6 Year Old with Night Terrors

Updated on June 28, 2012
A.B. asks from Denver, CO
8 answers

Every single night for the past 9 days now, my 6 year old son has been woken up with night terrors. He screams and cries and when my husband and I ask him whats wrongs, he tells us there is a man. We've tried to ask him about "the man" and he describes him wearing a green shirt with blue on it. We are also wondering if this "man" is telling him to do something, because when we first try to comfort him, his first response is, "No, I don't want to do it." This is so terrifiying for us, we have no idea what to do. Has anyone experienced this? How did you cope with it?

Any advice will be much appreciated :)


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answers from Washington DC on

My dd says she sees things in her room too and will run into our room. This has decreased as she has gotten older, but it temporarily got worse when we changed her room. There is a road up the hill and the occasional car lights scare her.

Things are okay now, but sometimes I wonder what is going on. She's a happy kid, but I guess this is her brains way of dealing with underlying stress that we all have.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Alexandria on

My parents said I did the same thing at that age. The only thing that would wake me up from my screaming was a cool rag on my face and my daddy talking/holding to me. I don't remember ever having these so its weird. Also, all three of my kids did this, just like me apparently and I've started holding them and rubbing their back. It seems to help. Ok, and not to get creeping on you but...in a religious mind set I pray over them and ask God to protect them, including their dreams. The devil works in all ways of our lives and dreams are one of them. I've seen a big difference in how my kids sleep and in fact, in the way my hubs and I sleep as well when I pray over us too. I hope I didn't get all "weird" on you but that I helped. <3

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answers from Charlotte on

I don't know if this is really night terrors, A.. Usually with night terrors, a child can't really communicate much at all, especially to the degree you are talking about. These sound like nightmares.

If I were you, I'd try this first. Wake him up around 11:00 pm and take him to the potty and give him a few sips of water. Don't talk to him, just quietly get him up. That breaks the deep sleep cycle. Parents with kids who really do have night terrors have used this to successfully curtail night terrors.

Perhaps, if these are really nightmares, it might help your son subconsciously to feel and know that you are still there in the middle of his night, without asking him questions, prodding at him or making him feel that he cannot control what is going on with him without you. Maybe that sounds counterintuitive, but it's worth a try.

I would not ask him what he's dreaming about anymore.

If this doesn't help, call and talk to your ped about how to deal with it. You want to make sure that you handle it right with him so that it doesn't feed on itself.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

My only advice is the same as Dawn. It is similar to what my DD's pediatrician suggested: wake DD up about 30 min after she gets to sleep to break the cycle. Music can also break the cycle sometimes.

You aren't alone though. My DD is going through the same night terrors/nightmares. Sometimes they are truly night terrors (she's screaming and babbling, and we have no idea what she's saying). Other times she's talking about a purple man, and screams, "I don't want to play this anymore." It's majorly freaky! I am hoping it's all a phase.



answers from Boise on

Adrenal hormones can play a large part in nightmares.

Cortisol is the hormone im talking about. Also, many people with sleeping issues usually have an underlying medical issue.....sleep apnea is one, which can be tied to high cortisol levels, or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)can trigger nightmares and fatigue, which can be tied to low aldosterone. People with hypoglycemia will ahve a blood sugar fall about 3-4 hours after they fall alseep.The brain cannot function with low blood sugar. The body kicks in the backup mechanism to bring up that blood sugar, which is adrenaline. (the fight or flight homrone.) Look up 'night terrors and hypoglycemia' and 'nightmares and adrenal fatigue' and yahoo. Low homrones affect every system in the body, including the breathing, the heart rate, the blood sugar, sleep, sex hormones, mineral absorption, the kidneys, the muscles, melatonin/seratonin levels, the acid levels in the stomach, blood clotting factors, the CENTRAL AND PEREPHRIAL NERVOUS SYSTEM, and more.



answers from Salt Lake City on

Are you sure he hasn't had a traumatic experience with someone with a green shirt, or has he seen a movie or been told about stranger danger and is relating that to someone with a green shirt. It is common at this age for children to become more aware of things around them and have nightmares. I know my son had several nightmares about fires after a fire safety class at school.
I hope you figure it out and can start getting some sleep.



answers from Portland on

My child also has tight terrors. When it started they occured every night around the same time. We did as suggested below, and woke her up about 15 minutes before the anticipated night terror to take her potty (it was about 4 hours after she fell asleep), so 11 is about right. We did this several nights in a row and it worked!! Now she only gets them (and she is almost 6) when she is a) overtired, b) coming down with illness or c) in a new sleeping environment (on vacation). When they do occur it is important to not disturb them, just keep them from harm. It's so scary when you don't know what is going on. If they are truly terrors, your child will not recall ANY part of it. At times she makes sense and looks as if she is seeing something that we are not. But usually it's a lot of screaming nonscence. She began having them around 3. She is almost 6 now. Hope this helps you out!! Let us know if you're able to break the cycle ;-)



answers from Denver on

I agree with one of the other persons who responded-this does not sound like night terrors as my son had them for years and could not verbalize and could not recall them at all. This sounds like nightmares which is more common at the age of your child. It is more common for them at this age to become more aware of strangers and the world around them. I am sure it is a phase that he will grow out of but frustrating while it occurs-during day time hours I would talk to him about his dreams and reassure him he is safe and that his family protects him.

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