We've never had a real encounter with bad dreams, but after talking with Jack this morning about his might waking a I'm pretty sure he had some scary ones. Of course I immediately go into I'm-a-terrible-mother-for-letting-him-watch-the-Jungle-Book-so-young mode and begin picking the whole thing apart in my head for scary images, themes and ideas. Of course I did come to my senses and realize that while he could have been scared of that, there are plenty of things that can cause bad dreams that are normal parts of life no matter how much I attempt to shelter him. Also, there are the other factors to consider like teething pain (darn molars!!) and a runny nose he's been fighting all week.
Most importantly I think for Jack it's good to talk it out and let it go. We moved on from the nightmare discussion when he lost interest and we rearranged our days activities to suit his demeaner. We had planned on going swimming but I honestly believe he would have been way too overtired to enjoy a late morning swim. And I'm not in the mood to chase a slippery wet angry toddler around a change room of half naked people. Instead we tried some tried and true fav things at home.
The other thing I know that will help Jack work through his nightmares is some solid coping mechanisms. Now this kid LOVES books so it is my main method to reinforce messages like "be a good friend" and new life changes "being a big brother". I picked up this book at Winners that was such a steal for 99 cents, has popup flaps AND a great message for disarming your "monsters" whatever they might be.
After a wonderful relaxing day, we're hoping for a better nights sleep. Anyone out there dealing with nightmares? Welcoming helpful advice :)