when does a child grow out of having night terrors?

Anna - posted on 01/28/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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my son will be 4 in June and ever since I can remember he has been kicking and screaming while sleeping..it's awful

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Tabitha - posted on 01/28/2010

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Everything I have read says around the age of 7 normally! but it can (rarely) continue into adulthood. My uncle has them to the point that his wife and kids have been hit by his flailing and kicking (and he is quite a large man). my 5 yr old also has them. His had gotten so bad due to transitioning to school, undiagnosed ear infection, surgery and anesthesia associated with it that they were happening every night and lasting in excess of 30 minutes. We talked to our pediatrician and decided to put him on melatonin every night before bed. It has been a life and sanity saver. But that may not be the route you want to go unless they are severe terrors. Over tiredness, stress, and over stimulation can result in more frequent and longer terrors. it is also hereditary. So if you or his dad had them talk to grandparents and find out at what age you grew out of them. I also read somewhere that because they usually happen around the same time (if bed time is the same) about 1-2 hours after falling asleep, that you can do planned waking. It requires that 10-15 mins before the episode normally starts you go in and gently wake the child enough to go potty or have a drink of water or something and then let them drift back off to sleep. I haven't tried this but maybe I will with my 2 yr old who has begun having them. Anything that is not harmful and can possibly save my sanity is worth a shot. For others who are new to night terrors don't feel bad that you pretty much can't comfort your child. It is basically like being stuck in a very vivid bad dream that you will never remember. Watching one happen is a lot worse than experiencing it first hand. Believe me from personal experience they don't have a clue anything is happening and they never remember it. Sometimes your talking and trying to hold or comfort can actually increase agitation. The main thing is being there until it passes so that the environment remains safe as sometimes they can include kicking, hitting, screaming, crying, throwing themselves around, and moving all around the room.

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Heather - posted on 08/11/2015

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My son's been having night terrors since the age off about 3 he's nearly 6 now and still has them some weeks are bad having them most nights and some weeks not so bad once a week it's the worst thing to watch he's shouting for me even when I'm holding him pointing to things in the room he's just had one about 10 mins ago I sat with him trying to calm him down he's shouting my name the worst look of terror on his face saying things like mum there going to get me and even though he's had then for years it still makes me want to cry but I found out the best why for me to bring him out of it is to take him into the garden he soon wakes up and I just take him back up to bed and he goes straight back to sleep like it never happened. if I didn't take him outside it would go on for ages

S. - posted on 01/28/2010

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my daughter was one of the youngest cases my doctor had seen. she's just turned 2 and ant had one for about 6 months thankfully.
I got told to do nothing but make sure she never came to any harm whilst she was screaming and thrashing. I would sit and just cry 4 her sometimes, i must say it got to much and i would climb in her cot hold her and sing and it worked for her most of the time.

they say the child dose not remember ANYTHING and the "terror" part is what the mum/dad go through.

my nephew also had them till he was about 5 or 6 as horrible as it may sound my sister had to be FIRM with him (not shouting) she would simply say "corey get back in bed and stop bean silly" "calm down now" if she tryed talking nice, hugging him that kind of thing it would only make him worse.

It is awful and I wish I knew what set them off, I hope he grow's out of them soon x

Debbie - posted on 01/28/2010

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my son had them too but he grew out of them by the age of 5. i found the best things was too take in a cool flannel and wipe their face with it until he calmed down as it brought him out of it gently but only enough for him to calm down and drift back off to sleep. hope this helps

Laura - posted on 01/28/2010

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I may have a suggestion for night terrors. My second daughter had them really bad when she was about 4. Every night was a fight... what I ended up doing with her was that I picked something sweet. We used care bears... I went out and bought her a few and lined them on her bed around her head and then I also bought a few movies of the care bears. Every night before bed we would watch one of the movies and after it was over I would explian to her that the care bears would protect her from the bad dreams. I though if she went to bed with happy thoughts then it might help with the dreams and it did. Worked wonderful. It took about a week or so. But after so long she would go to bed saying that the care bears would protect her. She slept that way until she was 7. And even now, she keeps one care bear hidden in her bed ( she is to old for them now), but she says its there to protect her. Then about a year ago, I told my daughters teacher about it. She was having the same problem and she tried it. She also said that it worked wonderful.. Its just a suggestion and I wish I still had the stuffed animals for my son if he ever goes through that. But try putting him to bed with happy thoughts. Good luck to you... :)

Stacy - posted on 01/28/2010

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I have been told it can take years. I feel your pain, my son does the same thing. It is very awful, they are calling for you and you are right in front of them. It is also more common in boys than girls. I have tried not giving my son any sure before bed, I have also been told that a friend of mine, her father has nightmares at night if he has sugar before bed. My son definately doesnt have them as often and i can tell when he has had sugar or not, but all kids are different! Good Luck.

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