View trusted insights from KidsHealth.org, the No. 1 most-viewed health site for children, created by the experts at Nemours.
From Nemours' KidsHealth
- Apnea of Prematurity
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Enlarged Adenoids
- Sleep and Newborns
- Sleep and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old
- What Causes Night Terrors?
- Should I Be Worried About My Child's Nightmares?
- Sleep and Your Preschooler
- Sleep and Your 1- to 2-Year-Old
- Sleep and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old
- Sleep and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old
- Bruxism (Teeth Grinding or Clenching)
- Sleep Problems in Teens
- All About Sleep
- Night Terrors
Should I Be Worried About My Child's Nightmares?
My daughter has nightmares that sometimes wake her up. Should I be worried?
Nightmares are pretty common in childhood, especially in kids younger than 10. Aside from making for a restless night's sleep for everyone involved, the occasional nightmare is generally not a cause for concern.
There's no proven way to prevent the occasional nightmare, but you might try having your daughter avoid scary books, movies, and video games before sleep. Having a happy, peaceful bedtime routine also can help. Using a nightlight, sleeping with the bedroom door open, and having a security item (like a favorite blanket or stuffed animal) can help kids feel safer. Some kids even like to keep a flashlight next to their bed.
Recurring nightmares may signal fear or anxiety worth exploring through discussions with your child or with the help of your doctor or a behavioral health professional. If you're concerned about the nightmares, your child has them often, or she seems afraid during the day, talk to her doctor.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: August 11, 2016