Helping kids: Mommy, Daddy, I Had a Bad Dream

I don’t know about you, but I love school holidays. I miss my kids a lot while they’re at school, and the running backwards and forwards makes me crazy.

Spring school holidays are my favourite, it’s the best time of year – the sun is shining, the kids are smiling and it’s like a shot in the arm for us all, keeping us going through the busy, busy final quarter of the year.

Being focused on the kids, I thought it would be a good time to run with a series of reviews on children’s books, and in particular kids’ books that have been written to help kids through troubling times.

As much as we try to protect our kids from strife, there are still those times where our children have to manage through serious issues. Be it nightmares, illness, loss or anxiety, picture books can play a major role in helping us to talk to our kids, and in turn help them to cope with challenging times.

Today’s book has been written to help kids self-manage bad dreams. I know that my Oscar has very vivid dreams and often worries long in to the next day about nightmares that might have troubled him through the night. Needless to say, I’m going to give this book a go, to see if it can’t help him with his bad dreams.

Mommy, Daddy, I had a Bad Dream! by Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D. (Smart Love Press) is the story of Joey, a bouncy happy kangaroo, who has a series of bad dreams. His parents lovingly help him understand them in a way that helps him control his worries.

Illustrated by Jo Gershman, the story is cast with a family of kangaroos and various other Australian favourites. In beautiful watercolour scenes, Joey and his family cuddle and snuggle and look out for each other. Nonetheless, Joey is still a worried little kangaroo…

Troubled by nightmares, Joey finds himself needing help from his mum and dad to settle. He finds his dreams really upsetting, and he doesn’t understand why he keeps having nightmares.

Interestingly, how Joey’s parents talk him through his dreams is quite unique:

Joey bounced straight into his parents’ room. “Mommy, Daddy, I had a terrible dream! The judge said NO apples with honey for three whole days! Why would I have such a bad dream?”

“Let’s think about it,” Daddy said.

“Dreams are stories we tell ourselves for a reason. We just have to understand the reason. Are you upset about something that happened today?”

Joey doesn’t work it out straight away, but after a number of conversations, and a little help from his parents, his dreams become less worrying. He learns to work through them himself, resettling without the help of his mum and dad.

The author, Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D has used her considerable experience in working with families, to help parents help their kids to take control of their anxiety around bad dreams, making night times run much more smoothly for all concerned.

If you’d like to know more about this really interesting, very unique picture book, you can visit their website here.

Do your kids have trouble with nightmares? How do you handle bad dreams at your house?

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