Sleepwalking in children: what attitude to adopt?

Sleepwalking is a phenomenon that amuses as much as it frightens its witnesses. However, it is not limited to adults, but also appears to be relatively common in children. They can also intimidate their parents. Sleepwalking can indeed be very confusing, but most of all scary. How should parents feel about their children wandering home alone in the middle of the night?

A common phenomenon in children

Sleepwalking usually occurs three hours after the sleep phase. Right now, the child is then in the stage of partial awakening. For this reason, he is able to get up to sit, get out of bed and even walk. He can keep his eyes open or closed. During the onslaught of somnambulism the body is awakemore the brain falls asleep.

Seizures usually last at most 10 minutes, but it can still be very impressive to people who attest to it. Scientists are still struggling to find an explanation for such a crisis, even in many cases the source hereditary. In fact, 60 to 80 percent of parents of sleepwalking children have already had at least one seizure in the past. Children can get sleepwalking attacks from an early age, although researchers have found it peak between 4-8 years.

child sleeping in bed at night with plush toy
Credits: iStock

How should I react?

It’s hard to know what behavior to adopt when you catch your child sleeping. The first thing is not to panic and stay calm ensures the safety of your child. Indeed, from the moment he rises, you must monitor him to prevent him from putting himself in danger. So make sure he doesn’t fall off the stairs or try to open the window. If you notice a recurrence of the phenomenon, take the lead to implement it secure your home. You can do this, for example, by placing a barrier in your child’s bed, placing dangerous objects out of his or her reach, or cleaning the floor of large objects to prevent him or her from falling.

We often hear that it can be very dangerous to wake a person in the middle of a sleepwalking session, even if it is not. However, this behavior is completely unnecessary and will simply panic your child, who does not understand the situation when you wake up. You still have to be physically present to follow him and force him to go peacefully back to his bed to sleep.

What to do if this phenomenon recurs?

You can take steps to limit these sleepwalking episodes, especially by making sure your child is getting enough sleep during the day. Lack of sleep can indeed be one of the factors leading to sleepwalking. So restore your nap if you feel your child needs them.

It is also important respects the rhythm of sleep about your child. So watch your bedtime so you don’t miss her full bedtime.

Finally, you have to follow your precautions to avoid such wake-ups at night: make sure your child goes to the toilet, but also that his room temperature is neither too high nor too low.