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3yo having nightmares every night

(3 Posts)
MamaChocoholic Sun 03-Jul-11 21:39:29

ds1 has just woken up with another nightmare. this is the 6th night out of the last 7. most nights he can wake 2 or 3 or more times, crying, scared. I don't know what to do to help. he is happy (if you ignore the standard 3yo whining) in the day, no recent change to routine. he's had phases of nightmares before but this is the worst so far. sometimes he says it's a bad dream, sometimes he says he's scared, sometimes he just cries and won't/can't talk. often he is drenched in sweat (pillow soaking), but doesn't feel hot. is there anything at all we can do to help? it's heartbreaking.

TS123 Mon 04-Jul-11 12:14:23

What is his overall sleep pattern like? Is he getting enough total sleep in a day because kids who run short on sleep are more likely to have frequent nightmares and generally poorer quality sleep. I find that many 3year olds never nap anymore and this may be too young to stop napping altogether - if nightime sleep is less than 10 or 11 hours, then he still needs a nap.
The next issue is what is bedtime like? Is it calm relaxed and struggle free? Often kids who go to bed in a revved up state have poor sleep and bad dreams. Establishing a good routine with a consistent bedtime will help him know what to expect and make it easier to relax.

MamaChocoholic Mon 04-Jul-11 16:29:32

I think he could well be short of sleep, yes. he sleeps 10-11 hours at night (including night waking after dreams). most days he won't nap, even though we can see he's tired and grumpy by 3pm. but if you do persuade him to nap at that time, he can sleep for 2 hours. whether I leave him to wake on his own or wake him early he is really grumpy/whiny on waking. plus he can't nap on nursery days, so when he says he won't nap I just accept it, tbh.

bedtime routine is fairly calm, except the bathroom bit, but that comes first, followed by 1 tv show (eg octonauts), 1 book, then bed with a story cd. all the last bit tends to be calm and we have a fixed bedtime.

so it seems daytime naps is something I can work on. I need some way to get him to sleep, and allow him to wake happy (as he does in the mornings). I will think more on that side, thanks.

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