babies, sleep, toddlers

Secure Attachment Can Prevent Nightmares in Preschoolers

Do you have a child who has frequent nightmares and restless sleep? Chances are she showed signs of restlessness and uncontrollable crying as early as five months old. Researchers have defined a link between preschoolers who have nightmares and their temperament during infancy. Canadian researchers followed 987 children from infancy to 6 years. Most of the children had an occasional nightmare, but those who had nightmares more frequently were considered “anxious” or difficult babies by their mothers.

“In this study, “bad dreams” as early as the age of 2.5 were predicted by signs of anxiety at the ages of 5 months and 17 months, explained Dr. Tore Nielsen, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal.”

This study raises the age-old advice to calm crying babies to make them feel more secure and bonded with their caregiver. Nielsen suggests forging an early bonding atmosphere of “secure” attachment during infancy.

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