July 19, 2010,
N.W. asks from Warrenton, VA on July 18, 2010
Night Terrors with a 15 Month Old?
My son is 15 months old and I swear having night terrors already. My older boys had them but i didn't think they started until they were 2. Has anyone gone through this with a 15 month old? Is it even possible? I have been trying to keep track of when they happen and on those days did he get good naps in. Today he had 2 - 1 hour naps, which wasn't bad for him but he could have gotten more. The last time he had one he only had 1 nap that day. i may be reading into it but I know that was a cause with my other 2. Any advice? He's not a good sleeper as it is, and although i have done lots of reading about this I thought I would see if anyone else has gone through this with a baby.
S.H. answers from Honolulu on July 18, 2010
C.J. answers from Washington DC on July 19, 2010
you don't describe exactly what is happening. night terrors are no where near as common as people think they are. there are other parainsomnias but with a 15 month-old could it just be separation anxiety? does it get better when you hold him? if it does than it is not night terrors. my daughter had a form of parainsomnia and i just talked to her calmly without holding her. you can find lists of things to try such as light music and touching without holding online. also getting enough sleep and having an uneventful going to bed routine helps A LOT. many many toddlers do not get enough sleep.
S.T. answers from Washington DC on July 19, 2010
of course it's possible. if it's possible for a 2 year old, why NOT a 15 month old? what do you do for the older boys?
M.B. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2010
My 14 month old has those! He mainly has them when he is heavily teething, but also has them on days he doesn't sleep much every so often.
A.C. answers from Houston on July 18, 2010
Ugh...the worst thing about toddlers that no one tells you about! My daughter had her first around 18 months and experienced them pretty regularly for about a year.
The worst and longest lasting episode occurred in the two weeks right after changing her daycare right after her second birthday. She would have several episodes in a night....one lasting the better part of an hour.
I've had moderate success with "sleep interruption". Tracking over a couple of nights when they occur and then rousing her a few minutes before I expected it to occur.
When they are occurring, I turn on the lights. Hold my daughter, if she'll let me. Repeat something soothing over and over--a song she currently likes, mama's here mama's here, etc. Rub her back.
Good luck. They will pass. Don't be (too) alarmed if he even sleep walks.
M.H. answers from Atlanta on July 19, 2010
Yes a 15 month old can have night terrors. There are usually two culprits that cause them. One is stress… At 15 months, I doubt there is any stress (which can cause them in older children) so environmental toxins can be a primary culprit. Cleaning supplies and bath and body products can cause neurological damage and can cause things like night terrors, nightmares, child behavioral disorders like ADD and ADHD and even memory problems. The main problem with your average product at Wal-Mart is that it has an "allowed" limit of toxin. When used in combination of other things with "allowed" limits, the limit has increased. This is not to mention the combination of toxins that outgas and contraindicate like a pharmaceutical does.
Like I told another mom, the other issue that usually causes night terrors is lack of sleep. Environmental toxins can also stimulate so you have a vicious cycle here with night terrors keeping him awake and causing lack of sleep.
Detoxifying your house will help a lot; especially by changing to a laundry detergent that is considered non-toxic to humans. (There are a lot of things labeled non-toxic that are only considered non-toxic to the environment.) Detoxing CAN be simple and it can be inexpensive to. If you want to give it a try, I'd be glad to help. Feel free to contact me.
K.H. answers from Washington DC on July 19, 2010
It might be hard to figure out what is going on. In our case, a well-meaning and usual kid activity caused the problem. My son was unusually verbal and could tell us that he was having horrible dreams about lions after a fun trip to a zoo. He hated lions for years. We had two cats so it wasn't about that. I never did figure out exactly why the lions were so terrifying because they barely move at the zoo.
I'd find a gentle bedtime book and see if that helps. Evenwhen kids have no words or very few (my other two didn't have any until almost 3 so we have a wide range of experience), they can understand and get scared and also feel comforted by stories and experiences. They still won't look at the Sendak books or the Dahl books. Something lovely to dream about might do the trick.