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Night terrors? Does your child get them?

Hi everyone,

We were wondering if your child has ever had night terrors, and if so, at what age? 

If you’ve never heard of night terrors before (and neither had we before we had toddlers/preschoolers), they’re different to nightmares and can be a bit shocking to witness if you’ve never come across them before. Your child may scream or cry, sit up or thrash about but, although his/her eyes are open, your child is not fully awake and won’t know who you are. 

They’re not that common but they are a bit of a toddler/preschooler thing. If you want to read more about them, do read our ]longer article about them 

Some of us have children who had night terrors; some of us have children who didn’t, so we’re really interested to find out whether your children have them or not. 

And what you do when it happens. Any good tips?

Please do let us know by posting a reply to this thread. Thank you!



  • Hey ladies. My boy who is 4 has these however he doesnt scream but he does cry sometimes and at first I thought he was awake n having me on. I have gone into his room on more than a couple occasions and he will be sitting up or reaching out sweating and saying things and he looks scared poor thing. I say moms here but he doesn't look at me looks straight through me it's very scary but now I'm used to them I find that going along with the scenario as such to calm them down so if he's reaching out I'll say it's gone now ly back down come on it's ok it's gone or you've got it now. Last night I found him scratching the wall and he was saying I can't get in so I said your in now it's ok. As soon as he Les bk down he's fast asleep again. He has some right conversations in his sleep. my oh talks and uses to sleepwalk when was younger so im not banking on my son growing out of it but I hope so x x

  • In fact that picture posted is his expression when he has one. Doesn't scream but is clearly upset and frightened. Poor things x x

  • Hi All,

    My little one had night terrors.....not for too long, but they were quite scary at times!  He would just scream and shout in his sleep but he would be fast asleep.  So I would just go in and try and calm him down without waking him, tuck him back in and give him a kiss and he would be fine.  He soon grew out of them.

  • I'm not sure if they are night terrors. But sometimes my son will suddenly cry irritably and thrash about. This would go on for a long time - anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours. If I try and wake him up or talk to him, it just gets worst. He do sometimes open his eyes but I think he's still asleep even if he does because he doesn't hear me.

    Some times it will happen every night for three days to a week. It's like something seasonal. I'm not sure though. Anyway, during the day he seems fine and he isn't sleepy at all nor tired.

  • Hi.My boys used to have them around the age of 1/2 years old.I used a lullaby with teddies/stars on the ceiling and lots of cuddles with my first. With my second I used to 'wake' him 5 min before the crying would normally start and it worked so well! It stopped the night terrors altogether.

  • My daughter started getting them just after her first birthday. She would scream and thrash around in bed in the small hours and if we picked her up to comfort her she would thrash and throw her head back in distress, she was really difficult to hold and would be unresponsive to her name or any soothing words from us. She never remembered in the morning and was a happy little girl. They started when we moved to California (from the UK) for my husbands work, and stopped when we returned 3 months later. I believe it was this massive change that triggered them. The only way we could rouse her out of them was to put nursery rhymes on the TV, she would eventually slowly wake up, sometimes after half hour or more of screaming. Then we would read her a story, give a bottle and put back to bed, exactly as we had done at her actual bed time. We lived in a flat so leaving her to scream for hours was not an option. Our neighbours used to ignore us on the stairs and eventually moved out! 

  • My son was just over 2yrs when he had his first night terror. He was screaming no at the top of his lungs, had his eyes wide open, looked terrified and trying to get out of his cot. I got him out and tried to sit on the floor to give him cuddles but he would not let me touch him or respond to anything I said. He started running around just screaming. In the end his crying changed, I spoke to him and he came running over for a cuddle.

    Funnily enough he had another 2 nights ago. He was exactly the same but this time I didn't get him out as the layout of our hall means a stairgate is not an option (the first time he nearly fell down the stairs when he was running wildly) I again just had to sit and watch, only intervening if he started to bang his head, until his crying changed and it was obvious he had woke up. 

    Both times they have lasted about 30 mins

  • My boy does and he is 20 months old. But even though he won't really remember it, but I believe its what causes his night terrors, when he was only 4 months old his dad committed suicide right in front of him

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