June 05, 2008,
A.R. asks from Andover, MN on June 04, 2008
2-1/2 Year Old Crying/screaming in the Middle of the Night
My 2-1/2 year old no longer sleeps through the night. Almost every night he either cries out repeatedly or starts screaming sometime during the night. Sometimes, I go in and he kicks and punches as soon as I touch him, and I can't tell if he's awake or not. Other times, he stops crying and just says "Mommy lay with me" and grabs on tightly to my arm. I wonder if he could be having nightmares? Is he just scared? He doesn't tell me what's wrong, and I'm not sure that he would understand the dream concept yet. Not sure what I can do for him...
S.K. answers from Minneapolis on June 05, 2008
My first child went through this and I had a friend who's son did, too. Everyone is right - it is night terrors. Start timing when they happen, then wake them up about 30 minutes prior to adjust their sleep cycle. Sometimes you don't even have to get them out of bed, just enough to change the pattern.
T.P. answers from La Crosse on June 05, 2008
My sister had a condition called nightterrors, which is like having really bad realistic nightmares. My daughter also began showing symptoms when she was about 2. If this is the case, the only thing you can do is wait it out. I leave a nightlight on for my daughter and if I notice her sturring and fussing in her sleep I waked her up, lay down with her and rub her back and help her fall back asleep. She doesn't understand what a dream is yet, but if I ask her if she is scared she says yes, and that I when I know.
Moms recommend the following deals from Mamapedia:
L.E. answers from Minneapolis on June 04, 2008
certainly sounds like night terriors. It is very common in 2-4 year olds and they don't realize that it is just a dream. Many times they think that it really happened and most times they are not fully awake.
I would sneak into my sons room rub his back for a minute and let him fall back asleep without having to get "involved" with him in the middle of the night. It does eventually go away. I noticed that my son would have this happen on nights that he was over tired than other nights. So make sure that your child is getting enought rest.
C.C. answers from Madison on June 05, 2008
Sounds like night terrors. Does it happen an hour or several hours after he falls asleep? A lot of times they are not awake. They scream and kick and their eyes can be open like they are awake but they are not. The best thing is to do is sit in the room with him while he is going through it and to make sure they don't get hurt. Wait until he calms back down and he will go back to sleep. Do not wake him. If you wake him from the night terror he will go back into later. Night terrors is when a child gets caught between R.E.M sleep and deep sleep. Night terrors can start as early as 18 months. I have a daughter who is 4 1/2 and still has night terrors every once in a while.
Good luck I know they can be scary.
Amanda mom of 3 2 girls 4 1/2, 3 and a boy 17 months.
C.C. answers from Cedar Rapids on June 05, 2008
I bet your son has night terrors. If that is what he has, you are not suppose to touch him and I don't think you are suppose to talk to him either. I think you are just suppose to watch and make sure he does not hurt himself. From what I heard the more you try and comfort while they are going threw this, the longer it lasts. Not saying that is what it is, but it sure sounds like it.
A.R. answers from Minneapolis on June 05, 2008
Night terrors will end overnight (you will ALL sleep on the first night) with homeopathic help:
You have a choice - both of which work:
Aspen - a Bach Flower remedy or 'flower essence', or
Aconite - a homeopathic remedy.
Both are available on-line - or drive into the cities into any natural food or natural vitamin store and you will find them in the vitamin section.
How to use them:
Aspen: put four drops in a glass of water, milk or juice before bed. Even a few sips will do the trick. Aspen is almost tasteless but on the sweet side.
Aconite: put 3-4 pellets in his mouth before bed as he falls asleep. They are sweet.
My highest recommendation is Aspen as it is easy to give and has the best results.
Sweet dreams A..
S.S. answers from Milwaukee on June 05, 2008
Yikes. My youngest had this. My other 2 never did. They turned out to be something called "night terrors." You can read tons on it, in books, the internet, etc. They outgrow it, but it is scarey. They think that super deep sleepers get this. They can't snap out of the REM stage, and are out of control. My youngest started wtih it at age 2, and I remember being so scared. It was totally over by age 4. Knowing that he'd be alright made it livable. He'll outgrow it, don't be scared. But read all about it for some enlightenment.
Y.K. answers from Lincoln on June 05, 2008
It sounds like he has night terrors. Night terror is usually caused by not having enough rest (nap) during the day. When the terror happens at night, he is actually still asleep even though he seems awake to you. He doesn't understand you are trying to comfort him nor does any comforting works. You just have to wait until he settles down by himself.
My daughter went through this stage until she turned 4. As long as she had a good nap during the day, she had a good night of sleep.
Hopefully this helps. Good luck.
C.L. answers from Minneapolis on June 05, 2008
Like the others, I think it sounds like it might be night terrors. My son had them. They can get worse with fatigue and stress. Has anything changed in his life recently? Has he been overly tired for some reason? You can't do much during the actual night terror, but you might be able to decrease their frequency by addressing those issues. On the other hand, some kids have them for no reason at all. I know they are scary! Good luck.