Night Terrors

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My little peanut has started having night terrors again.  The poor little thing.

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We have realized that they tend to come when she’s really tired or when she is sick/has something coming on.  If she has missed her nap or had a long day out, she will definitely have one that night.  But sometimes she has them during the day when she’s taking a nap.  Twice this week I found her sitting up in her bed crying in the middle of her nap time, with her eyes opened and a terrified expression on her face.   
The other day I brought her downstairs to snuggle in the rocking chair, turned on some cartoons, and talked calmly with her.  She asked to go to the bathroom, still clearly in the middle of it, and when I picked her up to carry her out of the bathroom and back to the chair, she suddenly snapped out of it, turned to me and said, “Mom, when did you carry me down the stairs?  That’s silly!  Mom, I really like when you carry me downstairs.”
It was the strangest thing.  I have heard that kids don’t remember what is going on when they’re in the middle of a night terror:  They don’t remember what they’ve dreamed about or what they’ve done.  But this was the first time that I had experienced that with her.
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Last night Hannah was very tired after a day without a nap (despite many attempts on my part) and a long night with friends.  About an hour after I had put her down she was awake crying and it took a good twenty-some minutes for her to fully snap out of it.  Chris and I each tried various things but it felt strangely like when you have a screaming newborn and no idea how to calm them down.  One person tried, and then the other, and then back again.  Rocking, singing, cartoons, all the lights, low lights, no lights, drink of water, etc.  I’ll admit to be a little rattled by the whole thing.  At times she was gripping my neck, thrashing her legs, eyes wide open and calling for me to snuggle her, even though that is exactly what I was doing.
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She doesn’t seem to remember what has happened and I try not to suggest to her that she’s had a bad dream, because I don’t want to plant that in her mind.  
That said, the other day she DID have a bad dream.  I don’t know what could be as sad as her description of it.  
Mom, the nightmare came into my bed and scared my feelings.
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We do a series of calm-down and snuggle-in bedtime rituals.  They have a bath every night, followed by pjs, and story time.  Then I tuck them in, pray with them, give kisses and snuggles and then I’m out.  There is a nightlight in their room, the bathroom light beside their room stays on, and Hannah has a Dream Light pillow that shines purple stars and a friendly butterfly face on the ceiling.  Hannah and Jayce usually chat and giggle a bit before they fall asleep with a series of cuddly animals, blankets, and pillows.  
I don’t really know what else I could do from that end as preventative measures.  We can’t just leave her alone to snap out of it since she shares a room with Jayce and it would wake him, so we normal do some combination of snuggling, talking, and trying to get her to take a drink of water, which sometimes seems to help.  But if anyone has any other tried and true methods I would love to hear about them!!
(PS-These pictures are from the playground outside of Batman’s house.)  

3 thoughts on “Night Terrors

  1. My youngest had night terrors (also sharing a room), it is so hard to deal with and distressing for you, them, and any other children. I think you are doing all of the right things, I just cuddled mine until he was ok and then back to bed. Occasionally at 4.5 years he will still wake up but he comes into our room and just needs a little hug – like he needs to check we are still here. I know many don't believe in it but we used a homeopathic remedy for him and it did seem to make a big difference. Keep doing what you are doing – hopefully it is a phase that will pass soon.

  2. Hi Erin,

    I would suggest that Hannah sleeps with you and your husband for some time.
    I myself was a child with night terrors for many years, and my 2.5 year old also has some. And sleeping together really helps… Otherwise, I would talk to her what does the nightmare look like, does, says, maybe try to draw it and then write, draw, say to the nightmare that would assure Hannah, that she cannot be harmed. Make the nightmare funny, think of it in funny ways etc. Something like that. But first, sleeping together, for the first aid. Best wishes… Ajda

  3. I'm just reading your specifics on the night terror thing. I feel you. We would pass back and forth too… and I agree with the…well, they are having a nightmare, but they don't remember it in the morning, so it's not like I want to talk to them about nightmares they don't know they are having… thing. Our best solution was walking outside, the fresh air would help. Sometimes my boy would thrash so hard that I would lay him down on the floor for a minute, then pick him back up and that sometimes made him easier to soothe. My daughter was crying 'want mommy, want mommy!' last night as I was holding her. But hers are short lived so not as bad. Good luck!!

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