Parenthood is beautiful. Parenthood is rewarding. But parenthood is also hella challenging. Often been referred to as a walk in the park.. JURRASIC PARK!
I laughed when I first heard that comparison, but if I can be honest, I’ve just lived through my very own world of roaring monsters over the past two weeks. For those of you who have missed my recent stories on Instagram, my toddler has been going through #NightTerrors. I should actually say suffering because it’s not been an experience that I could console him through.
This night terror term is new to me, and apparently much different to nightmares. Nightmaresare unpleasant dreams that you usually remember upon waking, while Sleep terrorsinvolve feelings of intense fear, screaming, and thrashing around while one is still asleep.Nightmares occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleepand sleep terrors typically happen during non-REM sleep.
Hunter had been waking up in the middle of the night screaming to be picked up and walked around the house with, as if to inspect the rooms. It was weird. Whatever he cried for, I gave him- the phone, his apple, blanket, book, you name it. But as I handed it to him- he’d throw it to the ground. He would repeatedly shout “No! NO! No! and grip onto me for dear life. I tried to reassure him that I’m there and I loved him, but I was not feeling like the strong, with it Mom. No. I felt confused and helpless to say the least. Absolutely nothing calmed him. It would take me easily 30-45min, if not an hour to settle him.
This was not a medical emergency that I could call the doctor for, so, like Mums do these days- I took to my wonderful instagram community of Mums & Dads. True to form, messages filled my DM’s with stories similar to mine. I was instantly reassured that I was not alone in this freak show of parenting, and that what my son was going through was not necessarily a one in 500 case. Phew! This is just Toddler-hood. “It too shall pass” – the words many have comforted me with. I’ve also been told that this could be spurred on by the insecurities of my pregnancy.
I’d like to share some of the suggestions that worked for some of the families over here, just incase any of them work for you and yours.
In no particular order:
- Limit Screen Time before bed.
If your Bub is at a stage like Hunter, where they are enjoying their YouTube, or Music Video time- it might be a good time to switch it off as long as 2-3 hours before bed. The less TV time as bed-time approaches, the better. This allows your child’s brain to wind down from all the stimulation and refocus their routine from all the activity on screen.
- A Chill Zone
Just before bedtime, take your child into a quiet spot in the house, be it a private section or their room, where you can create a peaceful and tranquil ambiance to settle them down. You can either read in this time, share stories/ experiences of the day, or any other passive activity that promotes calm bonding. This may even mean politely declining multiple or a noisy guest in your home, just until the worst of the sleep disruption is over. By bedtime, they’re sure to be winded down.
- Rescue Remedy:
Homoeopathic- flower essence combination that supports the functioning of the nervous system to treat anxiety, fear, hypersensitivity and relieves extreme panic. It also helps induce restful sleep and prevents insomnia. Obviously I’d advise clearing anything like this with your family doctor first. I am however, just sharing what has worked for some.
Sticking to the same bed-time every night, and giving your child a good familiar routine leaves little room for the unknown. It gives kids a sense of security and confidence to go about their daily little lives.
- I’ve saved the best for last. PRAYER & ANOINTING.
The very first thing we did when we understood what we were dealing with- was rededicate our home. We anointed it, with special focus on our and Hunter’s bedroom. We laid hands on our son and prayed a different kind of prayer. A prayer of protection over our Son.. a warefare kind of prayer. You know, the one where you really mean business. I do not know where you stand spiritually, with which religion, or what you call your God- but I think it’s so important as parents to be spiritually awake and aware. If you believe in energy, that’s also cool- go on and give your home a good old cleanse with salt and garlic.
But for us, when Hunter had his most recent night terror, I immediately awoke and laid hands on him, praying like I was protecting my Boy at all costs. He settled within 10min and was fast asleep after 15, as apposed to the hour I had previously struggled to calm him.
You may use these suggestions- or not. That is all they are. Every child is different, and every family has their own unique way of ‘dealing & healing’. This may just be my personal reminder journaled online. But if something has worked for you, please do share with me so that perhaps someone can benefit. Leave an encouraging comment for the next Mum or Dad needing a break through.
Much Love, Laughter & GOOD SLEEP always,