baby dressed as a terror

What to do if your child has a night terror?

Being a parent is a rollercoaster ride filled with joy, laughter, and the occasional night terror. Yes, you heard that right—night terrors! If your child has ever experienced one of these frightful episodes, you know just how unsettling they can be. But fear not as we are here to guide you through the dark and stormy nights when night terrors strike.

What exactly are night terrors?

Before we dive into the survival guide, let's shed some light on what night terrors actually are. Night terrors are intense episodes of fear or terror that occur during sleep, typically in children aged 3 to 12. Unlike nightmares, which happen during REM sleep and are often remembered, night terrors occur during non-REM sleep and are usually forgotten by the morning (thank goodness for small mercies!).

Stay calm and carry on

When your child is in the midst of a night terror, it's important to remember that they are not awake and are unlikely to remember the episode in the morning. So, take a deep breath and try to stay calm. Easier said than done, right? 

Don't wake the beast (or your child)

One common mistake parents make during a night terror is trying to wake their child. Trust us, you don't want to wake the beast! Instead, focus on keeping your child safe by gently guiding them back to bed if they start wandering. Think of yourself as a sleepwalking shepherd, herding your little sheep back to the safety of their cozy bed.

Dim the lights and create a soothing atmosphere

While you can't prevent night terrors from happening, you can create a calming environment that may help reduce their frequency. Dim the lights in your child's bedroom and create a soothing atmosphere with a night light or some soft music. You could even sprinkle some magical dream dust (a.k.a. lavender essential oil) on their pillow to help them drift off into dreamland peacefully.

Keep a sleep diary 

If night terrors become a recurring event, it might be helpful to keep a sleep diary. Jot down the date, time, and any potential triggers or patterns you notice. Are the night terrors happening at a specific time each night? Did your child have an action-packed day before the episode? By channeling your inner detective, you may be able to uncover clues that can help you prevent future night terrors.

Consult the Sandman (a.k.a. a healthcare professional)

If your child's night terrors persist or significantly disrupt their sleep (and yours, let's be honest), it's always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance, reassurance, and rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to the night terrors. Plus, they might have some magical remedies up their sleeves!

Remember, this too shall pass

As challenging as night terrors may be, it's important to remember that they are usually a phase that children outgrow. So, hang in there, dear parent! Keep your sense of humor intact, embrace the quirks of parenthood, and know that you're not alone in this wild and wonderful journey

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