Has your child ever had a night terror? My four-year-old just had his first. Night terrors are different from nightmares. During a nightmare you can usually wake the child up and they can be calmed down and can resume sleeping, or your child has a nightmare and runs into your room to tell you about it and you are able to calm them down and get them back to bed. During a night terror, you usually can’t wake the child as they are actively in the middle of whatever it is they are afraid of.
I was getting ready to crawl into bed myself and was doing my usual bedtime routine when I heard Braidy screaming from the top bunk, “NO!!! STOP!”. I raced up the bunk steps to comfort him, and he arched his back as I lifted him into my arms and stared right through me with huge big fearful eyes, then at the top of his lungs screamed: “NO GET AWAY!” I could tell he wasn’t awake…he wasn’t seeing me, because surely I would be a comforting face to him. He was looking through me at whatever in his dream had him so afraid. I gently laid him back down and laid right next to him on the bed. He calmed down for about 30 seconds until he threw the covers off again and screamed “NO!” directly at the ceiling. His eyes were wide and dilated and all I saw was fear pulsing through his little body. I got scared for him and ran to get my husband who was able to wake him a little. He grabbed him from the top bunk and walked out of the bedroom. As he did that we realized, he still hadn’t woken up, “He screamed “NOOO STOP!”, back into the bedroom.
Scott and I had never seen anything like this before and didn’t realize then the difference between night terrors and nightmares and that you handle them differently. I think it was still a good idea to remove him from the top bunk so he didn’t hurt himself, but normally with night terrors, you patiently wait it out. Have you ever witnessed a night terror? What was your experience with them?
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