As a parent, ensuring your child gets enough sleep is one thing. But what happens when the sleep they’re getting is causing you to worry? Is your child waking up in the middle of the night crying or screaming? Are they restless or irritable the next day due to a poor night’s sleep? What do you do in this situation as a parent? Let’s find out:
What Are Night Terrors?
A night terror is not quite the same as a nightmare. Every child has nightmares from time to time, but night terrors are much more worrying. A night terror is when your little one wakes up literally in terror from what they have experienced during sleep. They might sit up in bed all of a sudden, wake up screaming, or even thrash around. Another key difference is that during a night terror, a child is actually in deep sleep. When they wake up upset from a nightmare, they are awake.
Causes of Night Terrors and Nightmares
Children who are going through some sort of emotional stress or trauma are more likely to experience night tremors and nightmares. Thus, before examining possible solutions, it’s important to remove the source of the stress (if at all possible). Other causes of night terrors and nightmares include erratic sleeping habits, a poor diet that includes too much caffeine, or being in a new or strange environment.
How to Deal with Toddler Night Terrors and Nightmares
Even when you know the cause of night terrors and nightmares, this doesn’t stop you worrying about your child. It can be heartbreaking and disturbing to see your little one in such agony, particularly during a time when they are supposed to be relaxed and peaceful. Luckily, all is not lost. There are many tips that can help you deal with toddler night terrors and nightmares. Your toddler sleep problems can be addressed and resolved by simply using some, or all, of the following toddler sleep solutions:
Soft and Cosy
The environment of your toddler’s bedroom can make all the difference to how their mind settles down to sleep. A kid’s imagination is a lot more vivid than an adult’s, and toddlers do not yet know the full extent of their reality. For example, when a child sees a movie with a scary monster or witch in it, it plays on their mind because they do not fully comprehend that these things aren’t real.
Because of this, it is your responsibility as a parent to ensure that your toddler feels as relaxed and comfortable as possible in their bedroom. Listen to what they are telling you (depending on their level of communication) when they express fear about shapes or shadows when you put them down for the night.
Moreover, their actual sleeping space is an important component of easing their minds. Toddler pajamas that are made of soft and soothing material, a sleepsack that will make them feel safe, and a soft toy that they can cuddle will all help tremendously. Compare this scenario with threadbare or itchy pajamas, a musty sheet that smells damp, and no soft toy. A child is much more likely to feel calm and peaceful when their environment promotes toddler sleep with terrors or nightmares.
If you like to try out alternative remedies for your child, why not try what’s known as ‘nightmare spray’ or calming and relaxing spray? Using a few drops of a calming essential oil such as lavender, mixed with water or a suitably light and non-staining carrier oil, spray your toddler’s bed right before they go to sleep. Make sure you are careful with the amount of essential oil you use because they are very potent, and some types can be toxic for children.