Think outside the box may be the biggest cliché in business, but there is a reason it lives on. It works, both in business and in parenting. Take nighttime at our house for example. Until recently, Puppy was never a great sleeper, and Kitten struggled to make it through a night without calling for Mom or Dad. It’s not far from the truth to say I’ve read every “how to get your kids to sleep” book on the market, and at various times I’ve implemented techniques from many of the books.
But despite advice from the experts, I’ve found one of the most useful techniques to encourage sleep in my house has been a tool I’ve not seen in any baby sleep book: a dreamcatcher.
Dreamcatchers—round hoops with webs woven inside and decorated with feathers—are from Native American traditions. Tribes such as the Ojibe believed that dreamcatchers had the ability to filter dreams, allowing good ones to pass through and trapping the bad.
The dreamcatcher turned out to be a lifesaver for Puppy, who would blow her bad dreams into the dreamcatcher at night and go back to sleep, secure in the knowledge that only good dreams would be allowed in her head.
The dreamcatcher worked with Kitten, too. Until a few weeks ago when she woke up in the middle of the night scared of the shadows on her wall. After comforting her, I encouraged her to blow her scary thoughts into the dreamcatcher and go back to sleep.
She shook her head. “Mom,” she said. “The monster wasn’t in my heart, it was on the ceiling!”
I consider myself fairly adept at thinking outside the box, but in my middle-of-the-night stupor, I couldn’t come up with a response.
Oh well. The sleep was good while it lasted.