Author Steven Cribbs    Category Parenting     Tags

Can you still hear it? That little sobbing whimper, that blood-curdling scream, or that shaky little voice saying “I had a bad dream”? In response to your child, you either hug your child with compassion, leap to your feet to battle whatever the enemy might be, or groan because it is the third time…that night.


My wife and I have definitely experienced the bad-dream-dilemma with our kids – with each stage and each child bringing their own challenges.

We all have bad dreams. Even as adults. But, what do we do about them? I have a couple of standard things that I do. And, my wife gave one of the most incredible solutions a few nights ago. I will tell you about all three.

My Standard Bad-Dream-Away-Inators

  1. Pray. Attack the dreams through prayer. I have always taught my children that the first thing we need to do is talk to God. After all, God is our creator and knows exactly how to help us. And, God is powerful! So, we pray. We ask God to guard our hearts and our minds; to take away the bad thoughts and the bad dreams; and, to give us good thoughts and good dreams.
  2. Think good thoughts. Together, we come up with two or three really good things to think about that the child will really enjoy. These usually vary to some degree based on what is exciting to the child at that moment. Some of our examples include eating a mountain of ice cream as tall as us, sitting in mommy or daddy’s lap reading a book, and playing one of our favorite games.


My Wife’s Brilliant Idea: The Change-It-Inator

A few nights ago, my wife made this statement when trying to help our oldest son: “They are your dreams; and, you have the power to change your dreams.” She challenged our son to take the dream and change it into something that he had control over, that was not scary and that he would want to think about – even to the point of being something fun.

For instance, a bad dream about a fire in the house becomes a dream of a campfire (in an appropriate outside fire ring) roasting marshmallows. And, once done, it is then attacked and defeated with humongous water guns.

I love this idea. Turning something that seems out of control into something that we do have control over. Thoughts and dreams have always been a difficult thing because you want to deal with them without dwelling on them. But, in this manner, you change the dream into something you can, and want, to dwell on. Bad thoughts gone. Good thoughts in their place. Beautiful.

Question: What is your favorite Bad-Dream-Away-Inator? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

7 Comments to “Bad-Dream-Away-Inators”

  • Brandon May 6, 2011 at 8:54 am


    I was afraid of the dark…

    • Steven Cribbs May 6, 2011 at 11:03 am

      As a kid, I never really liked the dark (it sometimes still freaks me out). I also had to run and jump into bed so that the things underneath my bed could not reach out and grab me. 😉

  • Brandon May 6, 2011 at 8:55 am


  • Adam May 6, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Such a great idea. I love this. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Steven Cribbs May 6, 2011 at 11:06 am

      After the initial awe toward my wife and her idea, I knew I had to write about it!

  • JD Eddins May 6, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Thanks for sharing this. Our oldest daughter has terrible nightmares. We have prayed and talked about them several times now. One of the things that I talked with her about is the fact that she is very creative. That ability is why her dreams are so vivid and full of details. Like your wife, I tried to encourage her to use that creativity to help her in the dream. There are still nights when she has nightmares, but her reactions to them have been better recently.
    Another thing I have noticed is that she tends to have nightmares on nights when we are lating getting her to bed.

    • Steven Cribbs May 6, 2011 at 11:10 am

      That’s cool that you have been doing the same things! It’s true, there is not a cure-all and every night can bring its own twist. But, these things do help.

      It is interesting how the different aspects of the evening can influence the quality of sleep and the things we dream about. I hadn’t thought about the getting to bed late as affecting dreams – I can totally see it now. I have also noticed differences based on the conversations of the preceeding day, what was seen on television and what the kids have been playing.

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