I Think My 2 Year Old Is Having Bad Dreams!

Updated on November 07, 2010
J.R. asks from Bagwell, TX
9 answers

Okay, my daughter turned 2 in May, and for the past few weeks, she's been waking up in the middle of the night crying and coming to bed with me. She does this almost every night. Yesterday, I took a nap with her, and she started screaming "Mama" and crying so when I went to hold her, she started hitting me and pushing me away. She was asleep the whole time, though. This is why I think she's having bad dreams. I have no idea how to help her with this, because I don't know what kind of dreams she's having or where they could be coming from. If anyone has had an experience like this, please help!

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So What Happened?

Okay, so I realized that when she had these, it was usually when she didn't have a nap that day.... Her nap time was pretty much becoming non-existent! But, now, I try to make her take a nap everday, and she sleeps all thru the night! Thanks to everyone for your advice, it really helped me a lot!

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answers from Lawton on

It may be night terrors. Try limiting her TV time and cutting out any shows that have really intense moments.

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answers from Fayetteville on

Hi J.,
Our oldest went through this about that age, and it is much harder on the parents than the child. It sounds as if she is having night terrors. It is actually a period of time between sleep states. Google night terrors and you may find some help. Here is a link that will explain the difference between a nightmare and a night terror. https://ssl.search.live.com/health/article.aspx?id=articl...

Hope that helps! You'll be in my prayers!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I am having this same problem and i need answers too. I have been trying to search for answers but cant find any!



answers from Mobile on

Sounds like Night Terrors. My son has these too.
Very upsetting.
I think he is often affected by things he watches.
I try to view everything before allowing him to watch.
Some kids shows / movies are too much for children this age.
A sweet little Veggie Tales movie called "Lord of the Beans" entered his dreams for months. He would wake up in the night crying about TREES. In this video the TREES are alive and obviously a bit scary for our 2 year old.
We don't watch tv at all but occationally a video from the library or recordings of Sesame Street.
We are sticking to very mild sweet content and it seems to help.

Next, my husband and I make it a point to pray with our son and over his sleep / dreams every night.



answers from Pine Bluff on

This is very normal at this age. Is isn't easy for anyone involved, but very normal. My youngest daughter has episodes like this quite often. I have found that if I hear her crying before she comes to my room, I can go in and talk to her. That usually calms her down. (She is usually still asleep when I talk to her. Sometimes she even talks back and answers questions.) If she wakes up from her night terrors and comes to my room, I hold her and asure her that everything is ok. I make sure to tell her that it was just a dream and that Mommy is her to keep her safe. Then I walk her back to her room and put her back in her bed. She usually goes right back to sleep. I hope this helps and that her bad dreams end soon.



answers from Huntsville on

It sounds like night terrors. They stay asleep while we see signs of a bad dream. I've heard you just have to let them get through it and make sure they're safe. One thing that is supposed to lessen the likelihood of having them are getting enough rest/sleep (so no staying up too late). I also heard that something unusual during the day can trigger them, like it's their way of working through them. I also think that age is more likely to have them. You can search for night terrors and read some more about them.
Good luck,



answers from Tulsa on

Hi J.--You may want to do a google search on night terrors. I had this very same thing happen with my two older kids, close to the same age although I think they may have been closer to a year when that happened. Anyway, it will give you information between bad dreams and night terrors and some ways that you as a parent won't feel so helpless. Best of luck to you. I will tell you that both my older kids (keeping my fingers crossed that it won't happen with my youngest!) grew out of it, so yours should too.



answers from Oklahoma City on

That sounds more like night terrors than nightmares. It's HORRIBLE for the parents, but, from what I've read, really no big deal for the children involved. My son just started in with them (my daughter started them about 2, had maybe 10 total, and stopped them by 4). My son seems to be doing it more frequently. He'll scream and scream and push me away and fight and claw and twist, all without really knowing what's going on (it's creepy when he looks right at me and doesn't see me at all!)

The nighttime sleep disturbances might be just that, sleep disturbances. Is she getting two year molars? Learning another new skill, like potty training, using longer words or learning to color? Maybe she's growing and those stretching bones are getting uncomfortable. You might try a dose of motrin in the evening, which could help if it's teeth or bone/muscle aches. For keeping her in her own bed, try getting to her before she gets to you. If you hear her coming, get to her, get her in her bed and sooth her there. She may just need some reassurance that you'll be there when it's dark and scary :)

Good luck. These sleep phases pass quickly (of course, with my daughter, sleep at all passes quickly... LOL)



answers from Oklahoma City on

Sounds like night terrors my son started at about 6 months of age and lasted till around 4 he also had sleep apnea due to enlarged adenoids and tonsils and once we had that taken care of it all went away so I have always linked the two things together. Anyway google it like others have said and you will learn a lot. good luck i know how terrifing it can be.

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