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What to do about night terrors?

My 15 month old has recently been having night terrors! Completely different from nightmares. His eyes are open, but he is asleep, and he is walking around screaming. It's the most blood curdling scream ever. We cannot console him and when we try he just thrashes, kicks, and screams louder. WHAT DO I DO!!?? He's done it all week now. Anyone else have this problem? He doesn't eat sweets or drink any caffeine. No scary movies and a bed time routine we've done since birth.

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Asked by ZachysMom8608 at 1:26 AM on Nov. 29, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (4)
  • My son went through this too. I am lucky enough to work with a Child Behaviorist who specializes in sleep. What she told me is that this is really common in children under 4. they believe it is due to them not being able to communicate clearly yet; simular to tanrums. I noticed as he got older he began to talk in his sleep (still does) and the terrors becam less and less. He is 3 now and I can't remember when he had his last one. I hope this helps.

    Answer by NuttyMommyof2 at 1:39 AM on Nov. 29, 2009

  • My 15 month old has the same thing. Her doctor told us to let her wake up on her own cause if you try and wake theym up cause it can scare them worse. Just be there to hold them when they wake up. It's hard I know exactly what your going through. good luck :)

    Answer by Heidikans at 1:39 AM on Nov. 29, 2009

  • My son is 3 and he used to get night terrors all of the time. Now they're once in a blue moon(thank God).

    First it helps to understand what night terrors actually are. Obviously you know that they are different from nightmares because you can wake a child up from a nightmare. Night terrors are when they're transitioning from deep sleep to the REM cycle and get 'stuck' in between.

    The only thing you can do is wait it out. Make sure your son isn't in any danger of hurting himself and just wait it out.
    It's the hardest thing ever to watch your child scream like they're terrified and want nothing more than to make it all better, especially when they're calling for you like my son does.

    Sometimes it helps(if he's having a particularly bad one that doesn't end after about 10 minutes) if I get a damp cloth and gently sponge him with it. He tries to smack it away but eventually it wakes him up enough that he can be consoled.


    Answer by Laila-May at 8:26 AM on Nov. 29, 2009

  • We only do that as a LAST resort though. The more he's touched or talked to, even making eye contact with him can sometimes aggravate it more.

    It comforted us to know that he doesn't remember having them. They stop as quickly as they start and then he's either right back asleep or awake and happy, like nothing ever happened.
    Night terrors are harder on us parents. :)

    We noticed a big change when we got really strict with nap time and bedtime. Nap at 1pm every day, no earlier, no later. Bed at the same time every day. Same routine, same bed time.
    It really helped.
    Once we started that he went from having them every night to once a week, then once every couple of weeks, to now when it's rare to have them.

    Most nigh terrors are caused due to over tiredness and/or stress. Try really concentrating on having a strict nap and bed time and see if that helps.

    You're not alone. :)

    Answer by Laila-May at 8:33 AM on Nov. 29, 2009

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