Nightmares and night terrors are common sleep disorders in children of small age.
Night terror is a condition in which the child is partially awake from sleep and shows abrupt behaviour like screaming, kicking, panick, mumbling, sleepwalking etc. Mostly these incidents of night terror occur after two hours of sleep. If a child less than 7 years suffers night terror, it is not a serious concern. These night terror episodes mostly end with a deep sleep.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF NIGHT TERROR –
- The child is frightened a lot but still in sleep. His sleep is not broken in the case of night terror.
- He seems to be awake because his eyes are wide open like a waken-up child but he is in sleep actually.
- The child may react to people and the things present in the room in a very strange manner, as if they are looking scary to him.
- Childen usually dont remember the sequences of night terror.
- The duration of these episodes are upto 20 to 30 minutes at maximum.
HOW TO HELP THE CHILD –
- The very first thing is to prevent your child from night terror. A child is more likely to get night terror attacks if he is very tired. So ensure that your child goes to sleep at the right time and and he is able to complete a full sleep.
- When the child gets night terror try to normalise him calmly by relaxing him. Dont try to awake him since he wont for sure. Turn off the lights because shadows may confuse him more. Relax him by holding and caressing him slowly if he does not gets back to normal easily.
- If somebody else is going to handle the child for a specific time, first of all explain him what is a night terror and then teach him how to handle the child during a night terror.
A nightmare is a scary dream which frightens the child greatly and he feels restless and unable to go back to sleep. There is no concrete reason behind the phenomena of nightmares but it is believed that all those things we see or hear in real life could effect our dreams. Younger children see the nightmares mostly about monsters, demons, new places whereas toddlers usually dream about their seperation from their parents in nightmares.
To save your child from nightmares try not to tell him monster stories, tell him good and pleasing sort of stories instead. You can also give him a soft toy to give him company in his bed.