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Waking At Night

Children usually wake up in the night with night mares or just wake and want to come in with the parents to sleep in the night. This is usually more frequently from 2 to 4 years old. They would like someone else there to comfort them and it can be a parent or a sibling. It is our job as parents to feed, clothe and keep them safe. The question is how we reassure them that we will keep them safe. Some parents will just call out and the child will go back to sleep. Some parents go in the child’s bed till they go back to sleep. Some children come into their parents room and the parent takes them back into the child’s room until they go back to sleep. Some parents let them stay in their bed. Some pull out from underneath the bed a pallet with pillow and blanket for them to sleep on beside their bed. If does not matter how but it is our job to do it. Decide how you and the child want to function and be consistent. Don’t let them in one night and not the next.

We also have some children who get up and roam the house, light the stove, or go outside the front door at 2 in the morning. It is OK to lock your child in their room if they are roam. They are safer locked in their room rather than getting into trouble. Reverse the door knobs so that the lock is on the outside. You do not want them to accidentally lock themselves in their room anyway. Or just buy a hook/eye lock and put it on the door to hold it shut. If the house catches fire, they will not get you, you will go get them. And if their door is closed the smoke will not go into their room and they will be saved. If you have a problem with closing the solid door and they climb over the mesh gate, get dad to buy a "back door screen door" and mount it in their door with the wood door swinging one way and the screen door going the other way.

Night Terrors are a different problem. They   start screaming in their sleep.  That is a sleep disorder just like sleep walking, talking in the sleep, bed wetting, and bruxism (grinding teeth in the sleep). Night terrors lasts a few months to years and goes away. They are not emotionally disturbed and are not having a night mare. They are actually still asleep. When you go in there they do not know you are there because they are still asleep even with their eyes open.  Just wake them up and put them back to sleep.

Dr. Knapp

(p.s. One parent told me their 3 year old came in on them when they were doing certain activities in their bed. They did not notice since they were busy. The child climbed up on Daddy’s back and said "giddy-up horsy." MOST embarrassing. Keep your door locked during that stuff. Then open it up after and let them have access to their safety person.)