Reality Checks

I recently received this question from a fellow Night Club member:

My 8 year old has been learning how to lucid dream and has recently even had a couple lucid dreams. Last night he incubated a dream about eating his decadent flavor of ice cream. We usually set our intentions together at night. Which is sweet. Last night however, he said something to which I didn’t have a good response and wanted to see how you’d respond… He said mommy, I don’t think kids should lucid dream. I am scared that I may confuse dreams and reality. How do I know I’m not dreaming now? Even if you say it’s real, you’ve told me that dream characters will say it’s not a dream, if you’re a dream character then I can’t trust you. Any words for a 8 year old who is a bit spooked by lucid dreaming because he is concerned he will not be able to distinguish it from waking reality? I’ll admit I share his concern …and I wonder if lucid dreaming is appropriate to teach and learn for young children. I hope my question makes sense… Can you say a few words for my 8 year old so he is not spooked by lucid dreaming?

I sent this question to my dear friend @Clare Johnson who has written a number of books on this topic. Clare has her own child so I wondered if she had this discussion with her own kid. Here’s what she said:

What a deep thinking little boy! Great to have such a thoughtful kid. It’s much harder than he may think to really confuse dreams and reality while awake. Easy enough to resolve this problem: teach him some simple reality checks, e.g:

  1. Squeeze your nostrils shut and close your mouth, try to breathe in. If this is a dream, you’ll be able to breathe with no problems! If you’re awake, you won’t be able to.

  2. Jump into the air and see if you can float. In a dream, you can float! In waking life, you can’t (unless you’re an astronaut in space!)

  3. The dream body feels very different from your waking body. In fact, many things feel different in a dream. The dream body is lighter, you can stretch an arm really really long, or shrink down as small as a puppy. When you’re awake, your body stays the same size and it’s solid!

  4. Look at your palms, then flip them and look at the backs of your hands. Do this a few times and see if they change. If you’re dreaming, they will change and start to look really weird! When you’re awake and do this, your hands will look exactly the same.

Lucid dreaming is not dangerous for kids or anyone else, it is a naturally occurring phenomenon of sleep; it is simply a question of raised awareness. I started lucid dreaming very young, and my 10-year-old daughter is a lucid dreamer. In fact, I just mentioned this little boy’s concern to Yasmin and her immediate response was: “Well, he can just do reality checks! Then he’ll always know which reality he’s in!”

Hope this helps - wonderful thoughtful question from such a young kid. - @Clare

You can hear my response to this question in Webinar 28: Obstacles & Antidotes to Lucid Dreaming [part 2]. The question appears at the [27:35] mark.