Handling Night Terrors

According to Statista, a statistics portal, approximately 50 percent of children between the ages of three to six suffer from frequent night terrors. Night terrors are slightly different to nightmares. A child that is experiencing a night terror may thrash out, scream or grumble during sleep and may be very disorientated if someone tries wake them.

Nightmares, on the other hand, come as a byproduct of dream sleep, otherwise known as REM sleep. Most children will be able to recall a nightmare after they have woken. Seeing a child struggle with night terrors can be distressing for parents, but there are methods you can employ to tackle the situation when it occurs. It is important to never try to wake a child while they are experiencing an episode. Calmly wait until their night terror has passed—then it is safe to wake them.

Encourage them to use the toilet before putting them back to bed. Try to make sure they are fully awake before they drift off again as this may help to break the cycle of reoccurring night terrors.

It may be helpful to speak to your child about the incident the following morning by asking if there is anything worrying them. Children usually grow out of night terrors, however, if they happen consistently, consider seeing a doctor for more specialised advice.