Toddler & Night Terrors
I was wondering if anyone else that has adopted a toddler has experienced night terrors. Since we have been home(I know it hasn't been that long , 6 weeks) Nicole has been having night terrors(up to 13 some nights). She is 2 1/2. We went to see a psychologist who told us she is doing fine adjusting and we should feel lucky because she sees families with much bigger problems. She said to just give her benadryl every night!!!
Has anyone else's toddler expereinces night terrors? If so hwhen did they stop? How did they stop? we have a 4 year old daughter who had night terrors once in awhile, but Nicole's are everynight.

Thanks for your help.
There was a thread not too long ago about this. I don't think this is the one I'm thinking of, but it may help...


There were a few more threads. I just searched "night terrors" in the last six months in the Guat board. You also could search WebMD because I know they have information on it.

My boys experienced night terrors. Our doctor said to make sure that they were not eating or drinking two hours before bedtime. Otherwise we really just had to wait it out. We had A LOT of sleepless nights. Eventually they grew out of it. Hopefully someone else has some good techniques.
consistent timing??
Does she have her terrors at a consistent time of the night? I'm assuming that she goes to sleep at a fairly consistent time.

I've heard that some parents go in and wake the child 15 min before the typical time.

Our daughter had them infrequently and usually when DH had a late meeting and couldn't tuck her in. He started calling just to say good night over the phone on those rare occasions.
The only case I'm familiar with is my nephew. He's almost 7 and still gets them from time to time. His are consistently caused by being overly tired.
I don't have any children, but my brother experienced these when he was 3-4 years old. It was very frightening as he would have his eyes open and appear to be awake, but wasn't conscious of the fact that my mom and I were in the room or what we were saying.

Unfortunately, it went on for about a year. He eventually just grew out of it. I found out at the time that my 4th grade teacher's daughter, same age as my brother, was going through the same thing. I think it's pretty common.

Hope it gets better soon!

Parker had night terrors for awhile. We did what someone suggested and started waking him up a little before they seemed to occur. This did help. We also figured out that he needed more sleep so we put him to bed earlier which also helped. I never let him just scream as it was too scary for me. I would get him out of his crib and walk him around the house and talk to him about familiar things in the house. That seemed to help.
Would you believe I had those into my early 40's? I'd go through periods when they were almost every night. Screaming, eyes wide, looking at and talking to a husband (have had 2). I would often try to communicate something to them and if so, it usually related to spiders, probably spiders because I feared them in waking hours too, so they represented danger, terror, etc.

I've also had nightmares, and walked and talked my whole life but those have both tapered off considerably too, plus I now live alone so aren't positive they're gone, but am pretty sure. My mom used to get me up to go to the bathroom before she went to bed, and says that at age 3 I tried to flush my dress down the toilet.

I broke my toe sleepwalking at about age 39 (I'm 49). When I was in my early 20's, we had a cat box located in a closet with a sliding door. I woke up in there, yep, peeing. Oh, I also wet the bed until age 12.

One husband said he'd have to keep me if only because I was so entertaining in bed. One time in my early 30's I had scrambled to the end of the bed in a panic and apparently making fear noises. In response to husband asking, I stated that there was a spider "this big!!" (circling my arms to indicate a couple of feet across) under the table!! Husband said "Nancy, there's no table there." Indignant at his ignorance, I said with gritted teeth, "Just because there's no table doesn't mean there's not a spider under it!!" Often, I was aware that I wasn't awake, but couldn't wake myself or stop what I was doing, saying etc. Lots of times it was simply screaming bloody murder. Many times it was sooo real, even with a husband beside me I was terrified to close my eyes. There came a time when he probably got tired of the whole thing, tired of being awakened, because when I was once again trying to get him to see or do something, his responses eventually became "Nancy you're just dreaming." or "Go back to sleep." I'd get furious cuz I knew I wasn't dreaming this time! He might as well have patted my head and said 'there, there little girl.' So then I'd be upset about the nightmare and angry at him.

Since they lasted so long, including the wetting, I've been told that it was likely caused by issues. I don't remember having a break in them until my mid-30's, after which I'd have them for months, then not for months, until they finally tapered off and are now rare.

If I remember right, the experts say they usually stop bey either school age or puberty - nightmares go with school age and terrors I think go by puberty.

Warmly, heartbeat
Dear Ursula,

Would you consider getting another professional opinion? My very-unprofessional opinion is that I am concerned that your daughter's issue was met with a "consider yourself lucky" attitude and medicine was recommended. That's what scares me the most, I guess, the Benadryl suggestion. Masking her fears with a deeper sleep won't really work through them, will it? Someone with much more experience may tell me I am wrong, but...

