever, ensure to consult your doctor.
Advice for Parents
While toddlers tend to dream when they sleep, their dreams are filled with what they are experiencing, scary stuff, or nightmares. It is your duty as a parent to reassure your toddler whenever they wake from a scary dream. Toddlers can have an interesting and creative dream during the day as well as nightmares at night. Reassuring them builds their confidence and allows them to sleep comfortably next time.
Your toddler speech might be jumbled, disjointed, and hard to understand; nevertheless, it is essential to create space for them to talk about what they dream about to help their development process. Switch off the television or any electronic gadget that can cause distraction. Doing this will help your child communicate their experience when they wake up.
In addition, if your toddler hardly talks or communicate, you can use role-playing dolls to initiate conversation. Another way is to use drawing and pictures to ask questions or express what they dream about.
You don’t have to border or keep thinking about what kind of dreams your babies dream because there is no vivid dream within their age. However, once your child gets to two years, their brain starts developing, and they begin having dreams and nightmares, as the case might be. Over time, their brain can retain the memory of their dream, and they can tell you what they dreamt about.
Every child must go through the stage of building information about their environment. Significantly, experiencing quality sleep at this stage of your child’s life cannot be overstated. Ensure you build a routine for them to sleep early as their brain develop properly, pending when they can visually relate to their dreams.