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How To Tackle Your Child's Nightmares And Night Terrors

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Each September I have an influx of parents calling my office, worried about their child's level of anxiety. Kids often find the transition to a new school year emotionally taxing. They need to navigate the challenges of a new teacher and often they'll have new classmates as well. Some even need to find their way around a new school. Many children also need to re-regulate their sleep after spending the summer staying up much later than usual. This combination of stress factors can lead children to have nightmares and even night terrors.

I am often asked why kids seem to have so many nightmares. It is more common for children and young people to have nightmares, because the psyche of a young person is not completely developed. When a new event is experienced, the child needs to process it and make sense of it. Much of this processing happens during our dreams. When a young person experiences a frightening or traumatic event, that event kind of bounces around in the psyche trying to be processed. And they can frightened by things you might not expect. It can be a simple as something they saw briefly on TV or on the playground. So what can you do?

It's important to distinguish between "night terrors" and........

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