Just my thoughts... Hoping things get better for the little one. Our son game home at 2 1/2 too (but had no night terrors), pm if you want to discuss toddler adoption.

Take care,
Ursula -
Our daughter (Biological) has had night terrors since she was a toddler. she is now almost 8. At times, it becomes very infrequent (maybe one every 6 months), then they may become more frequent (almost every night). We have been studying this and trying a lot of things. What we've found is that waking about 15 minutes before we think the night terror will occur works pretty well. You need to get timing on this as if you're too late or too early, it doesn't work. Take note for a few nights when the first terror starts. If its really a night terror it will begin between 45 min to about 2 hours after she goes to bed. If its the middle of the night and she has not been awakened, then its generally thought to be nightmares. Being overly tired is a biggie too. Trying to put her to bed earlier may help a lot. Or, forcing her to nap during the day. They really start up when our daughter is overly tired. If you do the waking method for about 8-10 days, then try going a night without doing it. You may have broken the cycle and she'll stop for awhile. But, honestly, she may not. Many doctors will say to try valium (very low dose) as this messes with their sleep patterns and generally works. We have decided not to try this method unless we get desperate. The biggest concern with night terrors, I think, is its hard on the parents! The kids, thank God, don't remember them. But, you worry what they might do to themselves. We've also found that if we stay nearby and catch her in the very beginning of the night terror that we can keep her calmer and the night terror generally is not as severe. We can also keep her in bed more that way. I totally understand what you're going through and really feel for you. It can be very stressful on the parents and on your marriage. You're welcome to PM me if you want to share more info. Best of luck and I hope you find restful nights in your future. LSMOM
Our Daughter
Iris came home at 2 1/2 last June, She was escorted to the US. The escort said the first night after the foster mother left she cried herself to sleep pointing at the door and saying MaMa. The next night she was fine, the third night was with us she was fine. About 2 months after she was home she started waking up on her knees pointing. My Husband or I wake her up and hold her and she goes right back to sleep. This would happen about once a week until she saw a spider in her room. then it was about 2 to 3 times a week. Now its back down to once a week.
I see from your signature that your child has not been home for that long. Give her time and lots of positive feelings with bedtime. My son, relinquished at 2 1/2 and home at almost 3, had some significant night terrors for the first 5 mos. To help, he slept in the same bed with me, and I would soothe him back to peace, doing my best to sense the night terrors, and stop them before they got way out of control. They stopped when we put both of our sons in the same bed together.

We moved houses last week (pretty much across the street), and again sleep has been a little bit restless with both of my sons. We expected this. I caught my elder son sleepwalking at 2am last night, but that's been the extent of it.

I agree with whoever said that the attitude of the doctor was alarming. Benadryl can actually disrupt sleep. It has the opposite of the intended effect on my son, and actually makes him really cranky. It's like he doesn't get quality sleep because it's induced. And if they have the attitude that your problems are glib, find someone else who will support you when you need help!
I had night terrors when I was younger and I have a good friend who still gets them. From what was explained to me when I was having them, they are caused when part of your brain wakes up while the part that controls dreaming remains asleep and in dream mode. But the dreams turn into nightmares about monsters or ghosts or intruders which seem very real because you think you are fully awake. I think the point of the Benadryl is that it really works very well in putting most people and children to sleep and if the whole brain remains asleep, it helps prevent the terrors and the dreams remain normal. And it's safer for children than a tranquilizer which is what they frequently prescribe for adults who get these terrors. It may or may not work, but I don't think the doctor was being glib or uncaring but was offering a suggestion that she thought might help.
My daughter (3 1/2) had night terrors for about a month after having a severe ear infection. True night terrors are terrifying for the parents. The child does not remember them. But there is a concern the child might hurt themselves. MY ped diagnosed them then told me she would outgrow them, I went home and researched the internet. The fact is many people never outgrow them amd have them as adults. I could not realistically wake her every time, they happened every 2 hours all night long when they were at their worst. Here is what helped...I scooped her up ant the moment it started and put her feet in ice cold water in the sink. she screamed at first, then calmed down and was back asleep b the time I dried her feet. I have no idea why this works and she never remembered it in the morning. Playing soothing music helps also to keep them from happening. Every time she wimperes over night I wake in a panic that it may be happening again. Good luck, but DO try thr cold water, it works!
Just give a 2 and 1/2 year old benadryl every night? When I was younger, benadryl gave me really bad nightmares; it certainly didn't help with them. I agree with another post; second opinion!
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