Why do children cry at night, and what can i do to help ?

Gurli - posted on 02/05/2012 ( 7 moms have responded )




Hi :)

I as wondering if anyone has any tips for me here. My (almost) 3 year old son is having episodes where he cries, screams, talks and thrashes around the bed as if he is fighting someone, all while sleeping.

I've tried several times to wake him, but even that is a difficult task.

Can anyone tell me if there is anything i can do to help him, and if this in anyway affects him during the day, maybe the reason to crankyness?


Lindah Diane - posted on 08/18/2012




my 17 months old baby wakes up sometimes crying at night and it not because he wants milk or food.he will cry like that then later go back to sleep.so i just wanted to know if there is another reason he does that?;

Maren - posted on 02/06/2012




It is night terrors, which is very different from nightmares. I have done a lot of research as my daughter had them and so dose my son.

With night terrors they are not awake, and there is not much to be done to console them, if I even touch them they freak out more. It takes about 30 min then it is over and they are sound asleep again. Most important they do not remember any of it when the wake up.

With nightmares the wake up, talk to you and can tell you what is wrong, and they can remember all about it the next morning.

I sugest looking it up online as there are triggers that can cause it to happen. One of the most common is that they are overtiered when they go to bed (this is what always causes it in my kids). One great thing is they grow out of it. My daughter is now 5 and we hardly have episodes.


View replies by

Laura - posted on 02/06/2012




Night Terrors. I had them as a kid and I remember being able to see and hear my mom trying to wake me but still having the terrifying dream at the same time. I don't think that there is anything you can do except sit by him and speak soothingly. Touch him if he will let you. Don't get frustrated-he is terrified. Get him up and walk him to use the toilet or get a drink of water and just keep telling him "Mommy and Daddy are here, it's just a dream" over and over. He will grow out of it eventually.

I don't know about connections between diet and these things, but it wouldn't hurt to keep a food journal and see if there is some correlation, and certainly limiting length and type of TV watched could help as Heather said.

Good Luck!

Heather - posted on 02/06/2012




It's called, nightmares. All you can do is to hold him and talk him through it. Maybe ask him if he has to go potty, or wants a drink, sometimes that can help make them come out of it.

Turning on the light can sometimes help bring them out of it, but it might make them grumpy.

During the day, start writing down what he eats, if he has bad dreams that night, try cutting something out, less juice, sugar, things like that. Our son was having MAJOR issues with sugar. The more sugar he had, the worse his dreams were, and he had trouble falling asleep. So we have to watch what he eats and watches on TV.

On Nick Jr., Dino Dan used to give him bad dreams.

Lori - posted on 02/05/2012




My little girl is going through the same thing. It happens every so often where she will cry out and when I get in her room she won't let me touch her. She is kicking, screaming and crying. Her eyes are open the whole time as well. My husband happen to be in on the last one and we felt helpless. She finally woke up and we did what we could to sooth her and eventually get her back to sleep. The following day my husband looked up night terrors (we have friends whose son has them and has mentioned it to us). Everything he found online suggested that night terrors were probably the answer to the problem.

Good Luck and be patient with him. It is frustrating but if it is night terrors there isn't much you can do except let them pass.

Michelle - posted on 02/05/2012




I would say he is experiencing night terrors and unfortunately there is not much you can do just talk to him console him they do not recommend that you wake them. I am quite sure the daytime crankiness is due to him being 3 and nothing else.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms