Tag Archive | "night terrors"

Treatment For Night Terrors In Children

Night terror or sleep terror is far different from a nightmare. A toddler will wake up in the middle of the night yelling, sweating and with his eyes wide open but will not recognize you. It can be frustrating and scary, but you can stop this sleep disorder. Here is a guide about the treatment for night terrors in children.

Do Not Attempt To Wake Your Toddler

Naturally, your intuition will be to soothe your toddler. But, if you wake him up, you will only confuse him and make him more frantic. Do not try to hold or shake him either. Remember, a child who wakes up with a night terror is still asleep even if his eyes are open. Be patient. Just wait it out as long as he does not hurt himself. Within 10 to 30 minutes, your toddler should calm down, fall into deep sleep again and will not have any recollection of the episode in the morning.

Focus On Keeping Your Toddler Safe

Make sure you remove any objects that he can possibly hurt himself with during an episode. Remove the bedcovers off of him. Store sharp objects. Keep his bedroom floor free from clutter. Install a child safety gate on the staircase.

Establish A Soothing Bedtime Routine

Another treatment for night terrors in children is setting a bedtime routine. The activities during the day can overwhelm and stress a toddler. Hence, it is very important for him to have a bedtime ritual to help him transition to sleep. Start by having dinner, playing quiet games (e.g. jigsaw puzzles or drawing), giving him a bath and a glass of warm milk, reading a book and end the ritual with lots of cuddling.

Wake Your Toddler Before An Episode

Determine what time his night terrors usually transpire. For example, if night terrors occur in the first few hours of sleep, quietly rouse your toddler 15 minutes after he has been asleep for 2 hours. Set your alarm clock so you can wake up before an episode and then awaken your toddler. Have a quiet chat, sing a lullaby, have him drink water, lead him to the potty or press a washcloth to his neck or feet. You can also keep a spray bottle filled with water near his bed and squirt water on his face until he wakes up. These techniques are very effective in disrupting your toddler’s sleep cycle and prevent night terrors.

Get Adequate Sleep

It is very important for toddlers to get enough sleep. Toddlers who go to bed worn out are more prone to experience sleep disorders. To avoid exhaustion, let your toddler sleep a little later in the morning, extend his nap time and put him to bed a few minutes earlier at night.

Stay Calm

Lastly, the most effective treatment of night terrors in children is keeping your composure. Sure, it can be uncomfortable hearing your toddler scream or seeing him flailing his arms but try to stay calm until the night terror has passed. The more relax you are, the calmer your toddler will become.

Night terrors normally last only a few weeks. But, if your toddler’s night terrors continue, it would be best to talk to your pediatrician and ask for other treatment options.

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November 2017
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