By Melissa Meehan
The saying goes, if you have big dreams you will grow into them.
But what is a dream without understanding what it is all about?
Best-selling author of Dreams, Rose Inserra helps to unlock the mysteries of your dreams and the messages they hold for adults and children alike.
The Toolangi mother and grandmother says for many children nightmares can start from the time they turn three.
“Because before three, they can’t really separate themselves from anything, but as they grow up they can, and they understand who they are and they start to have dreams or nightmares,” she said.
“At around seven, the nightmares tend to sort of phase away, they’re not as prevalent as they are.”
These bad dreams or nightmares can be triggered by stress of starting a new school, a new place to live, debt, death of a pet or parent, grandparent or even having a new sibling.
Monsters are a common theme that young children tend to dream about, according to Rose, who says the subconscious mind creates these images.
“For them, it’s anxiety and so monsters, whatever monster they come up with is their anxiety, or their fear or something,” she said.
“So that’s, that’s your first major dream that they have.”
Another popular dream is flying.
Rose says fantasy dreams are really good for children to experience. It shows that they have a happy and healthy imagination, and that they are able to overcome new experiences.
Some older kids have dreams of chaos and disorder when there’s instability in their lives.
And that’s telling us they need support or grounding, which is why they feel like they’re going to fall into an Alice in Wonderland sort of thing.
“So if your child keeps having those dreams, they need you to give them more support and make them feel more comfortable,” she said.
No matter the dream, Rose says it’s important to have discussions with your child about what they are dreaming about – so that you can gain an insight into how they are feeling.
“We need to say to them, okay, tell me a little bit more about your dream,” she said.
“Tell me what happened. How did you feel about that, and who was in your dream.
“And talk to them, say, how we get this right, let’s change the ending to that dream.”
Rose says you can use the same trick with nightmares, especially if they are recurring.
“The next time the kids or any of us go to bed, change the ending,” she said.
“So you change the ending up, so you know last time the tiger was chasing you, what if the tiger wants to go and have a drink at that light behind you, he wasn’t coming for you.
“It makes a difference.”
Rose Inserra is the author of the recent book Dreams by Rockpool Publishing. Drawing on her experience as an author and researcher, she has written over 60 children’s books and her books are published and marketed internationally. Rose is a member of the International Association for the Study of Dream.