What Do Toddlers Dream About?

toddler sleeping with arms in the air

When your child is a baby, they cannot communicate things as an adult would.

Whatever happens within that little 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 his mind.

As a parent, have you ever asked yourself what toddlers dream about? For most parents, that idea has never crossed their minds.

As little as your children can be, they can talk your ear off, ask questions, and tell you incredible stories. Some of these stories are mere descriptions of their dreams.

Most toddlers sleep approximately 12 – 14 hours per day. These sleep hours include naps that can last between one to three hours.

With that in mind, they must have regular dreams, right?

First dreams, then words

toddler sleeping with teddy

Different studies have shown that toddlers can have active dreaming thanks to rapid eye movement studies. The fast eye movement stage is when your child’s body rests while his brain remains active. This is when your toddler is dreaming.

Neuroscientists believe the child must develop the capacity to imagine things within their environment for them to dream.

In other words, your child should have the ability to construct visuals for himself to experience any dream. However, it is only when your child starts talking you can understand what dream they had.

They have to put in words what they saw in their dreams.

How to help your toddler develop his dreams

lady in a box with balloons holding her in the air

It’s hard to tell what your toddler is dreaming about when he can’t communicate it. In several ways, dreams are essential 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 starting from 2 years of age 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 accompanied by some social understanding. Additionally, dreams, where they observe a scene without them being present, become very common.

Can a toddler experience terrible dreams?

scary hands bad dream

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 occur during the first third of sleep, where you are at your deepest 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 quite frequently.

Recent studies show that about 30% of children experience at least one night-terror. According to scientists, night terrors result from over-arousal of the central nervous system that controls brain activity.

Unlike adults, most toddlers tend to outgrow them as their brain matures.

You don’t have to fret, night terrors are not dangerous. While the reason for night terrors hasn’t been concluded, scientists attribute them to brain chemistry, tiredness, and other things.

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.

  • Stay calm while taking care of your toddler. A reassuring voice would go a long way to help when you find your kid in this situation. Help your child through it without waking them up.
  • Ensure you reduce anything that would cause stress. Avoid exposure to loud parental voices and emotional stressors.
  • Please 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 easy way is to set their bedtime earlier 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.

Reassure your toddlers

While toddlers tend to dream when they sleep, their dreams are filled with what they are experiencing, which can sometimes be scary. It is your duty as a parent to reassure your toddler whenever they wake from a scary dream.

Toddlers can have interesting and creative dreams 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 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 children communicate their experiences when they wake up.

In addition, if your toddler hardly talks or communicates, you can use role-playing dolls to initiate a conversation.

Another way is to use drawing and pictures to ask questions or express what they dream about.

Conclusion

I am sure babies dream, but as they get older, dreams reflect more what is happening in reality. When they get to the toddler years, dreams go from fun to bizarre, to terrifying. It’s all part of growing up.

However, once your child turns two, this brain starts developing, and he begins having dreams and nightmares, as the case might be.

Over time, his brain can retain the memory of his dream, and he can tell you exactly what he dreamt about.

Every child must go through the stage of building an informative base related to their environment.

Significantly, experiencing quality sleep at this stage of your child’s life cannot be overstated.

Ensure you create a proper routine for your child so that this brain develops appropriately.

What does your toddler dream about? Ask them, and let me know!

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