Night time(4 Posts)
This is my first time posting on here, hope I've done it right. I am really desperate for any advice or guidance. My little boy is 27 months old and for the last week (it feels like much longer) has suddenly become petrified of being in his cot bed/ room alone. We have never up until now had any problems with sleep, he's always loved his bedtime routine and other than when he has been poorly, have never had to go in his room and comfort him to sleep. He literally decided one evening he didn't want to be left in his cot bed alone and got extremely upset and scared when we left him to sleep. He climbed out of his cot quicker than we could get to his bedroom door screaming his heart out. Initially we comforted and fussed over him and calmed him down tucking him back in for him to throw himself out again and again screaming and crying the house down. We then tried the no eye contact and just saying bed time Henry and putting him back into bed (after seeing this on super nanny), this went on for an hour or so and was horrendous for both of us. We resulted in stroking his head until he fell asleep and we could creep out his room without him waking up. In total it took 3 hours instead of 7pm on the dot it was 10pm. The whole process is repeating itself every time he wakes up in the night too, which is 2 or 3 times. Over the last week we have bought the book "The rabbit who wants to go to sleep" and this has def helped getting him to sleep (asleep between 8-9 instead) but in the night we have been up for minimum 5 hours every night repeating the process, twice we have given in and brought him into bed with us at about 4/5am - I know this is the worst thing we can do but we are beside ourselves. He falls asleep on me in his chair in the room but when I try and transfer him he wakes and goes berserk. He keeps saying "no sleep" and pointing to his bed then saying mummy sleep as in mummys bed. We have turned his cot bed into a bed taking the bars down, and last night I squeezed into his bed with him for a couple of hours to try and get him to sleep but when i got out he woke. We have a night light on and tried plugging a bedside lamp into his room too incase he is scared of the dark. We got a star reward chart and have been using that during the day for things like eating and brushing teeth and bedtime sleep - he doesn't seem that fussed if he gets a star or not though. I've tried giving him a warm bottle of milk in his bed (he hasn't had milk at bedtime for a few months) but this didn't comfort him enough for him to even try it. We follow the same bath, book, bed routine that we have done since he was born, nothing has changed. I've tried being firm with him and telling him off incase he is just pushing his luck but we are quite sure that it is out of fear. When he wakes up screaming he is trembling all over and his cries are different to anything I've heard before, he seems to be having nightmares shouting in his sleep and whimpering and these are making him scared to fall asleep and be on his own. HELP! I don't want to get into and habits with him now after so long but I really don't know what else to try. Should I bring a bed into his room and sleep with him until this passes? Will it ever pass?! Should I put him in a different bedroom? He won't sleep in his bed in the day time either, and he has always loved his day time naps there. Is this quite common? Should i take him to the doctors? I was going to take him out today for him to choose a bedtime buddy (he has his comforter, Raff) but i thought a proper teddy bear he had chosen might make him happier in bed and a new light light that he has picked himself?
Sorry if this is a rambling message.
Oh Sarah you poor thing. This sounds really rough and like night terrors. I wouldn't take him out of his room at night and would maintain a quick cuddle and resettle. I think it's quite common at thus age and I'm sure there are people better qualified than me to answer. Don't try too many different things, stick to one for a good while. Offering comfort but with the condition he has to settle in his own bed. My son is the same age and can't articulate that well, can he give you any idea of what the fear is? Can you make monster spray or special good dream spray to put on his pillow?
Sympathy, lots and lots of it.
This reply that I recently posted for someone relates to a much younger child, but I think in principle it may be relevant to your child also:
I always answer this kind of problem, by suggesting that as a baby matures, becomes more aware of 'self' and their environment, things that previously they ignored or were not aware of, start to take on a more 'dangerous' or threatening image in their 'little world'.
Over the years (and you ARE in it for the 'long haul', maybe thirty years or more!) there will be VERY MANY changes that will occur, that are just 'phases' or inexplicable happenings, that you just have to cope with.
As in all things child-related, as much as possible, try to AVOID places and situations that will trigger unhappy reactions, or might tempt unwanted behaviours.
You seem to have been doing well up until now, so it sounds like most of your strategies have been OK.
Personally, I would try to avoid 'night lights' and similar things, as a child does need to get used to a fairly dark environment; just have a glow from under the door, or something similar, so it is not TOTAL darkness. Shadows, or patterns on curtains or wallpaper can take on strange shapes, which a toddler's developing imagination may interpret as scary or sinister. So things a baby would not notice, may start to seem important to an older child.
So, be as reassuring and supportive as possible, and before too long things should improve.
Thank you for your advice, it's reassuring to hear, even if being in it for long haul is 30 years!
We have been managing to get him to sleep closer to normal at 7pm the last few nights which is an improvement, we are just left with the battle of him waking up after a nightmare scared and screaming many times in the night. I am currently waiting for a call back from our doctor to see if there is anything they can give him to calm him down and help sleep through. Fingers crossed!
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