Tag Archives: night terrors

Parenting Advice: How Do I Help My Child Who Has Night Terrors?

My daughter has had what her pediatrician calls ‘night terrors’ for years.

Ever since she was about two years old and about 2 hours after she falls asleep, she will start stirring and then begin whimpering, sometimes she’ll cry out, and sometimes she’ll scream.  She usually sits up and rocks back and forth while she’s sitting up during a night terror, which I have to admit, kind of freaks me out. There are usually no tears involved and she doesn’t remember it the next morning.

child bedroomThese are apparently signs of night terrors.  My question for the pediatrician was, what on earth could she be having night terrors about at such a young age?

Her answer.. she could be having night terrors about anything.

Dropping a cup, falling down the stairs, bumping into a wall, shutting her finger in a cabinet door, Tom & Jerry fighting, or Sponge Bob Square Pants.. in general.  I would have night terrors if I watched that show.  Sheesh.

What we tried:

My husband and I used to try to wake her up and comfort her but quickly learned that made it worse.  She would get angry and would shove us and things would escalate.   It was hard to let her go through a night terror alone but her pediatrician told us to not go in her room while she was having a night terror so we backed off.

What we do now:

These are just a few things that we do that we think helps her sleep comfortably at night.  Doing these things does not stop night terrors from happening.

  • We always keep the baby video monitor on at night so we can see her.
  • We do NOT go into her room.
    Her pediatrician told us that it is important to not go into her room while she’s having a night terror unless she is in danger of hurting herself by falling off of her bed or hitting her head on the bookshelf behind her bed.  We keep a close eye on the video baby monitor at night to make sure that during a night terror, she’s not about the fall off the bed or hurt herself.
  • We never try to wake her during a night terror.
  • Sometimes, the next morning, we’ll ask her if she remembers any dreams, to gauge how much of an impact the night terror had on her.   Every once in a while she’ll remember having a dream but has rarely remembered details of a bad dream.
  • We keep a sound machine on in her room to block all outside noises in hopes of keeping her in a deep sleep.
  • Up until very recently we had bed rails on both sides of her bed so she wouldn’t rock herself off the bed during a night terror.  We took the bed rails off about six months ago and she’s keeping herself on her bed just fine, so far.  Fingers crossed.
  • We use a light blocking shade on her window so if she does wake up in the middle of the night, the outside lights won’t disturb her.
According to WebMD, night terrors usually peak at around 3 1/2 years old. She’s 6-years-old and they are definitely slowing down but I feel terrible that she still experiences night terrors at all.  They also state that night terrors usually happen about 90 minutes after the child falls asleep.
If your child has night terrors you will find some valuable information on the whats and whys of night terrors here on WebMD.

Do you have any night terror tips you’d like to share with me?

My questions to you is did or does your child have night terrors?
If so, how long did these night terrors go on and did you do anything to try to stop them?

Do you do something that you feel helps keep your child from having night terrors?


I am not affiliated with WedMD.  I found that WebMD provides good information about night terrors but I do not endorse WebMD nor am I compensated by WebMD.