Dr. Benjamin Chan talks about what parents can do to help their child cope with nightmares, and when nightmares might be a concerning issue.">

Oct 20, 2017 — It is very normal for your child to experience nightmares. But as a parent, you'll probably still want to make sure they're feeling okay. On today's Health Minute, child psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Chan talks about what parents can do to help their child cope with nightmares, and when nightmares might be a concerning issue.

Interview

Announcer: The Health Minute, produced by University of Utah Health.

Interviewer: Your child is having nightmares, child psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Chan, first of all is that pretty normal?

Dr. Chan: Extremely normal, Scott. All of us have dreams, all of us have nightmares. As children grow up, they're developing, they're experiencing new stimuli in the world, and some of the stimuli can be very upsetting, changing schools, parents going through divorce. It can happen for no apparent reason.

Interviewer: If a child does have a nightmare, how should a parent help them cope with that?

Dr. Chan: Hug them, love them, reassure them. So when they wake up screaming or yelling, talk with them, have them rewrite the ending to the scary dream. Have the children assume control of the dream and then tuck them back in.

Interviewer: All right. And if it's happening more than once in a while, is that concerning?

Dr. Chan: It can be concerning. So if it happens more than once a week or if there's other symptoms involved, and I would define that as bed wetting, aggression, sleepwalking, things like that, you should really talk to your local pediatrician or maybe seek out a child psychiatrist or psychologist.

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