NIght Terrors and NIghtmares

Morgan - posted on 05/18/2010 ( 72 moms have responded )

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I have read a few posts about a child waking and screaming and not seeming like they are awake some people are telling them nightmares and other night terrors. So I thought I would post links to articles explaining night terrors and how to handle them. As well as ones to explain the difference between a nightmare and night terror as they are two different things. I hope this will help some of the parents out there experiencing this problem or who may in the future.



http://www.todaysparent.com/preschool/ar...

http://www.babycenter.com/404_why-is-my-...

http://www.babycenter.ca/toddler/sleep/n...

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Emily - posted on 03/23/2013

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Both of my twin girls have had them but the one, Gracie, has had them too many times to count! You KNOW when it's a night terror and not just a nightmare.. She doesn't know you or acknowledge that she knows you and may even act scared of you! She would call out for me and I'd be right there trying to pick her up and shed be fighting me trying to get away from me! She'd rarely open her eyes and if she did it was only for a couple seconds.. She'd be thrashing so violently that she'd literally throw herself off of the bed not even realizing what she was doing..she'd bang the sides of her fists on the crib rail so hard over and over again just screaming bloody murder that I thought she'd break them or they would start to bleed! They really started just before she was 2...and for a while after two she had them every night for about a half hour and at one point for about a month straight! They said something about it hitting about 1.5hrs after a kid would fall asleep but G would get them about a half hr to several hours after she fell asleep! One thing did ring true though.. Don't try and talk to them, turn the bright lights on, yell at them or punish them! They don't know what's going on and have no memory of it once out of it! Here's what worked for me each time once I figured it out.. Go in and get them..carry them(thrashing) to your bedroom(wherever..) don't say anything yet to them, turn on ONLY the tv..something soothing and not fast paced(she loved the baby channel on direct tv..it was slow, colorful, and soothing at that hour for her..). The rooms overhead lights too bright and the tv is just bright enough so she won't be scared once she does come out of it. Just hold them kind of sitting up between your legs on the bed enough so they don't throw themselves off the bed and QUIETLY whistler sshhhhhhhhhhh constantly until they come out of it. Remember, the key thing, and its very hard not to do, but DO NOT talk to them! It will only agitate them all over again and start the process all over again! I know it's terrifying for you as the parent as well to see them go through this and see how scared and horrified they are of whatever it is they think they are seeing!! I cried so many times for her!! You feel so helpless! But then, once they wake up and are calm and look up at you finally without the tears or the terrified look in their eyes you know it's over! You still want to stay calam and shush them a bit to help bring down their heart rate..and remember..they don't remember any of it and are probably a bit confused as to why they are in your room with you and how they got there! I know they say that lack of sleep can trigger these..but what the hell?! JUST HAVING them each night causes a lack of sleep!lol so you're going to have to work extra hard to get them some good nap time in the day and do whatever it takes to keep from prolonging the terrors at night..
Good luck mommies and know, it gets better and so far it doesn't seem to have had any emotional effect on her since she'd had them!! :)) Gracie's 3.5 now and has only had 1 terror in maybe almost a year now!:)

Tonya - posted on 03/29/2013

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My son just turned 7 years old & is still having night terrors. He actually just had one last night. We've found that my husband has a much harder time soothing him through it than I do. This may be because the best thing I've found to do is not talk to him but start out shhh shhhh ing him then softly sing to him the one certain song I sang to him every night as a baby to put him to sleep & still sing to him when he's sick or upset. That's "our song" and each of my boys has their own song I sang that's special just between the two of us. It really works in calming down Jayvin's night terrors thank God.

