Milngavie Early Years Centre

news for parents

Parenting advice – Night terrors


At Milngavie EYC we understand that parenting can be challenging and our Family Champion (Julie) is always available (currently online or via telephone call) to share parenting top tips to tackle a range of issues. Following positive feedback from families about our bedtime routine post and in response to requests for information on night terrors Julie has prepared the short note below.  


Night terror – what are they?

Night terrors are very common in children between the ages of 3 – 8. Nightmares occur during light sleep and can be recalled by your child however night terrors happen during deep and children can have no memory of them. Night terrors can be caused by an over active mind or being overly stimulated before bedtime. Being overtired can also be a cause so a consistent bedtime routine is very important. If your child seems stressed and upset try to discover the reason by gently probing but not just before bedtime.

What happens? What do night terrors look like?

Night terrors can be alarming and difficult for any parent to handle. Children may have their eyes open and appear awake yet they’re still actually in a state of sleep and unaware that the parent is there. Children may cry out, shout and thrash about and be difficult to comfort. Sometimes your child may physically shake especially when trying to settle down again.

What should I do?

Gentle but firm touch and quietly shooshing your child can help to settle them down although this may take some time. The child could resist a hug as they’re still in the throes of distress.

Your child won’t be aware that this is happening and will not remember it in the morning so it is best not to mention it but maybe gently try to find out if anything is worrying them.

Remember that although it is distressing for you to witness your child is totally unaware and not suffering pain. Children usually grow out of these terrors and they can become less frequent by following a good bedtime routine. If they persist or increase you can speak to your GP.

For more parenting tips please contact our Family Champion (Julie) at

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