A Dreamcatcher is a handmade object made up of a small wooden hoop with some woven thread or wool knotted around it and then decorated with little feathers and beads. The idea is that the dreamcatcher is tied above a child's bed at night and used to protect them from bad dreams. Only good dreams are permitted to get through the woven web and bad dreams stay in the net and don't interrupt the sleep. They simply fade away in day light. However, good dreams trickle down the beaded, feathery strands that hang below onto the sleeping child.
The dreamcatcher originated in Ojibwa Nation in the 1960's and was adopted by other Native Americans over the years. The idea of dreamcatchers to help children sleep has become more and more popular since then and now dreamcatchers come in all shapes and sizes.
If your child suffers from nightmares or wakes during the night after bad dreams, make them a dreamcatcher! Get your child involved and maybe it will help with the night time wakes!
Making a dreamcatcher
Everyone dreams! Observation of babies sleeping suggests that even babies dream, although no one knows what dreams they experience. People who have been blind from birth dream, they tend to have heightened dreams of senses other than sight, such as smell or feel. This suggests that babies could dream in other senses, as well as having visual dreams of what they have experienced. From the ages of 3 - 8, children tend to have more nightmares than they do in later life. Toddlers may find it particularly difficult to express that they have had a bad dream because of their evolving language and understanding, they may not even understand the notion of a dream! They may awake from their sleep in a crying fit, but may not be able to express what has frightened them, even if they remember. If your toddlers wake in distress, you should stay with them and sooth them until they are calm again. Turn the light on so that they can see that they are in their bedroom and safe, and make sure that they have their familiar toys to cuddle.
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