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Nightmare and Night terrors

My dd is having nightmares (I think) several times a night. She wakes up screaming. I pick her up and she is okay and falls back asleep but after a couple hours she wakes up screaming again. (she is 16months). I never had this issue with my son. Any suggestions? Both my dd and I are exhausted in the morning. She can nap at daycare but I can't. Anyone else have experiance here?

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Asked by MamaWolf1981 at 1:40 PM on Jan. 18, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 17 (3,511 Credits)
Answers (7)
  • I'm going to tell you that i had the exact same problem with my niece at that age, and she's 5, but still going through it The doctor placed her on melatonin(a sleep aid), you can find it over the counter. He also told me that it could be a mood disorder as well.

    Answer by ambr2006 at 1:49 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • 1) No screen time.
    It is acknowledged by even the most UN-enlightened medical establishment that children under the age of 2 should have NO time in front of any screen - not TV programs, not TV video games, not TV "Baby Einstein" pseudo-educational videos, not games or any time at computer screens, not time with Wii or gameboy or x-box or whatever else.

    That's the minimum. Screen time before the age of about 12 is injurious to various aspects of every child's mental/academic ability & brain development, personality development (including basic will-power ! ), etc.

    I urge removing screens from your home - there's no way you can have one set up & waiting, and then NOT have incessant whining & conflict over children wanting to watch something.

    But if it's ... just ... not ... there ... ... poof !

    Suddenly they are attracted to healthy play !
    AND your household is cheerful and lively !

    Answer by waldorfmom at 1:54 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • 2) Healthy play.
    During sleep, the child is processing her day's experiences. Active play filled with imitating mama as she goes about her home tasks, hearing sing-song nursery rhymes, playing gesture sing-song games (like eentsy-weentsy spider - check Dover publications for books on such games) ... these give her enough to be working on, developing her brain-body coordination and her language development.

    3) Peace. If she must spend her day contending with more than four or five other people, she is going to go into stimulus overload. Add to that the fact that if she is not in the same room with you, then she is more vulnerable to being impacted by strong impressions. If you are in the room, then she feels an immediate security when something startling or bewildering happens - she looks to you and is reassured by your eyes that she's ok. A shouting child or loud noise, a rough action, falling down, hunger or cold (cont)

    Answer by waldorfmom at 2:03 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • 3) Peace (cont'd)
    A shouting child, loud noise - like a loud car engine driving by, or something landing on the floor with a bang; a rough action - like a child swinging something near your daughter, or throwing something; if she falls down; hunger or being cold; having to stay alert when she is tired ... all these things are very real stresses on a child younger than 5 or 6.

    Being forced to deal with too many impressions, and having to handle stress without her mother's presence to support and re-charge her ... this is emphatically too much to ask of ANY child.

    I've been a preschool teacher. When moms would phone to enroll a child under 4 1/2, I would ask if they absolutely COULD NOT give their child more time to stay at home.
    Everything I did with our preschool was geared toward giving the children a peaceful "day at home" experience, anyway !

    Children do not naturally play WITH others until they're at least 4.

    Answer by waldorfmom at 2:14 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • 4) Gentle bedtime
    No TV stuff for the last hour before bed
    Gradually turn off lights throughout the home, use candlelight where possible.
    Use singing to point toward bedtime ("White coral bells" or a lullaby while you gently put on pajamas) rather than giving commands or admonishing her ... Let her relax into your complete approval / acceptance, your utter delight and loving of who she is.

    (Of course this goes for all the rest of the day, too. Every child under 6 should get from adults nothing but pleased support. "Misbehavior" is a failure of the supervising adult to foresee and circumvent a problem. I KNOW this is true - I mothered 3 children, and I ushered over a hundred young children through day after day of happy cooperative play with very few problems, and with NO hurt feelings even when problems did arise. Such situations are ENTIRELY under the control of the adult, if only they'll take the trouble to learn.)

    Answer by waldorfmom at 2:23 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • 5) Nature.
    Depending on what time of night she is waking up, you might be dealing with a lack of sufficient encounter with Nature.
    There are aspects to Nature which are essential to healthy sleep.
    Seeing & handling plants; just being in the sunlight and fresh air; the whispering of the wind (and the negative ions which are recognized as crucial to health - heck, they sell little machines which emit negative ions for the truly nature-deprived ! ).
    Seeing and imitating the loving care of animals ...
    Handling toys which are from nature - wood instead of plastic; little open baskets of pine cones and horse chestnuts and shells instead of boxes of geometric shapes; dolls of cloth (look up Waldorf dolls, for instance) to be carried & cuddled; cloths of silk or wool or cotton to wrap toys in or to lay on the floor ...

    At bedtime, carry her outside. Warmly wrapped & in your arms, show her the stars & the moon.

    Best wishes !

    Answer by waldorfmom at 2:34 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

  • My son did that around 2. Finally we figured out he throught the spongebob faces on his sheets were biting him. Got rid of the sheets and no more screaming

    Answer by lstrickland at 5:14 PM on Jan. 18, 2011

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