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Dealing with Night Terrors

by Rosanne Lorraine | November 18th, 2008 | Preschool

NightmareSeveral hours after you put your child to bed, you hear a shill scream of “Mommy!” coming from his room. Frantically, you race toward his room to see him crying hysterically while curled up in his bed.  But as you try to get closer, he pushes you away only to call out for his mom again, not knowing that you are by his side. This is the scary scenario of a night terror.

Kids who suffer from night terror cry, scream, and often are hysterical. They won’t be consoled even by the person who they are calling out to for help. The reason is that the child is still sleeping although his eyes may be open. As quickly as the night terror began, it stops. And the child won’t remember what happened the next day.

How to Deal with It

You can actually make night terror episodes worse by cuddling your child. During an episode, the child may feel like she is being chased or trapped and holding her may aggravate this feeling. The night terror becomes more traumatic for her so try to avoid physical contact with her as much as possible. Instead, talk in a comforting voice, play melodic music, or read from her favorite book to calm her down. After the night terror is over, the child will resume sleeping.

MonsterPreventing the night terror is also possible. Typically, these episodes will occur at the same time each night. You can wake up the child around 30 minutes before the night terror is bound to occur, and you should stay for a while to read a book, talk, or sing.

It is important for you to understand that problematic sleep patterns are the main cause of night terror. Knowing your child’s tolerance level for work and activity is also essential. That way, you won’t overload your child and aggravate the problem.

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