Megan - posted on 09/04/2011

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very scary but.....can be delt with i grew up with my lil brother havig them alot and my son has had them alot he is 3. You are not suppose to wake them up ! i know it can be scary but just try to stay calm and comfort them.Lay with them rub their back or head n just help them back to sleep

Danielle - posted on 05/31/2010

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Night terrors are very difficult to handle. my husband and son both have them, so if daddy has one it could trigger my son into having one, but that has not happened yet. Night terrors are usaully generational thing, it oges back five generations on my husband side of the family. Usuallly what I do if my son has a night terror i let stephen take care of it because he understands more about these things than I do. I appreciate yuor interest in this subject Morgan, DOes your child have them?, if so contact me and i'll try and help stedan0706@msn.com

Antoinette - posted on 06/29/2013

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My 4.5yo daughter has night terrors and has pretty much forever. Some nights she can be easily soothed back to sleep, other nights she's shrieking around the house throwing anything she can lift. She has wet herself on occasion but more often will spit on herself or the floor depending on what position she has put herself in and will get REALLY upset if I try to clean it up. All the while she is crying and screaming and this on average will last for 15-30 minutes but it's also not uncommon for her to go for over an hour or 2 and not uncommon to happen more than once a night and have also happened during daytime naps.

Most of the time she doesn't acknowledge that I'm even there (unless I try to clean up a mess) but there have been times when she'll look at me absolutely terrified and run from me shrieking. So for the most part I find it best to stand back and only intervene if she's going to badly hurt herself. When it's over she'll suddenly snap out of it, look around confused (because she usually ends up in the lounge), come give me a hug and immediately fall back to sleep as instantly as snuggle in, sob, sob, snore.

While environmental factors such as moving house, going on holiday, starting daycare, getting out of routine etc does almost guarantee a bout of them they can also be completely random ... but now that I think about it it was probably totally dumb of me to invite the devil into my child's mind while my husband and I were ritualistically bashing the crap out of each other while the kids watched Paranormal Activity over their cocoa pops this morning. My bad. Jesus where you at bro?

Perhaps more helpful though is sharing that for my daughter at least that ROUTINE and SLEEP are VERY important. If she wants to sleep, she gets to sleep and still at 4.5yo needs an afternoon nap or quiet time to let her recharge or by about 5pm her behaviour, temper and self control are out the window.

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72 Comments

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Wairok P - posted on 07/03/2013

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Children are likely to cry, scream or shout, or simply run away when confronted by the things they fear. You can see some of the common fear that kids have at https://blog.gungroo.com/top-10-phobias-fears-that-kids-have/

Emily - posted on 06/01/2013

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Not normal really... I would really recommend trying to get him to nap.. If he refuses I'd talk to your dr to see what they recommend. But I'll tell you, from experience on both ends-having had them myself and having two kids with them, he NEEDS to nap! Not to mention its crucial for their brain development!

Susan - posted on 04/03/2013

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My son who is 4 has been having nightmares. We recently got a dream catcher and that has seemed to put him at ease when he goes to bed!

Emily - posted on 03/23/2013

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I'm not even going to read all of the other comments posted to you on here and give you more than the two seconds you deserve.. You are an ignorant moron! Don't speak to something you don't know first hand and preach your bible thumping bull to people who don't need or want to hear it! They want REAL life help with these situations and to hear you talk about them not praying enough and all that crap makes me sick! I have lived this both as a kid and as a parent to kids with them! And I'll tell you one thing praying wasn't what helped my babies! I DID! As their mother I DID! I'm the one who cried and held them and did everything I could to try and sooth their fear! I am the one who sat with them each night and got hit, kicked and thrashed upon! The devil?? Are you kidding me?! Go away! Run back to your compound up in the mountains somewhere with all your other sister wives and sister cousins and ride that comet off into the sunset! And leave the real issues to the ones who've lived it and know what they are talking about!
AMEN!

Emily - posted on 03/23/2013

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Hope this has subsided for your twins!! I feel your pain all too well having twins with them myself!

Emily - posted on 03/23/2013

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Just remember if she's still having them not to try and talk to her.. Just shhh her softly and quietly and she'll come out of it so much quicker!:) She doesn't recognize you as her mommy and it can actually even scare her even more and prolong it.

