We’ve been quite blessed with how well our little man sleeps at night. We co-slept for the first year of his life and managed to transfer him to cot then to bed with out too much hassle. But sadly a couple of years ago our little man started to experience night terrors on almost a fortnightly basis. Some weeks he can experience multiple terrors in one night and on consecutive nights.
Luckily the night terrors are not as memorable for our little man, with him never remembering the terrible occurrence. Unfortunately we are not so lucky, each night terror almost seems more terrible than the last and they are quite horrible to witness. We’re hopeful he starts to grow out of them soon but until then we thought we would share our tips on how to cope with night terrors. Because to be honest when you witness your child have their first night terror, you really wish there is something you can do to make sure they never experience another one. Even if you can’t prevent them, there are ways you can help to make the moment less terrifying.
Never attempt to wake your child if they are sleeping through the terror. M has the appearance of being awake when experiencing a terror, but it becomes very clear that he is not fully awake as soon as the terror passes.
Cuddles and soothing sounds in our experience have reduced the length of the terror. Quite often M will thrash his arms and reach to bat away whatever is scaring him. We let M know he is safe and that we are there to protect him and cuddle him.
Try and keep your child’s bedroom cool. 90% of M’s terrors occur when he’s a little warmer than usual. We’ve swapped heavier duvets out for thinner duvets and replaced long pj bottoms with shorts when his terrors are at their worst.
Keep your calm and remember a night terror doesn’t last forever. Yes they are awful and feel like they last forever, but your child will calm down and the best thing you can do is remain calm throughout. It may be easier said than done, but practicing calming breathing can help.
Catch the start of a terror early. We have noticed a pattern when M experiences his night terrors. He can become restless or start to whimper before the full force of the terror hits. If we are lucky we can provide enough reassurance to prevent the full force of a terror and it’s wrath. This tip is not 100% effective every time as night terrors seem to have no overall pattern. But at times it works for us, so it’s worth a mention.
Finally, remember you are not alone in the parenting world, you are always one tweet away from someone else witnessing a night terror. You are not the reason for the night terrors and they will pass.
Let us know how you cope with night terrors by leaving a comment below. We are always interested in offering support and hearing from others experiencing the nightmare of night terrors.