The dream life of children: Dreams in childhood

dreams in childhood

Dreams are a hot topic in this household – every morning we have a discussion over breakfast about who dreamed what; Mr C fiercely tries to note down his dreams immediately on waking in his pursuit to finally control his dreams – otherwise known as lucid dreaming; I am usually embarrassed by my seemingly bizarre dreams or traumatized by some kind of internal dream struggle (probably something to do with parenting challenges there!), whilst my little seeminlgy dreams of her favourite characters from Paw Patrol  on repeat.

What is so intriguing about this comparison is just how simply young children dream in relation to us adults.  But is this because they are dreaming less vividly, or because they don’t have the word or cognitive power to actually describe that which they have dreamed about?

Another compelling comparison between how children dream and how adults dream is that children actually have a smaller window of time to actually experience dreams – in that they spend less time in REM sleep then adults. A series of studies by David Foulkes showed that children under the age of 7 reported dreaming only 20% of the time when awakened from REM sleep, compared with 80–90% in adults.

I have always been fascinated by dreams, but seeing and talking to my daughter about her own journey of dreaming has taken my fascination of dreams even further. To see a being approach their dreams with such innocence and a sense of reality is quite  wondrous thing, to listen to your child’s dreams, and to have a direct link to her inner thoughts and experiences – as simplistic as they might be right now (though of course that will change with time) – is an amazing tool to understanding this wonderful being we’ve brought into this world.

On that note, I’d like to leave you with this video featuring Ian Wallace, a world leading dream interpreter – to find out what’s actually going on with children when they dream, courtesy of Adjustable Beds, the Adjustamatic adjustable beds specialist.

Are you fascinated about dreams and what your children dream about? Do you discuss dreams together as a family? Do leave a comment and share below.

*This is a collaborative post


  1. I’ve always been fascinated by dreams especially as a young adult and used actually consult dream dictionaries. Hahaha. But that was so long ago, T has been telling me about her weird and some scary dreams too. I keep telling her to think happy thoughts before drifting off, hoping this will ward away the bad dreams 😉
    Dean of Little Steps recently posted…A Shortie By Little StepsMy Profile

  2. I had no idea they spend less time in REM sleep! I always want to know what the kiddos dream about, but then I also think that everything is still so wonderful for them so for the babies a colorful bowl of fruit might occupy their dreams and they love it :p haha
    Charlotte recently posted…Encouraging Toddler ReadingMy Profile

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