Samantha - posted on 06/24/2012

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My 3 yr old little girl has them every once in a while but when they happen they are terrible!! She starts by only crying which leads into screaming ..sitting up...urinating on herself sometimes..sitting up rocking back and forth...so I have tried to comfort her but she pushs me away repeating "I want my mommy..I want my mommy" and that's all she says and I'm always right there =( And she seems totally awake but doesnt have a clue in who i am..Very very scary!!! So I have been leaving her be and reading her favorite books!! Seems to work for us!!

Katrina - posted on 04/24/2012

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mine has night terrors too but i think its because he doesnt nap. I havnt looked up or anything. I wonder if that why. but by all the responses on here it seems normal for kids to get them

Jenny - posted on 03/28/2012

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Calms Forte was a lifesaver for us! It is an all natural supplement that is the best at getting my son through that cycle where he would have a night terror. It was approved by my pediatrician and can be found in health food stores. Good luck!

Linda - posted on 03/12/2012

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Interesting. My son who is 15 months old actually had nigh terrors (?) when he was like 10 months...is that possible at that early age? He would toss and turn screaming. It looked like he was having a tantrum in his sleep. It was a bit scarry. called the doctor and she said he was having night terrors and not to wake him.

Amanda - posted on 03/04/2012

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Morgan,

Thank you for those helpful articles. It made me realize that I think my son has night terrors. How creepy!

Amanda

Kristin - posted on 11/29/2011

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My son has night terrers but only when he doesn't nap. We wake him 15 mins after he falls asleep and he helps him not have the terror. They are horrible to watch and we were told he will grow out of them but no way of knowing when?!

Tracy - posted on 11/13/2011

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Reading these posts and articles was so helpful! I have twin one and half year olds and they usually wake up at least once or twice every night with night terrors. I have been looking everywhere for information but it seems like most of it is geared toward older children. Great info:)

Tracy - posted on 11/13/2011

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Reading these posts and articles was so helpful! I have twin one and half year olds and they usually wake up at least once or twice every night with night terrors. I have been looking everywhere for information but it seems like most of it is geared toward older children. Great info:)

April - posted on 06/29/2011

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That makes alot of sense! I did not know there was a diffference. But they are unexplainable!!

Julie - posted on 06/29/2011

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NIGHT TERRORS?!?!
STOP ALL scarey movies...
Find out what is going on at Day Care
...what is going on in your marriage?
What is your child listening to...
Take time each day to sing to him...
Rea good happy stories before bed
and PRAY the Blood of Jesus over that child, telling the devil he has NO authority to play with your child's mind. It works - I could tell you story after story from mothers, about this reality -

Jenifer - posted on 06/02/2011

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both my daughter get them they are 7 and 8...they get them almost everynight though out the night....and they also have nightmares and sleep talk there dr says they will hopefully grow out of it...i hope so it is very upsetting seeing them like that and there is nothing i can do

Angy - posted on 04/13/2011

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Danielle, i dont think night terrors are in the genes... My daughter has them and she was the first in the family... They well for her they were brought on by some things happeneing in her life that she couldnt grasp or was worried about. I had to go thru to sets of them...... alll you can do is try to get them to talk about it in themorning...

Rachel - posted on 04/11/2011

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My daughter rarely has nightmares anymore. But when she does she screams herself awake. I also have a night light for her, and her stuffed bunny with her at bed time.

Amanda - posted on 03/21/2011

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My 22 mth old son has them. We have discovered he gets them when he has not had enough sleep. So we stay extra vigilent on nap and bed times for a few days and this really helps. The biggest secret we have learned is when he is having one to just lay him back down quietly and gently and then leave him alone. Doing this shortens the cycle. It now only lasts like 15 min vs the three hr several times a night ordeal when we didn;t know how to handle it and were cuddling and bringing him to bed with us.

Amanda - posted on 03/21/2011

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My 22 mth old son has them. We have discovered he gets them when he has not had enough sleep. So we stay extra vigilent on nap and bed times for a few days and this really helps. The biggest secret we have learned is when he is having one to just lay him back down quietly and gently and then leave him alone. Doing this shortens the cycle. It now only lasts like 15 min vs the three hr several times a night ordeal when we didn;t know how to handle it and were cuddling and bringing him to bed with us.

