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  • Jessica Berk

Toddler Nightmares vs. Night Terrors

Is your child waking up and you think it might be toddler nightmares every night? Learn the difference between night terrors in toddlers vs. toddler nightmares, the two main differences, and the third thing that most likely is the actual reason your toddler wakes up every night.


>>Watch this blog on my NEW! Awesome Little Sleepers YouTube channel! 👇


Toddler Nightmares

With nightmares, when your child wakes up they may be scared and they might remember the dream they just had. They may come into your room or be mumbling about the dream they had. They usually talk about scary images in their mind and they're just very upset in general.

With nightmares in toddlers, once you give them a hug and some reassurance that they are safe and everything is okay, they can typically calm down. With the nightmare, they tend to calm down once you give them this reassurance and they can go back to sleep calmed down.

Nightmares may happen occasionally but they're unlikely to wake your child up multiple times a week and certainly not multiple times a night.

Night Terrors in Toddlers

A night terror in toddlers looks totally different. They usually wake up screaming words like “no” or “stop.” If you go into your child’s room you may notice that they are thrashing around and have no idea you have entered the room. They don’t say” oh mom” or look to you for reassurance because they are actually still asleep.

With a true night terror, your child will fall right back to sleep. They don’t need any reassurance at all because they are not actually awake.

Night terrors may plague your child frequently for a few days or even weeks, then stop, then they may come back. If you see one night terror, you're likely to see another one. They can start in kids as young as 3 and kids usually outgrow then by 12 years old.

Two Main Differences Between Nightmares and Night Terrors in Toddlers

There are two main differences when it comes to nightmares and night terrors in toddlers. The first one is wakefulness. As mentioned earlier, when your child is having a nightmare they are fully awake, and therefore reassuring them will help them calm down and get back to sleep. However, in a night terror, your child is not actually awake even though they appear awake. They do not need anything from you (even though this might be a scary experience for you).

The second main thing is timing. Night terrors usually happen within the first few hours after a child goes to bed. They happen before midnight. Nightmares, on the other hand, happen later, around 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.

The Most Likely Reason Your Child Wakes Up At Night

There is a third reason your child might be waking up in the middle of the night (and this is the most common reason). In my experience, as a sleep coach for children, the most common reason I see children waking up in the middle of the night is because of poor sleep habits.

The truth is, if a child can not fall asleep alone at bedtime, they really can’t stay asleep alone throughout the night.

If this seems like the reason your child is continuously waking up and no one can sleep through the night in the house, there is a solution. I have been helping parents end the bedtime drama and help their kids sleep through the night for years now. Start with my next free Toddler Sleep Masterclass where I teach you how to get your child comfortable falling asleep alone - so they can sleep through the night (so you can fix your family’s sleep problems for good).

And even if you are still not 100% sure what is disrupting your child’s sleep, this free class can only help you get more clarity. >>Click Here<<


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