Having a child who experiences night terrors can be extremely frightening for a parent.

But, it won’t bother the child. In the morning, they won’t remember the episode!

Night terrors are a type of sleep disturbance –  a partial awakening from a deep, non-dream sleep that occurs in the first two to three hours after going to bed. Really, the child’s mind is asleep but their body is awake. During night terrors, the child may sit bolt upright, cry out, scream, moan, mumble or thrash about with eyes wide open. It’s the eyes wide-open that gives the impression the child is awake. They aren’t. Their eyes won’t be registering anything they see.

That’s why they won’t respond to your efforts to comfort them.

Experts do not recommend trying to wake a child during night terrors, because that will leave them disoriented and confused. Unless the child is in danger of hurting themselves, the best thing to do is to place yourself between the child and any danger and wait for the storm to pass. If it’s necessary to speak, do so calmly.

Night terrors can last up to 40 minutes, after which time the child will relax and fall quickly back to sleep. Though they are alarming to witness, they are not usually a cause for concern or a sign of a deeper medical issue. Night terrors are more common in young children and most will grow out of them by about age 12.

Unlike nightmares, which children often remember, a child won’t have any memory of a night terror the next day because they were in deep sleep when it happened. There will be no mental images for the child to recall. So, it’s best not to discuss the night terror with the child the next day – that could make them anxious about going to bed.

There is no known way to prevent night terrors because no one knows exactly what causes them. Certain factors may trigger them – like fever, medications, caffeine, lack of sleep or family history – but no one is sure.

What is sure is that night terrors do not mean a child has a psychological problem or is upset about something. It’s just something they (and their parents!) go through.

If you feel that you need a quality learning childcare centre in Mt. Wellington for your child’s great start in life, feel free to contact us at 573 1293.

photo by: babyclub.asda