Life Hacks for parents? Let's share.

Toccara - posted on 03/16/2015 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I have a 15 and 11 year old. I'm helping my sister raise her 3 year old and newborn. I work in the medical field and need some assistance. The 3 year old appears to be having night terrors. What will work to help her through it? My sister doesn't want to medicate her daughter. Any suggestions?

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Toccara - posted on 03/24/2015

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Thank you so much for your response. It certainly could be coming from the new baby. She has been an only child for 3 years and started having what did turn out to be night terrors when it was almost time for her little brother to be born. They do not share a space but her room is directly across the hall from the nursery. He does tend to wake often throughout the night and his cry echoes the entire upstairs. I have looked into a white noise machine but I am uncertain on which would be the best to help my niece as of yet. Thank you so much for your help. I will keep you posted on our progress.

Rebekah - posted on 03/16/2015

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Medication is not necessary for night terrors, if that is what it is. Did she check with the pediatrician to rule out anything else, or confirm that it is night terrors? There is a lot of good information out there about night terrors, what might trigger them, and how to respond. She should look into it more in depth.

Basically, night terrors occur when someone is "stuck" between two sleep stages. It is more distressing for the parent (to witness the behavior) than for the child, who generally remembers nothing about it. The night terror usually has to run its course--waking the child in the midst of the terror is not advised. It is suggested that the parent stand by and just be sure the child is not at risk of harming themselves while in the midst of it; keep them safe, and it will pass eventually. Be aware of what might trigger the child's terrors (sometimes being overtired, having fevers, or a change in routine, or sleeping away from home, etc), and try to prevent what you can---like being sure she is getting decent sleep and on a consistent routine. If night terrors are very frequent and disruptive, some parents will wake the child just before the terror would occur (being aware of the timing of sleep stages), and then have them return to sleep--I think the idea is to circumvent the period of them being stuck. I never had to try that myself with my son... he would have them a few nights a week for a while, and then he grew out of it eventually.

Is the daughter stressed or overtired/off routine because of the newborn? Do they share the same bedroom? Just curious... having a newborn in the house might contribute to throwing a sibling off routine or getting tired from interrupted sleep (if baby is up several times at night and potentially waking her up). If they do share space, try to find a way to separate them, or quiet the 3 year old's environment at night so she can get more solid sleep. (like a white noise machine, for example). Just a thought.

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