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2.5 yr old suddenly a nightmare at bedtime

(5 Posts)
ReshapeWhileDamp Mon 15-Nov-10 22:08:02

And I do know why, or at least, what the catalyst was. We just moved house two weeks ago and while we're very much in the same area, he sees all the same friends, goes to the same groups, shops etc, the house is Different and his bedroom is larger, has different shadows and he has suddenly become almost phobic about going down. sad

Bedtime in the old house used to be - bathtime, mostly with DH, teeth, then change into PJs in bedroom, say goodnight to his stuffed animal friends, and a bottle of milk and a cuddle while he's drinking it. Put down pretty soon with teddy, sit in there a few minutes, then I'd pat his back, say goodnight and leave. He'd rarely call us back and would go to sleep on his own. (He was breastfed to sleep until last christmas and then we started with the bottle.)

Now, he starts racking up the aggro at bathtime (everything is Different and Wrong) and by the time he's upstairs he's already pretty tense and getting hysterical. By the time we get his PJs on, he's upset, not wanting to say goodnight to his friends properly, and then won't sit still on a lap while he's having milk. He then starts screaming the instant we get up to put him in the cot (the sides are still up) and says 'things like 'I don't want to go in there!' and says the room is spooky, there are Monster Eyes, Bear Shadows etc. We never had any of this before. I've eradicated as much of that as I can, with a blackout blind and by making sure landing lights are off, and we've gone in there during the day to tell the silly shadows to Go Away, but he's not a rational being when he's tired and scared!

The only way I've managed to get him to go to sleep quickly and without hysteria is by lying down with him on our bed. Takes a couple of minutes. I personally don't have much of a problem with this, but I think DH is worried it'll make problems in the future. Also, we are due our second baby in about 6 weeks, and while DS is looking forward to meeting his new brother, I know it's another disruptive thing at the moment and almost certainly causing him stress.

WWYD? We're planning to co-sleep some of the time with the new baby, and in any case, he'll probably be put down in our bedroom of an evening, so I'm concerned that DS1 needing to be laid down on our bed too will be a problem. Anyone done this sort of musical beds thing with a toddler and not had it last for years and years? grin

Wholelottalove Tue 16-Nov-10 09:01:19

Hi Reshape <waves> Just to say, DD is a couple of months older than your DS and over last few weeks she has been more fussy to get down and comes in and out of her room, so part of it could be the age maybe? We also have her in bed a bit and although she does climb in in the middle of the night sometimes, it has gotten much less recently. We will give her a cuddle if she does come in then take her back to her bed now.

If he is frightened of the dark/shadows could you leave a night light or low lamp on? Maybe get him to come with you and choose a special one to have in his room?

Could you take off the side of his cot and kind of 'lie' on it with him to help him go to sleep in his own room? I sometimes do this with DD to help her get to sleep but she is in a cot bed.

Otherwise, I guess it is perserverence and reassurance and hopefully once he's settled into the new house it will ease off.

Hope someone else has some good suggestions.

ReshapeWhileDamp Tue 16-Nov-10 10:10:44

Thanks! smile

I was thinking about taking the sides off and draping myself over the edge of his cot (not sure it would bear my weight at the moment!) but that would then mean he'd be free to get out and then fall down (uncarpetted, wooden) stairs in a house he's not yet used to. I think we'll try a nightlight next, but surely that will just make more scary shadows? confused

dribbleface Tue 16-Nov-10 14:23:18

My Ds started this the last week or so, blooming fireworks scared him silly. We have changed his bed routine a bit, he takes his torch to bed and has a night light (although if he is scared of shadows it might not be a good idea). Would he like listening to a music Cd or something?

GrumpyFish Tue 16-Nov-10 20:21:29

My DS (2.3) recently (well, about a month ago) started making a huge and similar-sounding fuss at bedtime. We got one of those star lights from IKEA that you fix to the wall - it's brighter than a traditional night light (so no shadows). Since Saturday we've been taking him into his room before his bath to let him turn his star on, and he seems to really love it - can't wait to get back to his room and see it, and has gone into his cot and fallen asleep without a fuss for the last 4 nights. It's so bright that I didn't think he'd sleep with it on (has been used to blackout since birth) but he has surprised me.

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