What do your kids dreams mean?

Children like adults, dream about what they know - but want to know the underlying meaning? Then we caught up with Vicky Woodgate, illustrator of non-fiction books for children and author of 'The Magic of Sleep'for some answers...

Young girl sleeping on bed with cat

Ooh don’t you just LOVE a good dream? Snuggled up under the duvet, skipping through a light-hearted fun whimsical dream of puppies, kittens and that GORGEOUS new sofa you had your eye on, that is until that adorable kitten starts destroying it with its ‘cute’ claws!

Advertisement

Dreams can be funny, sad or just plain weird. We don’t really know all the reasons we dream, but it could be a way for all the information we gather in our brains to be deciphered and processed.

Some dream facts:

  • How often have you heard someone say – “Oh I NEVER dream.” Actually, EVERYONE dreams, it’s an essential function for our brains.
  • Most people dream between 3 to 6 times a night ranging from 5 – 20 minutes per dream. Nonetheless 95% of our dreams are forgotten by the time we get out of bed and some people don’t remember dreaming at all.
  • About 12% of the population dream in black and white.
  • Animals dream too. Just like humans, animals go through stages of sleep including REM sleep (rapid eye movement) – this stage is when we are most likely to dream.
  • Girls have more anxiety related dreams than boys – but tend to forget them quicker.
  • If you are left-handed you are more likely to have more fantastical and lucid dreams than right-handed people.

Children like adults, dream about what they know. From about 4 years old they start to expand their emotions and can experience unsettling fears, if these can’t be explained they creep into their dreams.

Some common dream themes in children:

Falling – One of the top ten dreams for children and adults. Thought to be a symbol of a lack of control, knowing how to act or what to say in a situation.

Being chased – Also related to social interactions and personal conflicts and not wanting to face them.

Toys coming to life – This sounds like the stuff of nightmares OR a lovely Toy Story movie! How-ever it is more likely it’s something they have seen visually in media.

Animals – Let’s face it children LOVE animals, so it stands to reason they will dream about them. A domestic animal symbolises harmony and happiness, but a wild animal could represent an uncontrollable force or a primal perceived threat.

Being left alone – A rite of passage, your child is becoming more independent but still has a need for security.

The positive to all dreams including disturbing ones or nightmares is they are a release from the underlying fears our children, and us for that matter have built up. So, what to do if your kids are having dreams they don’t understand, or are even disturbed by?

Why not try a sleep diary project together. Download this free handy activity pack – get the family to write down their dreams, how they made you all feel and draw what you saw– it’s fun and could be a way of spotting any problems that have been bottled up AND could lead to some awesome drawings for the fridge door!

Sweet Dreams

The Magic of Sleep by Vicky Woodgate (published by DK Children) is out now.

Advertisement

Dive into the weird and wonderful world of sleep, from the science behind dreams to a peek into animal sleeping habits, what happens to our bodies when we snooze and tips for better sleep for the whole family, in this incredible book for children aged 7 to 9. See more at: www.vickywoodgate.com