Thursday, October 17, 2013

How To Make A Nightmare Catcher - An Empowering Tool

At some point, each of my kids has gone through stages in which they have nightmares.  For my daughter it was especially difficult because for many years she'd also had night terrors; thus, nighttime has always been rough for us.  So when she had nightmares two nights in a row this past weekend, I took action.  Enter The Nightmare Catcher.

I came up with this years ago when her brother couldn't sleep.  You know the Native American  idea of a Dream Catcher?  It's just like that - only scary - for the nightmares.  I found it empowered my kids and gave them a tool to not only fight the scaries but feel safer.  We hung it in the doorway of my daughter's bedroom.  Here's what it looks like from both sides:

Before you make it, you're gonna have to sell the concept.  Ask your child to think about what the nightmares look like and what would repel them.  What would keep nightmares away?  I tell my kids that love, family,  and positive energy make nightmares sick, so symbols of those things help.  Then we get busy with making!  Before I list the materials needed, remember that it's all about giving your kid control over the situation and the project because only your kid knows what the nightmares look like.  It's also about improvising with stuff you have around the house.  No two Nightmare Catchers are alike.

Suggested Materials List

Sticks (Or something to use as the frame.  We gathered sticks from the backyard and she chose how big she wanted the Nightmare Catcher to be.)
String (or something to use as the web)
Buttons, jingle bells (or something that makes noise - this adds another sensory dimension to the project), charms, family pictures, cheap jewelry, lightweight cars, etc.)
A glue gun


1.  Form the sticks into a frame.  In ours, we used old chandelier wire and tied the sticks together, weaving them together in a figure 8.  Add a string at the top so it can hang from the door.

2.  Weave the string through the catcher, kind of like a spider weaves a web.  Add as much or as little as your child thinks is necessary.  Since only they know how large their nightmare is, they should tell you how much to use.

3.  Plan what trinkets you're going to put where.  This is where your kid can go crazy!  I've found that adding stuff to both sides helps because your kid can look at it from inside their room and the flip side "repels" the nightmares.    Hot glue the trinkets whereever your "expert" wants you to.

When it's done, hang it on the outside of the door.  For extra "protection" spray some of your perfume or some other scent into the Nightmare Catcher. 

Now, this does require a little maintenance.  Every morning (or when your kid reminds you), you'll need to "empty" the Nightmare Catcher.  We take it down and either wave it outside to "release" the nightmares or wave it over the toilet to flush them down. 

If it's not working, see if you can add more stuff to the Nightmare Catcher.  Maybe it needs to be "stronger." 

I hope this works as well for you as it has for me.  And thank you for reading my non-expert blog (as Martha Stewart recently pointed out - truth be told, I've never read a blog by someone claiming to be an expert!).


No comments: