Night terrors affect 5 in every 100 children between the ages of 18 months to 6 years old. It’s a frightening experience for both parent and child, and can be difficult to overcome. As opposed to nightmares, night terrors are forgotten by the child because they occur during the transitional period between deep non-REM sleep and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. The disruption this causes for the child can lead to further stress, which is a catalyst for continual night terrors. But don’t worry–you can break the cycle. Night terrors are caused by over-arousal of the central nervous system. Along with the help of your Glow Dreaming unit, implementing a simple and consistent bedtime routine will help your child unwind naturally.
1. Keep It Simple
Children crave routine. Predictability and structure allow them to anticipate what’s going to happen next. Knowing and understanding their schedule gives your child a sense of certainty and reliability. Much of a child’s life is out of their control, which is why they are prone to stress and anxiety. Having a simple bedtime routine will help them feel safe and secure.
2. Get To Bed Before They’re Too Tired
Putting a toddler to bed when they’re overtired is a real battle. Initiating their bedtime routine before seeing signs of tiredness will allow you a longer, slower process that will help your child wind down naturally. This gives you the opportunity to read, cuddle and relax together in a way that doesn’t feel forced or rushed.
3. Narrate The Evening
Pre-bedtime, find ways to pleasantly remind your child about their upcoming routine. Allowing your child plenty of time to process and prepare for sleep removes any chance for surprises or unexpected feelings of anxiety. Tell them what will be coming up soon, what steps you’re going to take and what they will experience.
4. Let Them Decide
Along with the feeling of control, which reduces stress, giving your child the power of choice creates a feeling that they’re in charge of their bedtime. Letting them pick out what pyjamas they want to wear, which toys they want to sleep with and what stories they’d like to read before they go to sleep, gets them mentally prepared for bed and feeling as if they have a choice in the matter.
5. Just Breathe
Teaching your child simple breathing techniques in bed can make a world of difference to calm them down. It also shows your child that you are dedicated to being calm and relaxed with them. There are many different ways to teach children breathing techniques. You can show your child to place their hands on their belly and imagine blowing up a balloon and then deflating it as they exhale. You can have them draw a square in the air while counting to 4 on each inhale and exhale. They can touch their fingertips together to form a sphere with their hands, and as they exhale they can flatten their hands in a prayer position. Visualising their breath is the best way to create calm, deep inhalations.