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How do I help my daughter through night terrors?

My daugher, who is 2, occasionally had night terrors. It does not happen as often as it used to but she still has them. She cries, kicks, screams, and hits. I have to try to talk her out of it but usually it last for 45 mins or so. When she was younger I would have to put her in the car and drive her around to calm her down. Since she is so much bigger and stronger now, I can not do this so I just have to wait it out. I don't think she is fully awake but she is aware of me and her surroundings. What do I do?

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Asked by Anonymous at 12:03 AM on Oct. 6, 2008 in General Parenting

Answers (4)
  • As an adult living with night terrors, I'll give you some tips that work for my DH.

    First, DO NOT wake her up unless she is putting herself in danger (about to walk into the street, picking up a weapon, etc). She appears to be awake, and physically she is, but her mind is still trapped inside the terror. She could even hallucinate, I know I do. I only remember them in the morning if DH had to wake me up. If he can keep me asleep through it, I feel fine in the morning and don't remember a thing.


    Answer by SamanthaAgain at 12:31 AM on Oct. 6, 2008

  • ...cont

    Also, don't try to convince her that it's "only a dream." It is VERY real to her and to have you telling her it's not is not only confusing, it could upset her more because you don't believe her. Try to find out what it is that's scaring her, and then tell her that Mommy made it go away. Just say over and over, "Mommy is here, Mommy made it all go away. See? It's all gone. Mommy made it go away and you're safe now" or something to that effect.

    If you want any more tips, feel free to PM me!

    Answer by SamanthaAgain at 12:31 AM on Oct. 6, 2008

  • I had night terrors as a child, and as an adult I still have them, I also have narcolepsy. Turns out sustained night terrors at a young age are an early warning sign for narcolapsy onset as an adult. Through the years I have learned to talk myself through them in my sleep, as a child I would eventually wake from them and then go sleep in my moms room. She generally just let me have them, because there really is nothing you can do while it is happening. She doesn't even realize you are there. I don't know if a sleep study at her age would be of any good, but you caould speak with your peiatrician about this.

    Answer by megmckn at 1:20 AM on Oct. 6, 2008

  • Maybe a little background on what a night terror is could be of some help. Most people reach REM sleep (the point of dreaming) after 20 to 30 minutes of deep sleep. This is a cycle that accurs through the night. Narcoleps or people with night terrors enter REM about 2 minutes after falling asleep. therefore they are dreaming while they are still concious. So where others have cut reality off from the dream world (due to the deep sleep) someone experienceing night terrors has no boundaries between fantasy and reality.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:26 AM on Oct. 6, 2008

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