Night terrors? Or what could it be? Anyone else have this issue with their toddler?

Adrienne - posted on 09/30/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )

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My son is almost 18 months. He has been waking up yelling like he was scared for the past two weeks or so. Its not every day but is at least three times a day. When he wakes up like that it is hard to get him back to sleep. He acts really scared when he is yelling and crying. Anyone else have this?

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Fit2BMe - posted on 09/30/2011

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My son had night terrors when he was around 6-8 months, and then again when he was about 1.5 years. It was scary! Night terrors looked quite different from a bad dream, for us. He would be sleeping peacefully, and then suddenly start screaming and crying, even shaking and pushing us away. He seemed awake, but wasn't really, and was inconsolable. Sometimes they would last for a minute, sometimes 10 minutes even. They were not every night, and his sleeping habits were otherwise near perfect.
The doctor is the one who explained it to us, and reassured us that he will naturally move trough this phase, but apparently sudden development or brain growth/learning can be a factor.

We gave him some magnesium/calcium supplements, in low doses to calm his system before bed. When the night terrors happened, we did not try to wake him, we just gentle held him and reassured him until they passes. If our holding him was upsetting we just stayed with him and tried to help ease him into sleep. Apparently, the recommendation is not to try and wake them or hold them too tight as this may cause confusion or make it worse.
It can be scary and very upsetting! I don't think there's any real right or wrong answer. Just try to soothe and love your babe and mention it to the pediatrician.
Sorry you're having to go through this. It will pass.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/30/2011

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Calcium and potassium go hand in hand, so make sure he is getting plenty of bananas...one per day should do.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/30/2011

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I do agree that deficiencies in vitamins can do wacky things to our bodies...I am sure it can effect our sleeping habits and dreams...but putting a knife under your pillow??? Yeah not so much. Just give a multi vitamin and watch the iron intake. It can be lethal to kids in large doses. I prefer iron free vitamins and my kids eat lots of beans and greens.

Bonnie - posted on 09/30/2011

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Yeah I figured that, if anything, but how does that help the inner body?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/30/2011

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I am thinking she is going with the iron deficiency angle...she mentioned iron.

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Yvette - posted on 10/10/2011

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My 6 yr old has been having night terrors since she was about 2 yrs old. I notice it happens when she doesn't nap or she is exhausted. I also notice it happens within an hour after she falls asleep. Try not to wake your child, try to comfort the child by patting their back or just saying its okay mommies here. Sometimes none of that worked and my daughter would just scream and kick. She would sometimes stiffen up and swing! It was horrible. She is now 6 yrs old and it doesn't happen as often. She skips her naps now because her bedtime is now 730pm since she has to wake up at 615am to get ready for school. Keep a log or diary. Write down what foods they eat, how much, what time and what kind of activity they had. For example did the child swim that day or play at the park? Were they exhausted or did they have a mellow day. You'll figure out what nights it happens. Lately I notice that even though she doesn't nap she can sleep all night as long as she eats early but if she has a late dinner then she may wake up crying. Oh praying with my daughter helps. I also would ask her if she remembers crying. She never does no matter how terrible of an experience it might have been. So I tell her if she wakes up crying to say to herself "its okay, go to sleep, Jesus protects me". She has actually done it and goes right back to sleep.
Good luck!

Deepa - posted on 10/01/2011

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I agree with you as iron or knife has nothing to do with inner body. and the educated people cannot be convinced with this.But believe me its been practised since ages in our country and it works.Anything made out of iron can be put near the child...I think it has do something with strength or bad vibrations.Secondly,child's ca+ level shud be checked.

Adrienne - posted on 09/30/2011

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Thank you! My older son has night terrors and my husband experiences them too. But I never had a baby do it. So yes, it is quite stressful. I will try some supplements and see how that works. You ladies are awesome! Thank each of you so much!!

Adrienne - posted on 09/30/2011

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I mean he has them at least three times a WEEK! LOL!! Not a day. Not sure about the iron keys and knife either. But I will start giving him iron free vitamins and see if that works. He still drinks plenty of milk so not sure about the calcium but didn't think of the iron. Thanks ladies!!

Bonnie - posted on 09/30/2011

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It could be night terrors or separation anxiety---he wakes up and sees you are not there.

Bonnie - posted on 09/30/2011

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I'm sorry, but seriously, what would putting a knife or keys under a pillow do? Not to mention that is totally unsafe.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/30/2011

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WHAT???????? DO NOT PUT A KNIFE UNDER YOUR CHILDS PILLOW!

Deepa - posted on 09/30/2011

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Put the iron knife or keys below his pillow or near him while sleeping and also check his calcium supplement.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/30/2011

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I know a close friend who had this problem. The only suggestion I have is to immediately address this with your pediatrician. It could be any number of reasons from teething, growth spurts, hunger, pain, and yes, night terrors.

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