Night terrors vs. nightmares — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Night terrors vs. nightmares

How do you tell the difference? For the past 3 nights ds has been waking up. We find him standing up, inconsolable. We find that picking him up, giving a hug, or even putting a hand on his back calms him down and he lays back down, but the second we leave the room he's screaming again.

I read that if it's night terrors to let them be, but to console briefly for a nightmare. So I'm unsure which to do.

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Re: Night terrors vs. nightmares

  • When it's night terrors touching them or talking to them makes it worse, we have been dealing with terrors for 2 months now , they are terrible. I would say your dealing with nightmares but I'm no specialist.
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  • If he is comforted by your presence it's not a night terror. A kid having a night terror has no idea you're there and isn't fully conscious. 
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  • image Kimbus22:

    image KC_13:
    If he is comforted by your presence it's not a night terror. A kid having a night terror has no idea you're there and isn't fully conscious. 

    Yep.  Night terrors are absolutely horrible. The kid is like a zombie and anything you do makes it worse.  If he's better when you pick him up and calm him, it's just regular nightmares.

    Ugh, that sounds so terrifying and sad at the same time.
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  • image Kimbus22:

    image KC_13:
    If he is comforted by your presence it's not a night terror. A kid having a night terror has no idea you're there and isn't fully conscious. 

    Yep.  Night terrors are absolutely horrible. The kid is like a zombie and anything you do makes it worse.  If he's better when you pick him up and calm him, it's just regular nightmares.

    Yes. I know this very well because I suffered from night terrors into my early teens (ugh) and whatever you do or say to the sleeper becomes incorporated into the nightmare they're having. If anyone spoke to me while I was having one I'd run away from them. 

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