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Is it okay to talk to a sleepwalking child to direct him back to bed?

My little boy has been sleepwalking the past couple of nights. I was discussing the situation with a friend. I mentioned that I would talk to him to direct him back to bed. She said I'm not supposed to talk or wake him when he is sleepwalking.


Asked by HYIG at 10:01 PM on Jul. 15, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (13)
  • It is fine to guide him back to bed and even to wake him up. It is a myth that you should not wake up a sleep walker. Here is an article in the New York Times explaining where the old wives tale comes from. It recommends guiding the person back to bed by the arm/elbow.


    Answer by Octobersmom at 9:23 AM on Jul. 16, 2009

  • I'm not a doctor, but I've always heard your aren't supposed to wake them up. I think if you aren't waking him up by talking to him then it's fine. If you're worried though, maybe you could just try physically re-directing him without saying anything, like just put your hand on his back or shoulder && direct him that way. But like I said, I'm not a doctor.

    Answer by HisMommySince07 at 10:06 PM on Jul. 15, 2009

  • I have a son who STILL sleepwalks and he's 23. He began around age 3. We didn't know you should never startle a sleep walker. One night a noise woke us up and he was in the kitchen eating out of the fridge. My husband raised his voice like "Mark, What are you doing up" My son had a seizure. No residual harm from it but we got a good education after that. Never startle or force a sleepwalker to do something. Speak in a soft, gentle voice. With my son I would take his hand and tell him okay lets go back to bed. Usually, he would follow calmly, crawl in to bed and never remembered a thing about it. We did have to put a lock HIGH on the outside doors. He walked out the front door at 5 and down 2 streets to my best friends house. It scared us. Aa he grew the events became fewer except when he was really stressed. That's when they get bad even now. Lots of kids walk in their sleep and grow out of it.

    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 10:13 PM on Jul. 15, 2009

  • Talking is okay in a GENTLE voice. I wouldn't try to wake him but direct him back to bed yes.

    Answer by MamiJaAyla at 10:59 PM on Jul. 15, 2009

  • my now 5 yr old does this, he has since he was 3, i just either take his hand and take him back to bed or talk to him, somehow he hears me and listens, the whole thing baffles me how they do that lol. i would say if talking to him or helping him back to bed works, then do it =)

    Answer by skennedy_82 at 11:28 PM on Jul. 15, 2009

  • i have one that started at 3 and at 9 she is still sleepwalking. just simply redirect the child to where they need to be and make sure they go back to "sleep". waking a child during ambulism or a night terror is not so much a big deal until it is done on a recurrent basis. continual waking of a child during these episodes on a nightly basis over a long period of time will redirect thinking and cognitive development and can also cause learning disorders when chronic.
    my oldest started at 4 with night terrors and it lasted exactly one year, i just redirected both kids back to bed and back to sleep.
    this too shall pass! good luck. :)

    Answer by jewjewbee at 8:07 AM on Jul. 16, 2009

  • my sisters and i ALL sleepwalk, when they were little they would get up and i would calmly say, "annie, go back to bed," and she'd get back in bed and fall asleep. my husband used to tell me stories of me getting up and asking him weird things and he'd just tell me to go back to bed and i would.

    my mom says that her own brother used to elicit secrets from her when she would sleepwalk :P so save that in your arsenal for when your son is a teenager!

    Answer by mellypoo at 8:28 AM on Jul. 16, 2009

  • My oldest son(11) sleepwalks.....has done as long as I can remember. We never try to wake him...I also heard that you're not supposed to do that. We just say his name and tell him to go back to bed(we do follow and/or help if he needs it) Then the next morning...he remembers nothing.

    Answer by how_reb at 8:38 AM on Jul. 16, 2009

  • I used to sleepwalk a lot.My parents never woke me up.You are not supposed to do that.I had a friend my neighbor sleepwalk.He was pretty bad at sleepwalking he used to go outside.One time he went walking down the street thank god he did not go on the freeway.We used to live around the corner from the freeway.He walked two blocks but he grew out of it thank god.

    Answer by monica-alvarez at 9:03 AM on Jul. 16, 2009

  • People have gotten severely harmed and one man was even hit by a truck while running in the street while sleep walking. Talk to your child's DR if you are nervous about it. Most children do out grow it however.

    Answer by Octobersmom at 9:25 AM on Jul. 16, 2009