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2 year old suddenly hysterical at bedtime

(13 Posts)
GothicRainbow Thu 18-Jun-15 10:04:17

My 2 year old DS has been a great sleeper and has been able to self settle for bedtime since about 10/11 months old.

Suddenly over the past week we have had lots of tears when I put him in his cot and go to leave the room. Last night was the worst night yet, he cried for nearly 2 hours with me going in and out. My DH took over in the end and stayed in the room with him until he was asleep.

DS then woke at just before 2am, which is very unlike him, and wouldn't let me leave with out lots of tears so I ended up sleeping on the floor beside his cot. He was very restless of the rest of the night and kept waking to check I was still there.

We're both feeling very tired today and I really don't know what to do about it all. Dreading tonight, does anyone have any ideas on what I can try to help get bedtimes back to normal?

CatOfTheGreenGlades Thu 18-Jun-15 10:12:30

It's an age where they can suddenly start to become aware of things like that there could be something scary in the dark, or that something could happen to you when you're out of sight. I'd see if you can talk to him about if there's anything he's worried about. Lots of reassurance is good - though it's tricky because you don't want to end up having to be in there with him every night (been there!), but take any fears he has seriously and be kind about them.

We have had success with nightlight things that don't give out much light but give a reassuring glow - you can get ones that make patterns across the ceiling too. When DS was scared of monsters we also did a thing someone suggested to us, getting an empty spray can and making it into "monster spray" which we squirted around the room at bedtime to keep anything scary away. I know it sounds daft and you might think it would be better to just say there are no monsters, but for a 2yo something like that can really help.

GothicRainbow Thu 18-Jun-15 12:32:18

Thanks for the advice Cat. He does have a nightlight that puts moon and Stars on the ceiling I find it really soothing.

I would love to be able to talk to him about it but he is unfortunately only at a one word place with speaking so I don't think he'd be able to articulate what is upsetting for him.

If he could tell me I'd be thrilled as then we could come up with some ideas.

I might try leaving his door ajar tonight with the landing light on and see if abit of extra light helps him

DPotter Thu 18-Jun-15 12:40:20

My nephew got completely freaked out by shadows when he was about 2 - would cry hysterically and need someone with him to settle.
It finished when I put him to bed one night and let him put every toy he possessed in bed with him - and I mean every toy. He laid on to of them all and this must of been soothing for him.
I like the idea of the 'monster' spray as well

GothicRainbow Thu 18-Jun-15 13:14:28

Bless him, i might suggest to my DS tonight that he can take a toy of his choice to bed with him to play with until he falls asleep. He has lots of softies but no books or proper toys in his bed. Maybe that will help??

Can you tell I'm grasping at straws! grin

LongDivision Thu 18-Jun-15 16:02:15

maybe time for a big boy bed? mine was like this around the same age, and i think it was because he felt trapped in the cot. even if he was sleepy, he'd scream and wouldn't allow us to put him in. but he was fine with his new bed.

SalsaP Fri 19-Jun-15 12:39:41

My DS was like this too at that age. He was nearly 3 and could speak fairly well. When I asked what was wrong he told me " his bed was dark" and kept staring at the corner. I bought him a cuddly toy that he could squeeze to turn a glowing light on. That helped a little bit but not entirely. We then put him in a big boy bed and this really helped! The problem didn't disappear altogether immediately but he became proud to go in his "big boy bed" rather than scared to go to bed and the problem gradually dissolved from there on.

GothicRainbow Fri 19-Jun-15 13:16:55

I'm really not sure if he is ready for a bed now instead of his cot as he seems so content to be in it for his nap in the day.

We had a better bedtime last night but only because my DH stayed in the room with him until he was asleep and then crept downstairs. I'm thinking it is an anxiety thing, he's been scared by something and now doesn't want to be left alone when it's nighttime.

I think we may have to keep up sitting in his room with him until the fear has been forgotten.

CatOfTheGreenGlades Fri 19-Jun-15 18:22:43

When you transition to a bed, if there's space you can always keep both bed and cot for a bit.

CityDweller Fri 19-Jun-15 18:27:20

DD's sleep became unsettled around this age - I think it's a common 'sleep regression' stage for lots of reasons - language development, imaginations taking off, etc. DD started talking about monsters, out of nowhere around 22 months. We got some books with happy/friendly monsters in and that helped.

But, in general I think lots of reassurance (ie what you're doing) will sort it out relatively quickly.

GothicRainbow Sat 20-Jun-15 00:15:37

Currently sat in DS's room waiting for him to go back to sleep. I was so close to sleep myself I sometimes wonder if he has a radar?!?

Thanks for the reassurance City, can you recall how long this delightful phase lasted?? confused

hartmel Sat 20-Jun-15 05:32:19

I feel with you Gothic, my son is now 21 month and he was always a great sleeper until his sister came.. Since then he wakes up at night at least once but has been going to bed fine. With no tears or hazzel! But now it is almost a month that every night is a nightmare putting him to bed.. Not even his warm milk bottle helped him settle down.. He always crawled out of bed running after us when we left his room.. We have a nightlight in his room. That helps a little bit but he still come middle in the night into our bedroom.
We are also now at that point where one of us have to sit in his room until he falls asleep!!

I also hope this phase will be gone soon!
Normally when we have a very hard time with him (lots of tears, tantrums, misbehaving etc) shortly after he learned something new and his happy for a while but then he gets bored about what he learned (for example walking, going up stairs, learning a new word, eating by himself etc) and wants to learn something new he gets really miserable. Plus he is also very jealous as I had my daughter very quick so he couldn't be my baby very long (age cap of 1 year and 1 month)

GothicRainbow Sat 20-Jun-15 19:41:22

I know we're all going through a tough time but it's soooo good knowing I'm not alone in this!!!

Last night he ended up in with us as he was inconsolable at 2am and we had been in and out of his room since midnight. I think it's going to become a regular occurrence now.

We have changed his night light tonight from a moving stars and moon light show to a static plug in which will give more consistent light.

I'm not holding out much hope that it will make a difference but it's worth a shot!

I hope you all have bearable if not good nights tonight

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