Michelle - posted on 03/14/2011

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Thank you for this.. My 18mth now has been having night terrors for a few months. the Dr said he was to young however reading up on it is exactly what he is having. luckily the episodes are slowly decreasing but at least now I know..

Amanda - posted on 02/19/2011

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it could be anything that is scaring her. my son has them to the point that he walks out of the house, he unlocks the door and all. it not only scares them but you as a parent to. i dont know what causes these night terrors, but i do know that waking them up could cause a seizure or hospitalization... my cousin had them to i caught him taking a knife to his sisters throat.. i took the knife and guided him back to the living room when he woke up a was freaking out, didnt know how he got down stairs or what happened. but he was dreaming someone was tring to hurt his sister and he was in his dream going to kill that person... he thought he had the person that was trying to hurt her..

Alisha - posted on 01/28/2011

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i knkew a lil bit of the difference but now i know a lil more. ..thank you

Maleah - posted on 01/13/2011

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I thought that I was alone in this.. Two pediatricians have looked at me like I was crazy when explaining this to them about my son.. I now know what to do..

Natasha - posted on 12/26/2010

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I found those helpful! Though, when it mentions the child "waking up" are they talking about that child's eyes are opened? My 20 month old son starts screaming in the middle of the night, and nothing seems to be comforting him. His eyes are shut closed, and I do not want to wake him up but it makes me sad seeing him go through this. Plus, him and I share a bedroom, and a bed since I cannot fit his bed into our room. So it is hard to just walk out and let him cry and let it roll out on its own. What should I do? Is this him having a nightmare or night terror?

Tessa - posted on 12/13/2010

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Thank you very much for this post. My daughters father used to have night terrors when he was younger, that and the combination of me andher father breaking up and him seeming to try and make it messy, it has made her have bad dreams. I thought they were just nightmares but after reading these im thinking they may be night terrors. Sometimes I go give her cuddles and she doesnt want me to touch her, I ask her if shes scared of mummy and she nods, I ask her if I was in her bad dream and she nods, I tell her I love her and she doesnt have to worry because its just a bad dream and mummy will never ever hurt her and she gives me big squeezy cuddles then goes back to sleep. They are happening a lot less know though since I got her a birdie night light, so i think she was a bit scared of the dark as well.

Demetria - posted on 11/30/2010

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my daughter have them from time to, for the past two weeks. she will kick an scream an try to find me. i thought maybe it could be night mares i will like to know what could it be that scaring her

Meghan - posted on 11/24/2010

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as far as diagnosing goes just talk to the doctor. sometimes they just know and other times they will put you or whomever it is with it through a kind of sleep study to register brain waves and observe and that kind of a thing

Meghan - posted on 11/24/2010

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My oldest used to get night terrors when he was 2. Me and his father were going through a divorce and things were hectic. The doctor said they were stress related in his particular case. He'd "wake" in the middle of the night screaming and/or crying about the most off-the-wall things. Sometimes he'd be out of his bed walking around screaming. I caught him one time running in small circles in the corner of the room screaming "get off me!" He never remembered any of these episodes and he would be fine the next morning. Night terrors happen in the stage of the sleep cycle known as the deepest sleep. You cannot wake children having a night terror no matter how much you try. It is more terrifying as a parent than it is to the child since they have no recollection of it ever happening. Once things settled down and our divorce was final and the kids were on a consistent schedule, my son's night terrors stopped. They are pretty scary sometimes. I was told they are more common in young boys over girls of any age...

Marne - posted on 11/24/2010

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Yes a change or trauma usually triggers the night terrors. I had the same thing happen when we had a family move while my daughter was 3y. They lasted for a year or so and it was scary when they did happen. It didn't help to hold my child..she didn't want to be touched and the thrashing would be worse if I did. I did some reading on night terrors and it says its helpful to 'lightly' wake them up about 3 hours after they've gone to bed for the evening or rub their back a bit before you turn in for the night yourself. It works for some children to do this, but make sure they know its not time to wakeup. Keep the lights off and use soft voices.

