Mommy, I had a bad dream!

The last two nights, I have been awoken in the night by the small voice of my nine-year old daughter saying, “Mommy, I had a bad dream.” The first night, I asked her what the dream was about. She said it was like a movie and that one animal was drinking the blood of another animal. I don’t know about you, but that would freak me the heck out!

Last night, the little voice was back. She crawled in my bed and fell asleep without telling me what the nightmare was about. Just an hour or so later, I heard my kindergartener get out of bed. He too had a bad dream. He didn’t tell me what his was about.

We talked about our dreamcatcher. We’ve had dreamcatchers as long as I can remember. My daughter went through an ordeal a few years ago and was not sleeping. The dreamcatcher was one of my many tools that helped get her to sleep.

The dreamcatcher comes from a Chippewa legend about a spider who spun a web that let only good dreams in and snagged bad dreams. This morning, my kids and I talked about making sure our dreamcatcher wasn’t full of bad dreams. Maybe we need to take out all the bad ones, so they don’t clog up the webs and block the good dreams from getting through.

I remember having some terrifying dreams as a child. In fact, I’m known among my friends as having really bizarre dreams to this day. (I write a blog about dreams, too, though I’m really bad at keeping up with it!) Dreams can be scary!

What do you tell your kids to put them at ease when they have a bad dream?

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joy Wilfong
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 15:41:11

    I spent time, 6-8 years old, on a reservation in Arizona. One of my mothers was a teacher. Grammy Twana taught me how to “read” dreams. I was not bothered after that, because some of those “bad” dreams are very helpful.

    Also, dream catchers are suppose to be “cleansed” by the NEW moon. The night of the last sliver of “moon” the dream catcher is moved slowly over the head, first right hand/arm, then the left hand/arm. When the moon “disappears” it takes those bad dreams (the ones you can’t “read”) and sends them back with luck… training the brains of little ones is much easier than trying to “help” a teenager! I raised six boys, alone, as a single WORKING mom… I used ANY and ALL advice from five moms and three dads.


  2. Erin
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 16:30:19

    My six year old son all the sudden started having these really strange dreams, and being afraid of shadows and the dark, we talked with him about it, and told him to sleep with his Bible under his pillow, he hasn’t had a bad dream since.


  3. kalleyc
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 06:19:24

    My daughter also gets bad dreams every now and then. Since she still cosleeps with me she’s not that bad, but we keep a flash light in our room so that she can see that shadows are nothing to be afraid of.

    Also we play “tent” a lot in a dark room and use her flash light. She hasn’t had a bad dream in a long time. But sometimes I think that’s because she knows I’m nearby.


    • Mom Land
      Jan 15, 2012 @ 11:10:21

      Kalley, empowering your daughter so she can help herself is great! Then she knows that if you’re not around she is still safe.

      Sent from my MOTOROLA ATRIX™ 2 on AT&T


  4. Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D.
    Feb 17, 2012 @ 08:58:45

    I am an experienced child therapist and came across your discussion about nightmares and bad dreams. In my experience, once children calm down from the bad dream, parents can help by explaining that “dreams are stories we tell ourselves for a reason — we just have to understand the reason.” Then parents can think with them about upsetting events that occurred the previous day that might have caused the bad dream. Typical experiences that can cause bad dreams are: fights with siblings or friends; getting in trouble at home or school; losing something important; being ill and having to stay home, etc. To facilitate this process of helping children understand their bad dreams, I have written a children’s book coming out in April of 2012 entitled “Mommy, Daddy, I Had a Bad Dream!” for ages three and up (


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