3 year old having nightmares

(21 Posts)
HenriettaTurkey Tue 21-Jul-15 09:57:07

Our 3 yo DS had recently begun a spell of much better sleep. He had a new room, a proper sized bed, a Thomas duvet he picked himself. He loved it and all was going well. He was looking forward to settling into it and then welcoming DS2 to share the room in a few months.

However, in the last month or so he has been suffering from nightmares - waking distressed several times a night, inconsolable. He can take a long time to settle back down only for it to all start again. Then when he wakes in the early morning, he now comes in to sleep with us. Not ideal as we have a 5 month old who I bf.

It's also begun to impact on his bedtime routine. He's always wanted us there to help him sleep but we had progressed to sitting silently on the sofa in his room, rather than holding his hand.

Now he just doesn't want to go to bed - and rather than dismiss this as naughty, I'm pretty sure it's because he doesn't want the nightmares.

Don't get me wrong - he's entirely capable of using these situations to his advantage - but at the moment he's a scared little boy.

I know nightmares are fairly common in 3 yo, so what techniques have you used to get through it?

33goingon64 Tue 21-Jul-15 10:06:58

Our DS went through this around turning 4. It passed after a few weeks. We didn't make a big deal out of it in front of him but did ask if anything was bothering him (he said no and we left it).

Thurlow Tue 21-Jul-15 10:13:20

DD is going through this at the moment, waking once or twice in the night, fortunately not inconsolable but certainly needing to be resettled. All we can think of to do is talk about how dreams are pretend and not real, to try and reassure her. She doesn't quite believe us though!

Would he like a night light or something, for when he wakes up?

HenriettaTurkey Tue 21-Jul-15 10:29:36

Thank you for your thoughts. A night light's a tricky one, I'm afraid, and wouldn't really work, but good to hear this may be short lived.

We had talked about how dreams aren't real, talked about cuddling a favourite toy if he wakes, and tried to find out if anything is bothering him. (Nothing, as far as we can tell). I've told tales of my happy dreams, and we've been there if he wakes.

I know one of the dreams was of daddy being on fire, which is pretty traumatic, but he's not told us about any others.

HenriettaTurkey Wed 22-Jul-15 09:50:52

Another bad night. My husband was in with DS for several hours. I wish I knew the answer...

Thurlow Wed 22-Jul-15 09:52:25

I can share you pain, we can be together! DD was up from 9-10 very tearful and clingy. Probably bad dreams. She did go to sleep in the end with the fan on for white noise - I just left it on all night.

0ddsocks Wed 22-Jul-15 09:52:59

We are going through the same thing with out 3.5 yr old - Sunday night woke with night terrors - absolutely hysterical. Last two nights she hasn't been that distressed but still screaming and crying out multiple times a night (she's not entirely awake)

HenriettaTurkey Wed 22-Jul-15 10:38:28

Sympathies for all those going through this too... Thanks for the fan suggestion. It's got to be worth a shot!

Greenstone Wed 22-Jul-15 11:41:20

I have a 3.5 yr old who generally sleeps really well but any time she has nightmares, I try to get to her asap and put her straight on the loo. She always wees, and then I put her back in bed after some cuddles and tell her that she will not have the same dream again because you never get the same dream twice in one night. I tell her that often bad dreams happen when you're very tired or when you need to do a wee because your body is trying to figure out what's going on.

This is pretty much exactly what my own mum used to do/tell me re. nightmares and for some reason I found it very comforting and it works for DD too. I've no idea why, but I think a trip to the loo always helps and not letting them wake up too much by asking for full details of dream etc. (that can wait til the morning). Sympathies, though, it sounds very tiring.

HenriettaTurkey Wed 22-Jul-15 15:21:04

Thanks, Green, definitely worth a try!

onefootinthebed Wed 22-Jul-15 22:40:08

I have just found this thread because I was looking up for sleep regression in 3 year olds, this is our 3rd night and I just thought it was because ds was weeing, he has just become dry in the day time. I never really thought about dreaming but he has just been saying he is scared a lot. The dark hand dryers and the Hoover. I feel he has been an amazing sleeper all his life up to this point.

I think I will speak to him about dreams tomorrow.

HenriettaTurkey Thu 23-Jul-15 12:36:34

All the best, onefoot. DS ended up in with us at 5am again...which is all kinds of lovely but not exactly ideal.

onefootinthebed Thu 23-Jul-15 21:16:04

Henrieta thanks we went out this evening and let him pick a lamp and when we got back he wanted to go to bed, he is fast asleep know but he is so so so tired I am not supprised, however I too am just going to bed as I think he will still wake up in the morning, I'm 5 months pregnant and work full time, this is such a hard week as he just won't settle with dh.

Goodnight I hope you're lo has a good nights sleep and you.

onefootinthebed Fri 24-Jul-15 06:35:59

As if I thought buying a lamp would solve all my problems zzzzzzzzzzzzzz 3hrs sleep and a full day ahead of me.

Thurlow Fri 24-Jul-15 09:33:10

OK, this is going to sound random but we think we've just got to the bottom of why DD was waking up so often and then remembering her dreams - worms blush Apparently the itching can really wreck their sleep. And of course when she woke up unexpectedly, she was remembering her dreams. Any chance your DC could have something like this?

HenriettaTurkey Fri 24-Jul-15 11:29:08

Oh my goodness! I'm pretty sure he doesn't but...I'll get DH to check! wink

Hope this sorts things out for you, Thurlow.

onefootinthebed Fri 24-Jul-15 15:29:11

Ooh interesting thurlow, I originally thought it was due to him weeing in his nappy as he still wears them for bed but I will check on this. Thanks

Thurlow Fri 24-Jul-15 17:05:48

Get them to poo in the potty instead of the loo, it will be somewhat obvious grin

HenriettaTurkey Fri 24-Jul-15 20:37:04

Or in our case, instead of his pants which he has sadly regressed to using hmm

onefootinthebed Fri 24-Jul-15 21:53:29

I won't tell you what I was doing when I got home but you can imagine. Anyway ds is all clear of worms. Thankgod, at least it's dh nights for the next two nights because he is off work and I am working the weekend.i am so tired

HenriettaTurkey Mon 27-Jul-15 12:16:42

So on Saturday night he slept through! Oh how we smiled at successfully navigating our way through this tricky patch.

Last night he was up three times.

...and the little one's nappy exploded at 4am.

Night terrors and weaning. The joys.

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