3 yo bad separation anxiety at bedtime

(4 Posts)
ScoutFinchMockingbird Mon 16-Jun-14 08:54:09

In the last month, my DD (3.1) has been suffering from really bad separation anxiety when we leave her bedroom and it is time to sleep. We have changed nothing in her routine. She has a bath about 19.30, 2 stories, we put her lullabies on and then leave the room.
Lately, within about 5 mins, she then starts crying, screaming, yeling "mummy, daddy" and really won't calm down. She gets in such a state. We have tried letting her "cry it out" - last night for about 45 mins, but she got so worked up, she made herself sick. The only thing that works is to sit in her room with her until she falls asleep, which I don't really want to encourage.
Any ideas please?

carolinementzer Mon 16-Jun-14 09:08:46

Is this new separation anxiety or has it always been this way? Does she wake up the night and need you then?
I know how you feel as we could never do CIO as my DD would make herself sick if left alone.

But it's really common for kids to get separation anxiety at various stages of development especially if something has changed - e.g. starting nursery, getting bad dreams, new baby etc. And do remember that separation anxiety is just a natural survival instinct.

It's up to you - but personally I indulged my DD when she was going though these stages and stayed with her to fall asleep - it only took 2 minutes and we had more confident happy girl in the end. Fighting it only made her more clingy and made me feel rotten. Then eventually she would go back to falling asleep on her own. At 3 they are still so little - one day she won't want you in her bedroom at all and then you'll think fondly on the memories of bed time cuddles.

I've written a blog post on separation anxiety if you're interested - it talks about many different ways to over come bedtime separation anxiety in a gentle fashion. Here's the link if you're interested - mydaughterwontsleep.com/2014/05/31/dealing-with-separation-anxiety/

Good luck and best wishes xx

TheCunkOfPhilomena Mon 16-Jun-14 09:19:17

It's so horrible, I do understand!

DS is 3 and has been going through bouts of separation anxiety as well. I received some fantastic advice on here from a lovely mum.

When DS goes to bed we have a routine conversation, we say goodnight to the sun on his groclock and then he lies down in bed. I give him a kiss and ask him how many times he wants me to come back. He normally holds out both hands and says '10 times'. We agree I'll come back 10 times and I say I'm just going to make a coffee and I'll be back. So the first time I return it's after about two mins, then I say I'm going to drink my coffee and will be back after that. That is about 5 mins. Then (he's normally asleep by this time) I increase the amount of time between visits until he's asleep.

I think this works because a) he has some control over it (by saying how many times he wants me to return) b) he is reassured that I am still around and coming back and c) he is still going to sleep on his own.

It may take a while to get used to but it does work.

Now I just need to know how to get him to stop waking up at 5am...

ScoutFinchMockingbird Mon 16-Jun-14 10:20:20

Thanks both. Will try what you both suggest. The separation anxiety is new. it started on holiday a month ago and I thought it was just because we were in a new place, but it has continued now we are home and has done for the past 3 weeks. She is otherwise a fairly confident little girl, so I guess that's why I find it so odd ...

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