If you want to know the Definite DONT’S for Child Sleepwalkers, I’ve compiled the info you need!
Child Sleepwalkers are much more common than most people think, as we talked about in my previous post: Sleepwalking Children: Common or Worrisome. It can still be scary, to be the parent of a sleepwalker, and can be tough to know what’s safe to do, and what’s not safe to do. There are a lot of things you shouldn’t do if your child sleepwalks, and we will cover those here.
Definite DONT’S for Child Sleepwalkers
Leave Doors/Gates Unlocked
One of the scariest things about Child Sleepwalkers is that they can potentially leave the house, depending on the severity of their sleepwalking. Children have left through unlocked doors, gates, and even windows before, putting themselves in great danger. Since children aren’t awake while they’re walking, they can wake up and realize they’ve traveled far from home and have no idea how they got there. Children can also unknowingly expose themselves to the weather’s elements leaving them susceptible to the temperatures outside dressed in only what they sleep in. In addition, they can also wander into streets where they can be hit by a car, or even can fall prey to drowning if near a body of water or a pool. If you have a child sleepwalker, do not leave the doors to your home, gates to your yard, or windows unlocked.
While sleepwalking can come from nothing at all, and can just be a quirk someone has, it shouldn’t be ignored. Many times Child Sleepwalkers have an underlying cause for why they sleepwalk. As we discussed in our previous article about Sleepwalking Children, Child Sleepwalkers can have many complications that can cause their sleepwalking. Anxiety, stress, and even medical problems like Sleep Apnea can result in sleepwalking and as a result, sleepwalking should never be ignored. Follow-up with your pediatrician to make sure your child’s doctor knows they sleepwalk to see if they think there may be an underlying cause.
Lock Them In Their Room / Block Them In Their Room
I’ve heard of and read many stories about parents who, at their wit’s end, would lock their children in their rooms, or try to barricade their doors to ensure they didn’t escape while sleepwalking. While these parents have their children’s best interest at heart, they’re really making a very dangerous decision. If ever there were a weather emergency or a fire in the home, that child would have no way of escaping unless someone let them out, which may not be a possibility. It’s always important to make sure you keep your Child Sleepwalkers safe, but it’s also important to think about every possibility and plan for that too. Don’t lock or block them in their rooms.
Take Their Actions Personally
Sometimes when children sleepwalk, they can do or say things that may be offensive. Children can sometimes be violent when they sleepwalk because in their dreams they’re fighting off an attacker or some dangerous situation. They don’t mean to hurt you if they do, so don’t take their acts of violence personally against you. Sometimes their words could also be offensive. Remember that they are asleep and most likely won’t remember anything they said or did while sleepwalking. Don’t assume they meant anything they did or said while sleepwalking, and most importantly don’t take their actions or words personally.
Punish Them For Their Actions While Sleepwalking
Just like you shouldn’t take a sleepwalker’s actions personally, you also shouldn’t punish a child for what they say or do while sleepwalking. If you have a child who sleepwalks, punishing them for leaving the house in the middle of the night, or for punching a lamp and breaking it while sleepwalking, or for peeing in the laundry hamper while asleep is absurd and unfair. You can’t punish someone for something they aren’t even aware they’re doing, and can’t help. Don’t punish your child for what they do when they sleepwalk or threaten to punish them if they don’t stop sleepwalking.
Child Sleepwalkers are more common than you think and can be tough to parent. It’s a learning process, but once you learn the Do’s and Dont’s, it can be easier to cope. Do you have a Child Sleepwalker? What are some of your tips? Share them in the comments!
True! Sleepwalking is so scary. My eldest daughter is 8 years old now, 2 months shy of being 9. She has had several episodes, but it’s usually just walking around the room. But it’s still scary! Good think we sleep in the same room before. Now she’s in the other room but we would know if she moves because the only way out is our bedroom hehe
Joely Smith says
I could not imagine facing this issue! I would be terrified for my child! You have listed really important things to do and NOT do! No one should be locked in a room! As you said very dangerous!
I’m so glad my children always stayed firmly planted in their beds. I had a friend with a sleepwalker who ended up walking down the road at night. THE ROAD. Zero memory of the event.
Sarah Bailey says
These are some great tips, I remember having a friend who used to sleepwalk in my childhood. Her parents used to be quite worried about it.
Amber Myers says
Yikes, this would be an ordeal! My kids are not sleepwalkers, but if they were, I’d keep all your tips in my mind. I would never lock them in their rooms! You just never know what can happen.
I have a sleepwalker and thankfully he has never left the house. One time he came out, opened the fridge, closed it and went back to bed. About 30 minutes later he came out wide awake asking if we knew where his nightlight was. Yep, in the fridge.
Sleepwalking is so scary! Really crossing my fingers that we don’t have any sleepwalkers as they get older…
Jenn @ EngineerMommy says
These are important points to keep in mind for parents of sleepwalkers. I have a friend whose son did this at night.
I used to sleepwalk as a kid, and I would get freaked out or argumentative, so it definitely helps to agree with the person and gently guide them back to bed without upsetting them.
Becky Willis says
My sister used to sleepwalk, and then all 3 of her children did for a period of time lol. I agree that your tips of what not to do are right on. Because they can’t help it and it would be worse to lock them in or punish them for what they do while sleepwalking. I was lucky and none of my kids did sleepwalk.
Aduke Schulist says
I used to be a sleepwalker. I’d wake up in different rooms of the house and sometimes eat in my sleep.
I don’t have kids but my sister was a sleep walker when we were growing up. She never did anything crazy, just walked through the house Turing off lights and locking doors…LOL!!
Victoria Heckstall says
Never heard about this about sleepwalkers. My kids are not sleepwalker but a good thing to be aware of this.
Melissa Dixon says
I am very lucky to not have had a problem with this for sure. MY daughter sleeps well and I could not imagine having to deal with that.
Such great tips. My kids aren’t sleepwalkers (yet), but I used to be as a child and occasionally in early adulthood. Definitely a scary situation.
Sheena Tatum says
These are extremely good points. I’ve never had a sleepwalker so I truly never thought about the safety steps that need to be taken for kids who do.
Lisa Bristol says
My Son was a sleepwalker wen he was a toddler. I would wake up and find him sleeping in a different room. We put a baby gate in his bedroom door and that worked wonders.
Angela Bethea says
I remember my best friend has a brother that sleepwalks at night before. I agree that you don’t need to punish them.
They can potentially leave the house? That’s scary! Good thing our son is not a sleepwalker. Thank you for sharing this great article.
I used to sleep walk on occasion as a kid so these are great tips!
Wildish Jess says
Ah, this is so scary! My brother use to have nightmares and would sleepwalk.