Bad Mum

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22 March 2018

NIGHT TERRORS - what I have learnt so far....

Any parent who has had a child that has suffered from night terrors will understand its more terrifying for themselves rather than the child. It’s so distressing to see your child in such a state, yet when they wake up they have no knowledge of any of it.

My daughter (Frankie) is 3 years old and has been suffering from night terrors for the past six months, but in the last month they have got worse. She doesn't have them every night but when she does, she has them through the night and so sleep goes out the window. She gets herself into such a state that she seems to be possessed by something, she will scream “I want my mummy” while she is looking right at me, she will tell me “go and get Mummy”, and will freak out if I explain that I am (her) mummy. So I sit and wait, it may be 2am and my heart is racing as I just want to comfort her back to peacefulness. She does eventually settle, but by then I am wide awake and waiting for her to wake again, which just leads to an exhausted and grouchy version of myself.


The great thing nowadays is that us mums have social media to help us through these bumps in the road of motherhood, and twice now I have asked via Facebook and Instagram for advice and so I thought I would list some the ideas that have worked for the mums who got in touch and shared their knowledge.


  1. Calm - Keeping the bedtime routine very calm and don't allow any screen time just before bed, keep it simple with bath then stories, then bed. If you have a routine that you stick to it will allow your child to know that sleep is coming and a pattern will be created (I know it’s tempting to whack on a couple of episodes of Peppa Pig, but a night without night terrors is far better).
  2. Toilet Time - Many mums have said that the reason their little one started to have night terrors was because they needed a wee but their body didn't wake up so the terror was their way of expressing the urge. My lovely friend Sophie said she would just pick her son up and sit him on the toilet, he would do a wee and then he would go in his sleep. This was end the terror and everyone would get some rest.
  3. Too tired - Frankie definitely gets her terrors when she is exhausted, I remember a midwife telling me ‘sleep promotes sleep’ so now I don't fight her if she tries to nap in the day (I relish the peace!). This means she stays calm at bed and we don’t have hysterical exhausted toddler mode just before she needs to be “calm”for bed.
  4. Oils - My gorgeous friend Esme has introduced me to the world of DoTERRA essential oils (I am sure other brands are available) and Serenity in particular is the one that works for Frankie. I know others have mentioned juniper berry, so maybe give that one a go too/ instead of. I put a little bit on Frankies temples and her wrists, she loves the smell and so do I, I have also recently included a diffuser in her room with the oil too.
  5. Stay strong - You cannot do anything when they are in the midst of a terror, it's heartbreaking but you mustn't wake them (although initially I tried with Frankie and its impossible), you just have to let the ride it out. I place my hand on Frankie (i don't know if it makes her feel safer, but it makes me feel like I am doing something), and just stay with her as she can thrash about and I want to make sure she is safe.
  6. Night Walker - Frankie doesn't sleep walk but I know from friends that this can be a big issue with children. Whether it's during a night terror or they are just a sleepwalker obviously it's a danger due to the fact that your child could wander anywhere and worst case fall down the stairs. A stair gate is a good solution here and you could either have it on the stairs (maybe you still have yours up) or put one on your child's door.
  7. Fever - If a night terror is not a common thing in your house it may be that your child has a fever, so gently check your child temperature.
  8. Wake them - once they have calmed, wake them. I don't mean take them downstairs and play but just make sure they are fully out of the dream (change a nappy, quick wee), before they go back to sleep otherwise the dream can happen again. This is what has been happening with Frankie and I end up getting up to her over 5 times a night (not fun!).



The great thing nowadays is that us mums have social media to help us through these bumps in the road of motherhood, and twice now I have asked via Facebook and Instagram for advice and so I thought I would list some the ideas that have worked for the mums who got in touch and shared their knowledge.


I hope this has helped and please comment if you have any other ideas or tips as I know from my posts and what people have shared with me is that each child is different and us parents are always looking for solutions.

Jo

All The Family

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