Hudson Valley Parent

HVP September 2018

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Page 16 of 39 n Hudson Valley Parent 17 Dr. Karlin says that children who experience night terrors usually begin to have them in early childhood, and they will usually resolve by the time the child is ten or twelve. He says they occur in similar frequencies among both girls and boys. Unfortunately, it is usually very difficult to identify a single cause for night terrors. Besides a family history of terrors, other causes might include a lack of sleep, too much caffeine, new medication, poor sleep hygiene, or heightened stress or anxiety. According to Gugluizza, "You could have a perfectly happy, well-adjusted child who still has night terrors." Nightmare vs night terror If your child is experiencing nightmares rather than night terrors, you have some more options for helping them cope. "You should offer comfort and cuddles if they are waking up in the middle of the night and reassure them that they are safe," says Gugluizza. "You can remind them that you are there to protect them and that you are not going to let anything bad happen to them." Gugluizza also suggests singing a song, reading a story or playing a small game to help your child go back to sleep. You can also encourage your child to draw or write in a dream journal to help her process the nightmare. A good night's sleep every night is a crucial part of your child's health and development. Watching your child struggle to sleep well can be incredibly frustrating, but staying patient and helping your child remain calm, relaxed, and stress-free will help her have the sweet dreams she needs. Elora Tocci is a freelance writer born and raised in Newburgh.

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