Night terrors are very common amongst kids from the age of 3 and up to 12 years old. Many parents are scared for their children when they have them. Here is everything you need to know about night terrors, why they happen, and what you can do when your child has one.
What are night terrors?
Night terrors are when a child has bad dreams that he or she cannot awake from. During those episodes, children might scream, lash out, or jump out of bed while being half asleep. In some cases, when parents try to wake their children from those terrors, the child might not fully understand that their mum or dad are trying to help them.
They usually happen to children between the age of 3 years old and 8 years old. And those episodes usually happen in the early part of the night and some might last for 15 minutes. Other children might experience those terrors more than once a night.
How are they different from nightmares?
Many parents think that both nightmares and night terrors are the same. But in fact, they are not. Children might remember nightmares, but they are unlikely to remember their night terrors. And unlike night terrors, children can get over nightmares more easily. Also, nightmares are usually caused by a bad experience like watching a scary movie. But night terrors are usually inherited.
Are night terrors as dangerous as they sound?
No, they are not as dangerous as they sound. They are often an indicator that your child might have sleeping disorders. And in this case, the best thing to do is to see a sleep consultant. As we mentioned before, sleep terrors are not caused by crucial factors like psychological stress or disorders. But they are usually triggered by being overtired.
Can they be treated?
Many experts assure parents that children grow out of night terrors. Some would do so by the age of 8, while others by the age of 12. Either way, seeing a sleeping consultant might be more useful. And if it was caused by a certain disorder, the consultants can help you and your child through it.
Most parents start seeking help if things get out of hand. Like their child having more than one episode a night. Or when a child keeps having night terrors even after the age of 12. We highly recommend seeing someone about this. Because they will be able to put your mind at ease. They will also know if it can be easily treated, or it needs more attention.
Why do they happen to kids?
Night terrors can happen when the family has a history of sleep disorders or sleepwalking. However, there are somethings that can trigger them for children, such as:
- – Not getting enough sleep
- – Tiredness
- – Fever
- – Over excitement
- – Anxiety
- – Sudden noises
- – A full bladder
What can I do when my child has one?
1| talk to your child. Try to understand what is worrying them.
2| Establish a good and steady bedtime routine.
3| Help your child relax before bedtime
4| Seek help if need be.
5| If it happens, remain calm and stay with your child as it passes.
6| Don’t try to wake your child. This might cause more stress and confusion.
7| You can calmly hold your child and soothe them if they don’t get stressed by it.
Finally, we recommend you keep the conversation open with your little one. This will make this phase easier on the both of you.