16 Answers

My 2.5yo DS has a recurring nightmare which we thought we had helped him get on top of, but last night he was inconsolable, crying, screaming, shaking and just miserable. I ended up bringing him to the spare Queen bed with me, where he eventually dropped off to sleep again as long as he had a hand or leg touching me.

Posted by Minkiboo, 4th June 2014

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  • Helping your child settle back down after a nightmare may be hard, but she still needs those last few hours of sleep. Start by holding her or rubbing her back and reassuring her that everything’s all right. Explaining “It was just a dream” most likely won’t mean much to a 2-year-old, but you can say something like “You were just pretending in your sleep.” Double-check under the bed and in spooky-looking closets, or talk about a happy memory (her best buddy’s birthday party, for instance). Try not to minimize your little one’s fears (don’t say, “Oh, there’s nothing to be afraid of”). As much as possible, encourage your child to fall back asleep in her own room to teach her that it’s a safe space — and definitely avoid adopting a ritual of bringing her into your bed every time she has a nightmare.
    Once your child gets a bit older, you can ask her to describe her nightmare after she’s calmed down a bit and you sense it won’t upset her further. Talking things through can help your child understand that her dreams are make-believe (like in a story) so she can fall back asleep. But keep it short — you can get the blow-by-blow in the morning.
    Of course, sticking to a calming bedtime routine is the best way to ease the stress and anxiety that can cause nightmares in the first place. Skipping any potentially scary books or stories, providing a cheerful night-light, and leaving the bedroom ajar can also help. Also try to avoid heavy snacking or a heavy meal in the couple of hours before bedtime, since food can rev up your little one’s metabolism, activating her brain and potentially resulting in more nightmares.

  • Night terrors are always hard all you can do is reassure them and perhaps stay with them during the night.

  • our son now 12 still has night terrors – has since 1-2 year old – I normally just walk him via toilet back to bed he hops back in and I give him cuddle or rub back leg etc talk calming quiet voice he settle back to sleep. he always before midnight – never coherent to talk or remembers it. as he got older lot easier to deal with thankfully.

  • My daughter between 1.5 and 3 had the worst night terrors I just used to rub her head till she would fall back asleep. We decided to start leaving a light on and moved her to a room next to us. She was alot better from then on.

  • My 9 year old boy had night terrors up until he was around 5/6. Sounds exactly the same as this. We started doing nothing sugary after 6 pm (no soft drink, dessert etc) even when we were out. It helped immensely. Now he can eat anything and still have a good sleep. Ask if his awake next time it happens. My boy would often sleep walk, talk and scream. Only thing that would wake him up was the cool night air. We’d walk outside with him and say ‘are you awake now’ which something would click and he’d be relieved and give us a massive hug.

  • Give him as much comfort as possible.

  • My daughter had night terrors really bad between 1.5years-5years as she got older they got less and less thankfully, but there is not a lot you can do while they are having the terror but just comfort them as best you can. If there is a pattern to roughly how long after he goes to sleep to when the terrors start, gently waking then just enough to tell them you love them and then resettling can help to break the cycle. We also found my daughter’s were worse when we were away from home, she was over tired or her routines changed.

  • My 21 month old get night terrors and cries and screams and doesn’t even realise i am holding her. She shakes and then all of a sudden goes limp and back to sleep. It is so upsetting and scary. Just console them, they apparently grow out of them.

  • Tis sound more like night terrors, especially if it occurs in the first few hours of him falling asleep. His brain is working over time and he hasnt had down time.
    Maybe at least and hour before putting him to bed, put him in a low lit area that is calm and quiet, read some books and then put him to bed.

  • my daughter had this problem. she used to wake up crying i got a dream catcher for her. it dosent have to be big…infact its pretty small. the main idea is you make them believe it will catch bad dreams. its for their own good and wont hurt them. i hung it over her bead with a hanger. it worked to her. it might not work for u but its a must try. my daughter is still scared of dark though and i am trying to get her a special night light that she could keep on her bed. i wish u best of luck

  • My son does this too, I purchased a night Light thats glows rainbow colors so far we haven’t had to much trouble but when he does wake I do not talk to him, I just hush hush hush him and rub his back.

  • I think if it carriers on for to much longer i would go and see a sleep doctor who can give great advice on how to help resettle kids who have nightmares.

  • Maybe get a dream catcher & a night light?

  • My daughter when she was younger used to have night terriors the only thing I did was just cuddle her until she stopped crying and screaming as she wasn’t even awake, if you don’t have night light may try one , the Himalayan salt lamps are great as they are above soft light, I think the only thing you can do is console them, I was told to make sure they weren’t watching TV before bed as it can over stimulate the brain instead play soft soothing music

  • Maybe suggest in getting a night light and a pillow pet for comfort sorry not much help because I’ve never experienced it with my own children but I hope the nightmares stop

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