4 Year Old Son Having Bad Nightmares

Updated on September 22, 2006
C. asks from Woodstock, IL
11 answers

Lately my son has been having BAD nightmares where he "wakes" up screaming our names in terror but won't wake up. He continues to have the nightmare and finally will wake up but scared to go back to sleep. Besides him dealing with growing pains in his legs, he is not getting enough sleep.
Suggestions on how to wake up little ones from nightmares are greatly appreciated.

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M.S.

answers from Chicago on

Hyland's Homeopathic Calms Forte' for Kids (Whole Foods, Fruitful Yield, Meijer $4.99)works wonders for me. The bottle specifically indicates taht it can be helpful for night terrors, sleep problems, and growing pains. Good Luck.

M.

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Y.

answers from Chicago on

Hi C.,

My son used to have what are known as night terrors. The kids do not wake up and they usually do not remember them the next day. The doctor told me not to wake them up since the abrupt awakening can make it hard for them to go back to sleep since they become disoriented. What we found worked best was getting him up and walking around the house with you next to him since he is not really awake and once he is calm enough direct him back to bed where he hopefully will go back to sleep. 4 is the age my son was having these night terrors and he did outgrow them but it wouldn't hurt to keep a diary of what he does and eats in the evenings so if there is a specific trigger you can find it. Good luck and email to let me know if this works.
[email protected]____.com

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V.O.

answers from Chicago on

C.,

My Daughter used to have nightmares.

After removing sugary products from her diet and
"closing the Kitchen" at least 2 hours before bedtime, the nightmares dissapeared
Another food item that caused nightmares and sleepwalking was PopCorn
On nights when we shared popcorn late in the evening, she would always wake up with nightmmares

As far as the growing pains in the legs...
Usually if the child drinks plenty of water, leg pains and cramps will dissapear.
V

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S.L.

answers from Chicago on

Does your son watch scarry movies? Well my daughter used to watch them and not be scared but she would wake up crying and screaming in the middle of the night! I eliminated the movies and she has not had that problem since!

I agree with v about drinking water for the legs and also eliminate any sugary foods before bed time, that may be a cause to the problem!
Also if your son plays any sports it could be a reason also. when i was a kid i played softball and soccer so i always had pain in the legs!!!! my parents used bengay and if none around they tied a sock to my legs and gave me milk to fall asleep..Sometimes i would sleep with them for comfort..That always helps!
As for the not waking up part, hmmm that could be serious!! My best advice for that if nothing works i think that maybe he is fearing something in real life and he needs to talk about it. You should probably see his pediatrician for help they can advice you to seek professional help!

Good luck
S.

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K.C.

answers from Chicago on

My 4 year old also has these "night terrors" as i believe is the term we use in England. They are very common and most kids i know have had them at some point. The advice i've been given is don't try and wake them! Take them to the bathroom for a pee and give them a little sip of water. My little boy doesn't even seem to know who I am when he has them. Just stay by him and comfort him until he settles back down. This will pass for sure. Does he have a lot to drink before bed or does he go pee before he gets into bed? These are things that maybe causing something! Good luck with it. You will be fine.

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M.D.

answers from Chicago on

I used to do childcare for a little boy who went throught night terrors, mom really could not do anything but console him during the process. However we realized that her son had a hard time adjusting to different things. ( A new daycare, new baby in the home etc.) Is your son going through a transition new daycare or pre-school,new sibling? Hopefully this information helped.

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S.S.

answers from Chicago on

I have experienced that having chocolate prior to or a couple hours prior to bedtime can give children and adults nightmares. Does your child drink chocolate milk before bed? Just a suggestion. Good luck!

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L.

answers from Chicago on

It sounds like it is night terrors. I had this with my eldest son (who is now 13) when he was around 2 years old. Here is a link to a web site with some information:

pediatrics.about.com/cs/sleep/a/night_terrors.htm

Hope it helps!

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L.

answers from Chicago on

I don't know anything about night terrors but are you sure the leg pains are growing pains? I had "growing pains" terribly as a child and it ended up being Diabetes. My other symptoms were drank alot, went to the bathroom alot, ate alot but lost weight, tired quite often. I don't want to scare you but maybe ask your Dr. the next time you talk to him/her if you notice any of these with your child.

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P.

answers from Chicago on

Boy it sounds like you are living my life right now. My 4 years old is also having night terrors and is also experiencing growing pains. As for the night terrors he is almost past them, what we have done is when he screams I go to his room and lay in bed with him and just rub his back and gently tell him that mom is hear and just kind of shush him back to sleep and it seems to work.
As for the growing pains there isn't much to do for them when they are really bad I give him some tylenol with hopes it will take away some of the ache.
Good luck to you because I know exactly what you are gong through.

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C.M.

answers from Chicago on

Maybe your husband and you should let him sleep with you. He doesn't have to sleep with you for long, but let him know that you are there. I am sure all of you feel like it is not going to end. Good luck!

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