Waking up in the mid of the night, hearing your child’s shrill shriek, can leave most parents uncomfortable. You believe that she must have seen a bad dream and try to console her, but she seems tense, and still continues asking for help and it takes some good deal of time for her to come back to normal.
Well, you mustn’t confuse it with the regular nightmares, as it can be a case of night terrors. And to just about confirm the thing, the next morning ask your child about the night’s episode, and the child is most likely not to remember what happened at night. As for night mares the child would generally remember some thing about what happened.
Generally associated with children in the age group of 3-5 years, night terrors can disrupt the normal sleep cycle of the child. This phenomenon is mostly observed when the growing child gives up his usual afternoon naps and goes on to enjoy just one long nights sleep, like most grownups. The result of this disrupted sleep cycle is the most probable cause associated with night terrors.
Treating night terrors
Cuddling your child may actually lengthen the terror chapter. In most cases your child feels trapped or chased during night terrors, and hugging a child will add force to these feelings, thus in turn making the night terror episode even more harrowing for your child. Talk softly and slowly when you try to comfort your child, you could also try singing a lullaby or reading a story to clam down the terrified child. Once you are successful in pulling out your child from the terror zone, your child will go back to sleep.
Normally, night time terrors come about at the same time every night, so walk up to your child about half an hour in advance and spend about 10 to 15 minutes with your child, so as to break the sleep cycle.
A Note on Prevention
As a prevention strategy learn about your child’s tolerance level, and try not over load the child with hectic and tiring schedules. Observe his sleep patterns and try avoiding deviations from the regular sleep schedule. And on busy days, think about adding a short daytime nap or letting the child go to bed a bit early, than usual.