Ten Things You Should Know If Your Child Starts Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking – have you experienced it? It’s the middle of the night, your child wakes up but can’t tell you what’s wrong. They’re not crying but they just sit there in a daze. It’s almost like a “zombie mode”.                         

This had been happening to my six-year-old son recently, but I didn’t think it was sleepwalking at first. In fact, I didn’t think much of it – I thought it was nothing more than a bad dream. He’d cuddle up and go back to bed and that was that.

sleepwalkingThat is until last week. My son woke up and walked into the bathroom as my husband was brushing his teeth for bed. He silently gave his dad a hug but wouldn’t utter a word. My husband asked if he was alright and if anything was wrong but he wouldn’t answer.

After much prodding, my husband finally asked our son if he knew who he {meaning my husband} was. Instead of answering his dad, he answered his Ji Jitsu teacher’s name.

Thankfully my husband led him back to bed and alerted me of his suspicions that our son was sleepwalking.

Yes, our son is a sleepwalker.

Like any worried mom, I started to freak out a little.

What if he gets hurt? What if he goes outside by himself in the middle of the night? There are dozens of what if’s that could happen if your child starts sleepwalking. How do you plan for them all?

So I did my research on sleepwalking and learned what I could. Here’s what I found out:

  1. Most sleepwalking occurs 1-2 hours after a person goes to bed.
  2. It can be hereditary, and as it turns out my husband was a sleepwalker as a kid, too.
  3. There are many triggers for sleepwalking including lack of sleep, stress, a fever/illness, certain foods or medications.
  4. Try not to wake a sleepwalker. Instead, guide them gently back to bed.
  5. They may outgrow sleepwalking as they get older and continue to grow and develop.
  6. Limit sweet snacks or certain foods that can trigger a bad sleep cycle.
  7. Try sticking to a bedtime routine and time for your child to help them relax.
  8. Make sure the house is safe and secure if they do go wandering in the middle of the night.
  9. A sleepwalker will not remember anything they did if you ask them about it the next morning.
  10. Don’t overthink things your child does while sleepwalking.

So what have I done? I try and stick to a bedtime routine and time. I make sure the house is as safe as can be every night, and that doors are locked. I’ve also informed any family members that my son is a sleepwalker.

As an added measure, I installed a camera in our kids’ room. It’s set to alert me to any movement in their room. So should he wake in the middle of the night, even for a drink of water, mom hopefully will know.

Do you have a sleepwalking child? Share your experience with us.

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Sarah was born and raised in the Motor City but has called Mid-Michigan home now for over a decade. She worked as a television news reporter covering everything from breaking news, investigative stories, sports, and lifestyle but has stepped back from the industry to be a stay-at-home mom for her two kids. In between swim classes and t-ball practice, Sarah enjoys running and bowling (she is a former state champion). She also has her own blog, The TV Mommy - @SarahJaegerTV or @TheTVMommy - and owns her own video production business, April Lane Productions.