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3 year old uncontrollable screaming tantrums on waking from nap - worried

(8 Posts)
Girlsville Thu 11-Apr-13 11:13:12

Hi all

After some reassurance... DD1 turned 3 in February. She no longer naps in the day, but will often fall asleep if in car or buggy in the afternoon. When I go to wake her and get her out buggy or car, her most common reaction is to scream uncontrollably, throw herself around on the floor, kicking , screaming etc. It is awful to watch and DD2 (about to be 2) is very scared. This genrally goes on for 5 - 10 mins, but sometime slonger. Any advice? She used to be a bit grumpy when she was woken from a nap but nothing like this. Has anyone else's DC done this - and grown out of it!

It has coincided more generally with her screaming and tantrumming over lots of things - we didnt have muich of the terrible 2s but she now screams almost daily, and am finding it really hard to deal with, especially as it generally sets DD2 off.


Koyangwuti Thu 11-Apr-13 11:19:01

I had this with my first when she was between 2 and 3. Sometimes after waking up the irrational screaming and anger would go on for an hour or more. Then her little brother turned 2 just as she grew out of it, and he in turn took up the cause of not being able to deal with waking up from a nap during the day. He throws things, beats his hands on things, tosses himself on the floor and writhes around whilst screaming and red in the face, and refuses to be comforted.

So yeah, I can sympathize with this. Many of my nieces and nephews have gone through it too. My take is, from what I have seen, this is a phase. It is really hard to deal with and requires your best efforts to stay calm, but the child will grow out of it and it is not abnormal.

catsdogsandbabies Thu 11-Apr-13 11:21:26

my DS does this sometimes (2.7) so I pick him put of car etc and put a very exciting TV program I have recorded on sky plus and sit him straight on sofa in front of it, usually distracts enough to stop the crying and just sit cuddling for 5 mins usually settles him down.

SherbetVodka Thu 11-Apr-13 11:29:13

My DS is quite a bit younger than your DD at 2.5 years but he does this too. When he wakes up from a daytime nap he's often hysterical and inconsolable. It's frightening to see and the first time it happened I thought he must be ill because it was so extreme. But after it happened a couple of times, I googled it and found 100s of forum posts from people whose DC were doing the same thing and were worried about it.

The general consensus seemed to be that this is just something that many toddlers do and that while its upsetting, it's not dangerous and that you just have to ride it out and wait for them to calm down. Sorry I can't offer any more practical advice but I do know how you feel and hope it improves soon!

Unacceptable Thu 11-Apr-13 11:34:23

We had this and honestly one of the hardest things I've ever had to do was to ignore it. Completely.
I put DS on floor or sofa then left room and left him to it.
He still has a mini tantrum on waking occasionally but on the whole the phase appears to have passed.
He was DC5 btw and nothing I'd ever experienced before but was assured of many other DC reacting to waking in the same way

Bunbaker Thu 11-Apr-13 11:39:59

I had this with DD when she started napping later in the day. When she was little and would have a straight after lunch nap she was fine, but when she wasn't tired at 1ish and went to sleep at 3, 3.30, 4 o'clock we dropped the naps because she was horrible when she woke up.

Girlsville Thu 11-Apr-13 13:52:36

Thank you everyone - v reassuring. It is horrid to see and I was wondering if there is something wrong with her. she is ok when she wakes naturally in the day, only if I wake her then she has that reaction. I try to wake her gently, but sometimes that is just not possible if we have arrived somewhere and just need to get out of the car!

Mornings are fine, presumably because she has had good sleep and has woken herself but if for some reason she wakes in the night, which is uncommon, she has the same reaction.

shoesontheglasslamp Thu 11-Apr-13 14:55:55

We have the same thing. Check out 'sleep inertia''.

This seems to be what it is, and as PPs said, fairly common - horrible but common..!

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