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Help! why has my 2y0 suddenly...

(12 Posts)
nouveaupauvre Mon 27-Jul-09 22:07:54

started refusing to go to bed unless one of us stays with him until he's asleep? he has always gone to bed happily and easily and he still has the same routine he's had since he was tiny - bottle, bath, story, bed. He seems to be genuinely afraid of something rather than mucking us about and will scream the house down if left. he is also upset on waking and screams til someone comes - particularly if he wakes in the middle of the night - when he used to either settle himself or, in the mornings, talk to himself happily until someone heard him.
Is there some weird developmental stage going on here? he is very verbal but can't tell us what the problem is. fwiw it seems to coincide with becoming more imaginative (creative play, pretending games) and suddenly more insecure (making a fuss when i go to work when he's always been fine with it before).
i thought it might be fear of the dark but it isnt really dark when he goes to bed now, his room is quite light.
any ideas? dont want to get into the habit of staying with him but dont want to leave him to scream.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Mon 27-Jul-09 22:13:03

DD did this for a while, at around this age an otherwise secure and happy little girl, and I was told by a child psychology lecturer that seperation anxiety can display itself most at night time due to complete lack of attention/contact with you or any normal day to day distractions. I said that DD demonstrated no seperation anxiety at any other time and she had said to me it would not necessarily follow that a child who displays this at night time would experience it during the day.

She said it was perfectly normal part of development and occurs around this time due to increased awareness of themselves as seperate to you, and this can frighten them a little until they recognise and accept that feeling.

It passed relatively quickly with DD, can't remember how long, but it is now replaced with 'can't sleep mama, can I come into your bed mama, I am not tired mama!' grin

Could this be something that he might be experiencing?

tvfriend Mon 27-Jul-09 22:15:28

Don't know but DD is also 2 and has also been really good at going to sleep and now sounds exactly like your DS. Shes fusses about wanting half the contents of her bedroom in her cot and then I have to sit there for ages until she falls asleep. I keep thinking she's asleep and as soon as I try to leave she screams the place down. I have left her a couple of times but she just goes on and on. She's also wanting far more cuddles etc at bedtime and has become a real Mummy's girl having previously always wanted DH to put her to bed if he's home.
Am the same in not wanting it to become a habit- not least because have a DS of 6 months who I'm trying to get to bed as well.
(This evening I told her I was going to put the washing machine on and then I'd come back- she didn't seem to mind that..of course I didn't come back...)

Sexonlegs Mon 27-Jul-09 22:16:29

Sounds like separation anxiety to me.

My dd2 is 2 1/4 and used to be great at being dropped off at nursery and going to bed. The last few weeks she has been hysterical, but luckily it only lasts for 5 minutes or so.

I have to say, I have adopted controlled crying, and did with dd1 who is now 6 (she went through the same thing at about this age).

It is just a stage; they are becoming more self aware.

sewCreative Mon 27-Jul-09 22:37:53

my dd2 did the same too. And it has repeated. Sometimes i think it can be the choice of bedtime story too. i managed to identify one story which everytime me or dh read it to her she would wake with bad dream and need more patience to settle to sleep. needless to say said story book has been confiscated from bedroom.

It starts off with her being unsettled and i'm patient for a couple of nights, then i loose patience and i get fed up and because she has had me stay she knows if she cries i'll stay so she does play on it. One night i got tough and said it's night time, we're downstairs and here for you, but you need sleep - we're not going anywhere - see you in the morning and then left...

She did cry for a night may be twenty mins, but next night straight to sleep - no fuss again...

LittleRedBook Mon 27-Jul-09 22:41:33

definitely check your choice of bedtime reading. DS loves the Gruffalo but would be repeating phrases to himself and still saying htem in the morning. When he suddenly became very unsettled / crying in the middle of the night I stopped reading htis completely and then brought it back a week or so later but not at bedtime and it really helped.

mooki Mon 27-Jul-09 23:18:23

We've had the same thing with our 23 month old in the last month. I've started using the 'I'm just going to pop downstairs to get x, I'll be back in a minute to check on you' technique. It's been getting a bit better in the last week.

She was in a big bed, I had to put her back in a travel cot so I could leave the room with her being awake. She just wouldn't stay in the big bed and would have absolute hysterics if we shut the door on her.

I think she's started dreaming a lot too as she quite often talks in her sleep and thrashes about.

FairyLightsForever Mon 27-Jul-09 23:22:06

I've discovered that my dd is scared of her jungle curtains. They have what I thought were friendly animal faces, but they've been scaring her. sad
I only discovered because I took them down to paint her room. When I tried to put them back she got upset, crying and saying "no mummy".
She's never said anything about them before. hmm

FairyLightsForever Mon 27-Jul-09 23:26:55

Sorry, what I was trying to say, is that something that didn't used to scare him may have started to now he's a little older and has more imagination.

slowreadingprogress Mon 27-Jul-09 23:40:09

yes agree it's a natural developmental stage - agree with pavlov's post completely

My ds was never easy to settle and we sat in with him while he dropped off at this age. It really was the only way. He was genuinely panicked and scared if we tried to leave him

As time went on we did mooki's thing of 'popping out' for something and coming back to check on him - but you have to keep to it and really DO the checking otherwise their anxiety just gets worse imo, if you use this strategy

I guess some kids will come out of this phase quicker than others

my ds is 7 and still wants his 'checking visits' when he's in bed!
<exhausted emoticon>

sewCreative Tue 28-Jul-09 01:31:03

my DD1 did a yo-yo thing when first in a big bed after months of cc in her cot. She was 25 months old... 77 times we had to put her back into bed the first night, 55 the second and that went on as an average of 15 times a night saying "night, night, sleep tight, see you in the morning" every time and leaving the room as i didn't want to have to stay with her. Heart-hearted evil woman i know, But i was heavily pregnant and then breast feeding DD2 at the time. After 3 - 4 months though we'd cracked itgrin. But a similar wobble though at the age of 3 and a bit. She is 5 now and sleeps like a dream (even if i don't!?)

One thing we did end up doing with DD1 is a night light in the room (which we don't have any more) and the landing light is on all night every night, as much for me as the girls. (an energy efficient bulb so i don't feel quite so guiltyblush) Also she has a music CD every night. Mellow folk music, - the poozies is what we settled on. We went through many different ones till we found what worked! I think the sound in her room is company for her. Reassuring to know she is not alone, even if its not me or dh.

nouveaupauvre Wed 29-Jul-09 21:18:15

thankyou these are all really helpful. will definitely try the music idea - i think it's a good substitute for my company. reminded me that when he was tiny we used to bore him to sleep with the bbc world service grin.

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