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Toddler phobia - 23 month-old DD gets hysterical when people "sleep" in front of her - any ideas??!

(9 Posts)
QPmum Fri 29-Aug-08 22:49:55

Tonight we watched In the Night Garden for the first time and DD was spellbound and delighted (slightly to my dismay - it's not exactly the most engaging toddler tv for parents, is it?). Until, that is, it got to the bit at the end where all the characters go to sleep, at which point she got rib-heaving-gasping-for-breath hysterical, and couldn't calm down for about 20 minutes and then at bedtime nearly started up again as she told me "DD bit sad...Iggle Piggle...boat" which I managed to diffuse more or less by explaining that his boat is like her cot and he was just going to sleep and would wake up wanting to play again later etc etc. It's happened before - she burst into tears when I pretended (at her request) to fall asleep in front of her, and the other day the nanny suggested that we all close our eyes so that DD could go and get the Thomas train she had hidden from us and again she started sobbing. I'm not sure what's going on or why she finds it so terrifying. Any ideas?

addledbrain Fri 29-Aug-08 22:55:32

My DD went through exactly the same thing a bit younger though with no apparent trigger. She would go loopy if anyone was sleeping or had their eyes closed, on TV, at toddler group, on a pamphlet at the bank! i just kept telling her that everything was ok and it was nice to have sleeps as you wake up feeling happy and she gradually just stopped being bothered. All very weird at the time but she is fine again a couple of months later.

susiecutiebananas Fri 29-Aug-08 23:03:34

I've not a clue, but I know that my DD who is 19months now, is slightly too interested in people being asleep... She's not distressed in the sense that she cries or anything, just that she shouts a lot aout it if she sees anyone "leep mummy, leeeep mummy' she doesn't like it. I wonder if it's because she just thinks that they won't wake up, or, that she's just not sure about someones eyes being open and talking or looking or smiling...

I keep thinking it will turn into upset for her, but she just gets insistent about it. She hates it when I'm asleep in the morning if she wakes up in bed with me, and Daddy. She picks us up by our hair hmm or tries to wake us straight away.

Like I say, I just think she has no concept of what it means or perhaps, what it looks like ( when she's asleep ) she doesn't seem to worry about going to sleep herself ( well, the usual toddler battles about going to bed or for a nap wink )

Oh, i do hope she gets over it soon. It sounds like you are doing just the right thing, by reasurring her, telling her its a nice thing. that they will wake up soon. remind her that its all that she does every night, so its normal... you sound like you are doing this already of course. Sorry no other answers.

Heated Fri 29-Aug-08 23:09:29

Ahh bless your dd. There must be something in this. Our dd likes to lift our eyelids hmm.

Maybe she gets upset because she associates it with ppl going away? IP does in his boat which is a bit sad imo, (blush at relating to ITNG!) and when grownups do it, they 'shut down' which is not their usual behaviour, it's disconcerting & it feels like being left.

Maybe could address it through putting dolly to bed in a cot, singing songs where they go to sleep at the end (like Teddy bear, teddy bear) & playing at her tickling you awake/you jump? Or just simply avoid the programme and upsetting her with it, not every fear must be confronted. She'll grow out of it when she can rationalise it a bit more, they have all sorts of fears at that age.

QPmum Fri 29-Aug-08 23:10:47

Thanks both for such quick and sensible replies! V reassuring and somewhat better than trying to discuss with DH (whose attitude when DD was hysterical was to say "Shooosh! Don't be silly! Be quiet now! You're fine!" etc which I'm sure you'll agree is a v effective way to deal with a toddler who is sobbing uncontrollably hmm).

QPmum Fri 29-Aug-08 23:13:06

Sorry Heated hadn't seen your reply so should have said thanks all! will try your suggestions. and have deleted ITNG from the sky+ - back to maisy and spot tomorrow grin.

StayFrosty Fri 29-Aug-08 23:17:16

My dd (18 mo) does the eye thing too. In addition to Heated's brill idea of singing songs, amking games etc, I recommend The Baby's Catalogue if you haven't already got it. It follows five families with babies in for a day and is just pictures, hardly any text, and there are lots of pics of the babies sleeping happily (and mums and dads nodding off/waking up); tis dd's fave bar none and very lovely and happy and cosy.

susiecutiebananas Sat 30-Aug-08 01:07:23

QP- I would also probably do the opposite to not watching it again... sorry to disagree. For her though, she thinks Igglepiggle has gone away in his boat and the others all shut their eyes etc... I think she needs to see it again, with them all happy and dancing and playing In the night garden.. that way she can see that it is just what they do every time it finishes. They go to bed in various beds, and IP sleeps in his boat...

maybe you ought to watch it a few times really. Perhaps even one episode after the other so she remembers straight away, and you can say, oh look, see IP is awake again and playing etc...

Just a thought....

Good luck

less her heart! what a dear sensitive ( in a nice way) little girl you have!

QPmum Sun 31-Aug-08 18:49:32

yes that's a really good point. she is normally only allowed to watch tv just before her bathtime (unless DH is looking after her at the w/e, when she can watch cricket all day if she likes wink) so I was thinking that I couldn't face more hysteria before bed but maybe one night we'll start a bit earlier and do what you suggest. thanks!

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