Night Terrors In Toddlers
Night terrors in toddlers are a well known phenomenon that frustrate and scare parents when they are first confronted by it. Kids with great sleeping patterns can suddenly start exhibiting alarming behavior like wildly thrashing around while screaming and waking up the entire household. Night terrors are known to surface after two years of age. Also, it should be noted that night terrors in toddlers are different than nightmares and treated differently.
- Differences. Night terrors and nightmares are not the same and are handled differently. You can tell the differences between the two by the toddler's behavior. If they seem confused and do not acknowledge that you are even there (for example you cannot comfort them), they are experiencing night terrors. If the child is easily comforted by your presence, it is most likely a nightmare. Nightmares can also be remembered the next morning while a toddler who experienced night terrors will not remember a thing.
- Why. Experts in sleep behavioral studies believe that night terrors can occur in toddlers who simply do not get enough sleep. Sounds funny but most parents already know that when your kid skips their nap, they tend to be harder to handle and end up sleeping poorly at night. Another common reason is separation anxiety. For example, if your toddler just started daycare or preschool they might not be used to the abrupt change in lifestyle.
- What you can do. The recommended way to handle night terrors in toddlers probably goes against every parental instinct you have. You do nothing more than only make sure they do not hurt themselves flailing around and let the night terror run it's course. The reasoning behind this is that night terrors are similar to sleep walking meaning the person experiencing them is completely unaware of their actions. It is also believed that by interacting with them you may actually prolong the night terror.