Agnes - posted on 11/17/2010

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Thank you for the link, it helped me understand about why my son wake up and cry in the midnight sometime and when I cuddle him will make it even worse

Kristy - posted on 11/10/2010

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I am 30, and have 2 kids under three... I still get nightmares and occasionally sleepwalk..... The main thing with my personal experience.. is to not let yourself or your kiddies get too overtired.. this seems to make it worse... (whether adult or child)... My almost 3 yr old son wakes up usually a few times a night... All I usually do is give him a cuddle and a kiss... tell him that mummy is here.. It's all ok... lay down and go back to sleep... and it works fine...
Although... I dont know what to expect in the years to come... I was a horrible child for nightmares and honestly wonder if an overactive imagination or higher intelligience tend to make it worse as the brain is that little more active, or whether a bit of family history is involved??!...

Kasmanique - posted on 10/21/2010

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Thanks i have two that are ging through the same thing now i will know what to do

Alysa - posted on 10/12/2010

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This difinetly are generational. I had them so bad as a child that it took yrs for my own mom to realize she had to stand back and let it happen and let me wake on my own. It was bad to wake and be so disorientated and not really know where I was took a toll. My daughter has had them for about a yr now and it seems when she has a bad day at daycare or a bad evening at home we have long nights of waking constantly. I have asked her doctor and was told she was to young to being having these, but it hasn't stopped her. I have left her when she wakes and is the only thing I have found that helps. Trying to help them as the are in an unconstate of mind seeming awake to us can only make them worse and more disorientated and less able to cope with the day ahead.

Brittney - posted on 10/12/2010

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my 3 year old son will get out of his bed during the night and start runnin around the house screaming running into things is this a night terror

Brandy - posted on 10/11/2010

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Oh my goodness I never knew this and now I better understand what he is going through and how to handle it better.

Laura - posted on 10/02/2010

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IS There a way to get it "diagnosed"? I have always had horrible nightmares and panic attacks in my sleep, and now my daughter has nightmares and im sure she has sleep terrors.

Christy - posted on 09/22/2010

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You know I thought my babe was too young still, he is 1 year and 4 months. But the other night he woke up with the "scared" scream. I mean he was genuinely scared. My husband doesn't understand what he could possibly have to be scared about. But I tried explaining and I didn't do well. I figured separation anxiety could be related. Or perhaps a noise woke him up to a dark room and he panicked. Either way it was noticeably a different cry. Long story short, thank you for the links I will pass them along!

Lorraine - posted on 09/14/2010

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thankyou my 3 year old son has been having them since he was 2 and i been told they r night terrors but never new how to handle them, i have allway's tried to calm him down even though it maid him worse. Now i can try that aproache and see how he goes and does anyone elses kids wake up around the same time when they have theese night terrors because i seem to find it happens around the same time at night. the worst one i had lasted 3 hours that was a nightmaire, and now that we r especting again i think it's happening more and this is not what we need i just hope it passes cross my fingers.

Jaclyn - posted on 09/13/2010

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My little girl's first night terror was when she was a little over 17 mos. I was scared to death. I had no clue what was wrong wiith her and was on the verge of taking her to the hospital. The next day it happened again when she woke up in the morning and again at nap time. I had no clue what was going on. She seemed so out of it. All I could do was hold her until she came out of it. They usually lasted about 30 minutes. I called the doctor and he told me what they were. So far, she hasn't had any more. KOW. Very scary.

Tiffany - posted on 09/03/2010

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Wow I had no idea there was a differance thank u so much reallly!! My daughter every so often wakes up screaming crying, and sometimes she crys for hours and takes alot to calm her down or sometimes its just like a sudden thing she screams for a mintue and goes right back to sleep, thanks for the info def going to look into it!!

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