Let’s face it, one thing every parent dreads is hearing their child cry out from their bed: “I’m scared!” We also know that scary dreams are a common and normal part of child development. But a big question I always receive is “What’s the best way to handle my child’s nightmare?”
The best solution is to remain calm, hold your child (if she will allow it), and talk in a soft, reassuring voice until she falls back asleep. It’s best not to ask, “What did you dream about?” because it can trigger the fear again. Usually your child back to sleep alot faster than you will. We also know that pressure and worries can bring on nightmares, so assess your child’s stress load. And helping your child talk about those worries will actually reduce not only the stress build-up but also the worries. The more we can empower our kids with the tools to “talk back to their worries” the quicker we will be in reducing their concerns.
That’s just one reason I love Marsha Jacobson’s book, Boom…Boom…Boom…A Story to Raise Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence. (Full of Ideas Publishing, http://www.fullofideas.ca )
This delightful page-turner picture book for kids between the ages of four to ten is the adventures of Gabi, a lively little girl who wakes up screaming “Mommy…MOMMY…MOMMEEEEE!” (That opening line alone is guaranteed to get a young reader’s attention). Mommy, of course, runs to her daughter’s room to comfort her. She then tries to help ease Gabi’s fears by searching the house from top to bottom to find the source of a scary noise: a constant boom…boom…boom sound. (I’m not going to spoil the ending by telling you what the sound is, but believe me you and your child will collectively sign “Ahhhhhh” it’s so darn cute).
How Mom carries out her mission of alleviating Gabi’s worries is plain wonderful. Mom uses one of the best parenting solutions there is: utilizing her daughter’s emotional intelligence. Mom listens, validates and empowers her child to work through her fears, and Gabi prevails!
This book is also beneficial for both the adult and child . Marsha provides a page of subtle ways the parent can reinforce their child’s emotional intelligence as they read together. Just a few of Marsha’s suggestions:
• ANSWER all your child’s questions with honesty, particularly when they are about negative feelings.
• EXPLORE with your child how they feel about different parts of the book. Encourage them to talk about experiences that may be triggered by reading the book.
• SHARE your own feelings and relevant experiences.
• EXPAND your child’s vocabulary of feeling words. (Marsha even provides a list of feeling vocabulary words in the back of the book!)
• ENJOY reading and sharing this book with your child!
Believe me, that last suggestion is the easiest! How can you not enjoy such a well-written, delightfully illustrated story?
For more about the author, Marsha Jacobson, see http://www.marshajacobson.com. Marhsa was born and raised in South Africa, graduated from Natal University in Durban with a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology and now lives in Toronto with her husband and four children. You can find her on twitter @marshajacobson (which is where I first met her).
Get more Parenting Solutions by following Michele Borba @MicheleBorba on Twitter or https://www.micheleborba.com.
Michele’s latest book is The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries which is on sale now.