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  1. #1
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    Default 4 year old and possible nightmares?

    For the past 5 nights DD has woken up, about an hour or two after falling asleep, and started crying. It is painful sounding cry and she is still asleep at the time. At first i thought she was sick but that doesn't appear to be the problem. Then i thought nightmares as one night she managed to say 'i'm scared' and in the morning she told me she had a nightmare that all her toys got taken away and another about daddy saying goodbye and not coming home (he has been away for work for 3 months) However the last couple nights she has said she had nice dreams and doesn't remember crying?
    It is quite distressing and i have no idea what i am supposed to do? I just sit with her until it passes, which takes about 15 mins on average. She is asleep the whole time.
    Anyone else had this problem? How did you help your child?

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    I sit and rub their backs and just keep repeating that i am there and that they are safe etc....

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    That's what i do, i just feel so helpless because it doesn't calm her down at all.

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    I know. You sound like you talking out any problems she has during the day.

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    My 4yr old DS also has ongoing nightmare issues, however he wakes up rather than cries while he sleeps. He becomes fearful of going to bed each night because he doesn't want to have another one! I try to talk to him about it during the day too (when the threat isn't there and he isn't returning to sleep). His dreams aren't from things around him (you mentioned your DH has left for work), they're usually about crocodiles eating him etc!

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    Yes, we talk about it during the day and it seems like maybe she is really missing her dad and is worried he is never coming home, so i think that is part of it. We have talked about how he working overseas but will be coming home in a few weeks and she skypes with him almost everyday.
    We have also talked about her dreams etc.
    I guess there isn't much more i can do, i just hate hearing her cry in her sleep.

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    She does also have the bad dreams where dinosaurs stomp on her etc

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    Sounds like "night terrors", my DS had night terrors where a couple hours after going to bed would wake crying/screaming, appear very afraid but unable to be consoled. You just have to ride it out, keep them safe if thrashing about, as trying to wake them makes things worse. Children generally have no recollection of night terrors as they are still asleep, unlike nightmares which wake them up.

    If they are happening at the same time each night, we have had sucess with rousing DS 1/2rh before the usual time, just enough to interupt the sleep cycle. After a few nights of doing that the terrors resolved, although would come back a week or 2 later. It went on for about 3mths.

    Have a look at this http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sleep/terrors.html

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    Thank you Kaybaby, sounds like exactly what we are going through.


 

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