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Night terrors in a 2 year old.

(16 Posts)
Howjado Wed 20-Jul-16 08:57:02

My daughter is ringing me each morning telling me what a terrible night they have had. I am afraid it's effecting the whole family. The baby is now being woken by the screaming and mum and dad are getting no sleep.
These episodes seemed to start once my two year old grand daughter volunteered to give up her dummy. She only had it at night to help her sleep. If she woke the dummy was there to comfort her and she went back to sleep.
Now she starts shouting in her sleep. Someone goes into her but she is still asleep and does not respond to the words of comfort or a cuddle. She wakes herself up with screaming and then it's total meltdown. (She never likes being woken from a nap at any time). Screaming and kicking. "I don't want you, I want daddy" . Daddy goes in but she does not want him either. She cannot explain what she needs and cannot lbe reasoned with. Someone just sits with her till she is exhausted and falls to sleep. But an hour later it all starts again. Three times last night, screaming for an hour each time. They are at their wits end.
They have tried keeping her busy all day, no nap, so she is exhausted at bedtime; letting her have quiet time during the day and letting her sleep during the day.
Anybody else's grandkids gone through this?

vampirequeen Wed 20-Jul-16 09:40:51

It may be that the tantrum is actually still part of the terror. DD2 used to run around the house looking for her mummy. If I stopped her and said that I was her mummy she'd scream that I wasn't. Her panic would rise and rise and she'd scream more and more until she really woke up. Then she could be settled and go back to sleep.

It is exhausting but she will grow out of it.....or at least be able to understand what has happened when she wakes up.

breeze Wed 20-Jul-16 09:47:45

I've never experienced this so have no ideas except maybe mentioning to Health Visitor to see if she has any suggestions (guess they hear a lot during their visits, so may know how someone solved it). Especially as it's causing problems with baby settling and they are so exhausted. Has she got a 'blankie' or something to snuggle with? My eldest had his 'kankie' (one of his Dad's handkerchiefs).

Nelliemoser Wed 20-Jul-16 09:53:37

My son did this at about 2/3yrs and so did I. It's something to do with sleep patterns in the brain in early sleep. He never seemed to know what it was about and it was almost impossible to wake him. but it never really caused him any problems.
I still do sometime wake up in the very early hours of sleep emitting blood curdling screams but I rarely remember what it was about.

Nelliemoser Wed 20-Jul-16 09:56:53

Howjado Don't worry too much and send your daughter my link. in my post below. It's not half as scary as it seems when you know something about it.

TriciaF Wed 20-Jul-16 11:13:22

Eldest son had nightmares at that age too. He used to run into our bedroom screaming and looking terrified. I usually took him into bed with me until he calmed down, then put him back in his own bed.
Very upsetting for all concerned.

hildajenniJ Wed 20-Jul-16 11:37:07

My son also had night terrors. They started when he was about 2 also. He used to shout, "mum, mum, mum, (never Dad)! He be sitting up in bed, but not aware of his surroundings. I used to go in and calm him and stay with him, sometimes lying beside him until he was calm and sleeping again. They stopped at about age eight, just after we'd moved to a new house. In the morning he could remember nothing about any of it. I know how exhausting it can be, but they do grow out of it. I think that giving up her dummy at the time the night terrors started is coincidental.

HildaW Wed 20-Jul-16 12:28:31

Just to add my voice to elder daughter had Night terrors and yes, she could remember nothing of them in the morning. Its a phase albeit an exhausting one - I would gently wake her up and they would stop and it did not seem to do any harm.

Nightmares are different and waking someone up can cause more trouble - children remember those.

millymouge Wed 20-Jul-16 12:38:10

My youngest GS used to have night time terrors at home. When he came to stay with the GPs he never had them. We used to have him stay quite a bit so that all could get some good sleep and he eventually grew out of them. He was(and still is) a rather sensitive child,a but very happy.

Nandalot Wed 20-Jul-16 13:40:02

My DGD had these at about the same age. My DD's friend, who is a specialist in this area , says this is very common and nothing to worry about. She will grow out of it. DGD did with just the occasional occurrence.

joannapiano Wed 20-Jul-16 15:20:08

I have had night terrors since I was tiny and still get them occasionally. I was quite a shy, sensitive child (not now, though!)
I go into complete meltdown if any one touches me to try to wake me up.
We were once in a holiday cottage on a large complex in Belgium. The bedroom had a ceiling sloping down and during an episode there,DH pushed me down so I wouldn't bang my head. Cue for me to scream the place down. Apparently a lot of lights came on in the neighbouring cottages.

DanniRae Wed 20-Jul-16 18:01:03

My son used to suffer from night terrors and we were told not to touch him as he wouldn't know it was us and that would scare him some more. We just used to speak to him in a calm voice and reassure him. He grew out of it and is now a strapping 31 year old.

annodomini Wed 20-Jul-16 18:27:39

My GD, as a toddler, used to have night terrors, though not often. She would come downstairs sobbing inconsolably, needing lots of cuddles and reassurance. She outgrew them quite quickly and is now a very well balanced teenager.

Howjado Sun 24-Jul-16 14:38:24

Thanks everyone. It is nice to know these are common occurrences in two year olds although not nice to know it could go on for years. I stayed over at the weekend and she slept right through both nights, so perhaps it was a phase.

Judthepud2 Sun 24-Jul-16 19:33:38

DGS1 had these around the same age of 2. He was a jolly little lad during the day, but the terrors left him distressed at night from time to time. He lived with us at the time and I remember how frightening it was as he just stared at us as if he didn't know who we were. Of course, he wasn't actually awake. Lifting him and cuddling during these episodes only made the screaming worse. We found, like DanniRae, sitting quietly with him and speaking in a calm voice helped to settle him best.

This only lasted about 3 or 4 months and then went away.

Nelliemoser Sun 24-Jul-16 22:53:41

Jud yes I remember that terrified staring. DS never seemed to remember about it at all though and I think it scared us more than him.