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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Toddler Dreams

How do you explain to a toddler their dream is not real? The first time my granddaughter actually remembered enough of a dream upon waking up, her parents had a hard time explaining in a way she would understand that it was just a dream and not real. When she woke up she was so excited she exclaimed that the fairy Tinker Bell was visiting at grandma's house. She insisted she wanted to visit grandma right away. This would have been simple if they didn't live 7 1/2 hours away.

My son, his wife and I finally were able to explain to her that dreams were like a story or cartoon in our minds when we are sleeping. This explanation seemed to work at the time.

Last week my husband received a call from our granddaughter. "Grandpa, thank you for mailing me a sandbox!" Not sure what she was chattering on about, grandpa just responded, "yes, thats great! Your grandma wants to talk to you." He then hands the phone to me while mouthing the words I don't understand what she said but, I just agreed with her.

My granddaughter was so excited I could barely understand what she was telling me. I heard the words: grandpa, sand and mail. My mind was trying to grasp what was it grandpa had agreed to. Finally I asked her if I could talk to her mom.

Her mom and I pieced together this scenario.
Granddaughter had a dream that her grandpa had sent her a sandbox in the mail. When she woke up she immediately called her grandfather with her moms phone. Her grandfather not knowing what she was talking about just agreed with her and handed the phone to me.

By the time we figured out what was going on, it was too late to really explain to her that it was just a dream. Especially since grandpa actually agreed that he had sent the sandbox. Her parents did try to explain that it was a dream, but because she had dreamed about her grandfather, and he was real the previous explanation that dreams were like stories or cartoons just didn't cut it with her.

Grandpa and I went ahead and bought a sandbox for her, and a gift for each of our grandkids and shipped them out. I never encountered things like this with my kids because technology wasn't what it is today.

Any tips you have would be greatly appreciated since I know we will be encountering this again.


  1. My son doesn't talk about dreams yet. Hers sound very real.

  2. It's okay (and better) to let her know she misunderstood. Disappointment is a part of life. I would tell mommy to discuss dreams each morning as soon as they wake up, and reaffirm each day that they are just dreams.

    Thanks for stopping by, i'm a new follower!

  3. Thank you for stopping by Playful Decor. I look forward to reading more on your blog!

  4. Hi! Thanks for following...I'm returning the favor:)

  5. That is pretty funny that your husband kind of painted you guys into a corner with this agreement. Funny that you should post this because Little Bit's Grandma just bought him a sandbox and it should be coming in the mail this week. Must be a theme right now with nice weather right around the corner ;D Have a blessed week!

  6. Thanks for following me at Tupelo Deals. I am following you back.

  7. Thanks for following my blog. Now following you too. :D Wish I have a better suggestion for you to deal with your predicament. I guess, you'll just have to be patient with your granddaughter until she gets it. :D She will, eventually.

  8. Are you positive that Tinkerbell wasn't in your house? I think that's the first step.

  9. Awe - that's very cute.
    I haven't experienced that just yet, but time will tell!
    Thanks for following - following you back ;)

  10. Thanks for following my blog!
    Following back now!

  11. Kids are VERY literal. Almost to a fault sometimes. That's part of why bad dreams are so scary. They can't make sense of the fact that it wasn't real. Kids are also very interested in understanding how their bodies work. I would explain to her that during the day, her brain has lots of thoughts about lots of things (like stories, playing, coloring) and that it helps her communicate with her friends and family, etc. At night, while her body is resting, her brain is still going. It's retelling different things that happened during the day, and sometimes it's even thinking about things that we really wish for. It can sometimes confuse things, which means that the stories get a little mixed up. Even though it feels very real when we wake up, it was really just our brains telling stories during the night.
    Thanks for following Practical Parenting!
    Hope that helps...I think that might inspire a future post!

  12. aww that is the cutest sweetest grandparent story I love that you guys bought the sandbox =) She will outgrow this stage soon enough. Good luck until then.

    New follower here. Follow me back at


  13. My daughter is seven and has told me about dreams she has had. Sounds like my Grace is a little older, but still it was hard for Grace to understand. She has been recalling them for a few years. I told her a lot of times we dream about what we think about or do during the day or even an event we are looking forward to. She had some dream about her friends that she played with all day. I explained to her when she went to bed she was still so excited that her mind was still thinking about the fun! :)
    Sweet story though. I am new to following you from Monday's blog hop. Please come check out my blog and take a look around. Take care.

    <a href="http://stlavonlady1.blogspot.com/>stlavonlady</a>

  14. Hi, Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love your blog and Im now a new follower. I will definitely have to sit with my cup of tea in the morning and read your "Toddler Dreams"! Have a great week!


  15. I can only imagine how hard this is to explain. My only suggestion would be to talk about what 'cartoons' or 'stories' they had every morning. That way if something like that does happen, they can nip it in the bud before it gets too out of hand. Or just have you husband mail a sanbox ;) haha

  16. Thanks for stopping by and joining in my site. Will be back to explore more....Have a great day!

  17. Thanks for stopping by and following! I am your newest follower too!

    I agree that sometimes we just have to let them deal with the disappointment of learning that dreams are not real. One way to soften the blow is to talk about how dreams are special private moments that we only get to have when we are sleeping.

  18. Hey there! new follower from the bloghop! Sounds like your granddaughter has very vivid dreams that she remembers. My kids never tell me about their dreams. Maybe I should start asking them.

  19. Cute Blog! I’m a new follower Happy Monday!! I would love for you to stop and take a look at my blog as well! Thanks!

  20. Thank goodness I have not had to deal with this yet... but I am sure I will! Already a follwer just stopping in to say Hi : )

  21. New follower from Mingle monday. I would love it if you followed me.