Night terrors can be very stressful and frightening. When a child has a night terror he/ she is so deep into the dream, he cannot hear the person trying to wake him, even though the child may look at you and seem to be awake. Often a child may cry out, ask for help, thrash, kick, and scream — but cannot be comforted.
- Make your child’s room safe to try to prevent him from being injured during an episode.
- Eliminate all sources of sleep disturbance, such as caffeine, sugar, and high-energy activities before bed.
- Maintain a consistent bedtime routine and wake-up time.
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to help your child during the actual episode except to make sure he is safe. Just take comfort in the fact that the night terror is short-lived.
If your child has night terrors, you can try to interrupt his/her sleep in order to prevent one. Here is how to do it:
- First, note how many minutes the night terror occurs from your child’s bedtime.
- Then, awaken your child 15 minutes before the expected night terror, and keep her awake and out of bed for five minutes. You may want to take your child to the bathroom to see if he/ she will urinate.
- Continue this routine for a week.