It’s a Nightmare…

About 18 months ago my daughter was given a ‘Dream Catcher.’ The person who bought it for her proudly explained that the pink flower shaped wind chime said dream catcher would soak up all of her scary nightmares so she could sleep easily. Despite the fact she was clearly unaware that such sleep interruptions existed, I gritted my teeth and crossed my fingers, knowing that the thought behind the gift was of kindness and love.

Unsurprisingly, for a few nights after this, my daughter was reticent to go to bed for fear that scary thoughts might enter her head, but thankfully it was short-lived, and soon we were back to normal.

Fast forward to now however, and my son, is genuinely getting what I think must be night terrors or nightmares. He turned three last week (where does the time go?!) and at least three nights a week for the last couple of months we have been woken up by his terrified crying. My daughter who now fully understands the concept behind her device (and also appreciates it should be hung up in her window for aesthetic purposes only!) sometimes also wakes and brings said contraption in to try and ward away those negative thoughts!

My son is the best sleeper in the world. I frequently make my friends very jealous when I regale how he stays in bed for longer than most teenagers. Despite being in a bed for nearly a year he still hasn’t twigged that he could get out if he wanted to, so I know that the crying isn’t something he is consciously doing, in fact I don’t even think he is even awake. Either my husband or I just get out of bed and stumble to his bedside, give him a kiss, tell him we love him and we’ll see him in the morning. Generally he will repeat the sentiments, and stop crying instantly, and that’s it, the whole episode is over in less than a minute. At first, he sometimes mumbled something about Captain Hook or a monster, but now nothing apart from tears.

So while we know exactly how to make it stop and have kept it to a minimum, I’d obviously prefer it not to happen in the first place. We’ve curbed the pirate activities a bit even though he loves them, but any more and he’d be sad while he was awake! At the end of the day, he’s a three year old boy, he is going to be exposed to child like fun, and I don’t think that’s what’s scaring him, but then again I don’t know.

Do these sound like night terrors? Any advice would be appreciated as I hate to think of my little man being all scared and upset. Maybe I should buy him a Dream Catcher…!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lucy
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 13:18:43

    We have got exactly the same with our eldest son who is 3 next month and it may just be coincidence but if he drinks any kind of squash or fruit shoot type drink he wakes up several times screaming in the night and not able to say why he is crying. We are convinced it is down to the squash so it’s milk or water in our house! We went to a toddler group today and at snack time he was given milk instead and didn’t bat an eyelid that he was different to all the others! Hooray!


  2. Kylie @kykaree
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 13:19:15

    My little boy started with night terrors at 15 months. Your son’s episodes don’t sound like classic night terrors more like nightmares. In a night terror there is lots of screaming, but the child is not awake, and they have no recollection when they wake up. Joseph could scream for an hour. They are in a deep deep sleep when its happening.

    If it is a night terror, you can’t wake them, you just need to let them sleep. If you wake them it can actually prolong the terror.

    It’s awful but there is not a lot you can do. In my son’s case we spoke to his consultant (he was premature) and she said she thought it might be postnasal drip caused by teething, and she was right. We could control it through paracetamol and ibuprofen and giving a nasal spray before sleep. He’s teething molars and we’re getting the night terrors back again!


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