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help! why has my 2 year old suddenly got hysterical at bedtime ??

(13 Posts)
mingofen Mon 10-Jul-06 13:05:06

My 2 year old son has suddenly become hysterical at bedtime, screaming and crying when we put him in his cot - usually until he is sick. Although he has never been a great sleeper, he has always gone to bed really well.
Most nights he still has interrupted sleep, waking and crying for short bursts - but if we leave him he'll go off to sleep again on his own.
He's usually wide awake by around 5.30/6am so we've been bringing him into bed with us as it means he'll often doze/go back to sleep and we'll get another much needed hour in bed.

Does anyone have any idea why the early night routine has suddenly gone so haywire? With him getting hysterical and throwing up we can't leave him to fall asleep on his own but when we go in he just insists on going straight to our bed. We're having another baby soon, so I'm desperate to solve this asap. All suggestions appreciated.

MrsBigD Mon 10-Jul-06 17:07:09

mingofen, my heart goes out to you. This can be so disconcerting when they suddenly throw a 'wobbly'.

It is quite possible that he's getting 'anxious' because of the baby being due. It's amazing how much they do notice/understand at the age of 2.

Hope somebody comes along soon with some sound advice.

sandybee1 Wed 19-Jul-06 14:19:13

I've just seen your thread today and just wanted to let you know that i think it is just a phase that they go through at this age. My Ds went through it when he was 22 months and initially we just thought he was acting up and left him to cry it out(which usually worked a treat for him!!). But it just seemed to make him more anxious so in the end we were totally panicked and didn't know what to do so we ended up just letting him fall asleep with us downstairs and would put him in his bed once he was in a deep sleep. We had to put him in a bed at 19 mths as he was climbing out of the cot and injuring himself (a&e trips required!) so this didn't help the situation as he could get out. Eventually I got a grip on the situation and decided enough was enough so we just started putting him down in his bed and for the first week or so we stayed with him. For the first few nights he was still hysterical even with us there but slowly he learnt that we weren't going to go so there was nothing to be afraid of. We moved from sitting on the floor beside his bed to saying that "mummy is just poppng to the toilet , i'll be back in a minute" this worked because if he started to get really stressed I just went in and sat for a while and after 2 nights of this he was sleeping on his own!! We have had a few setbacks when we went on holiday and when he was ill but we just did the same routine - it only takes 2 or 3 nights to get him back in his routine now. It is a terrible phase and i really don't know why they do it - it think it may be separtaion anxiety - but they do grow out of it.

Sorry for the long post..hope it helps.

trixabell Thu 20-Jul-06 09:35:58

I was just about to post a message about my 20mth dd and her hysterical bedtime - but mingofen you have done it for me - my dd does exactly the same, she used to go to bed wonderfully - better for her dad than me, but the last two weeks she just cries when I put her to bed even though I am in the room with her - last night after 1 1/2hrs tring I put her back into the cot and closed the door- and she managed to climb out - she isn't a very good climber so she must have summoned superhuman strength to throw herself out of the cot!! interesting advice from sandybee1 - I hope it is a phase - I have also noticed that recently during the day she won't let me out of her sight - she also will hardly let her dad near her if I am there - so maybe it is the separation thing too!!

Anyway - your not alone!!

MaggieW Thu 20-Jul-06 20:41:54

My DS went through this at 2 and it was an awful time. Previously he'd gone to bed with no problem when suddenly he turned hysterical and we couldn't even get him up the stairs. He'd wake every hour through the night screaming and it was just awful. He couldn't tell us what the matter was other than he just didn't want to go to bed. In desperation after ten days of this we used the Christopher Green Toddler Taming method of keeping him in his room - it can seem pretty brutal - and you need to be strong-minded to do it (esp when you're so exhausted yourself) but it worked. After one night he went up to bed and was happy to go in, as long as we didn't shut the door. We were back to normal good sleep within a couple of nights. A week or so later he told me - and this still makes me so sad - that he was frightened of Father Christmas coming into his room (it was Christmas and someone had told him that is what would happen). I just wished he'd been able to explain that at the time as it would have made it so much easier to deal with. I wonder if someone has said something to your son about ghosts or monsters etc, as little minds can work overtime on the merest hint of something scarey.
It's a really hard thing to deal with - especially as they are so tired during the day (as are you) - when it becomes a vicious circle.

NancyH074 Mon 23-Nov-15 02:26:45

My 4 year-old daughter has always had, and still has, crying/tantrum episodes every single day. it’s humiliating. Bed time is so stressful EVERY DAY! And this is not the only time she is out of control.
I have tried it all; talking nicely, positive reinforcement, games, etc, etc., still, nothing works. We can't figure it out...we would appreciate your input...I'm all ears!!! Thanks!!

Jenniemele Mon 23-Nov-15 03:00:51

My baby is already 5 years old, but I can remember bedtime horror like it was yesterday. I had some advice from my mother; my favorite was time-outs...sparingly. Depending on the child, using a time-out occasionally, beginning at about the age of 18 months, may help her manage feelings better when she has a tantrum. A time-out can be helpful when your child's tantrum is especially intense and other techniques aren't working.
Also there are videos online on how to talk with your toddler correctly. Most of them are rubbish, but few are gold. I found this one helpful and this one is not bad too good luck!

D2015 Tue 17-Oct-17 22:58:24

Hi all. I was going through the same thing about 6 weeks ago and I though I would share the experience as this was a very stressful time.
Right my daughter has pretty much slept through from 14 months until 22 months, that's when all hell broke loose. It randomly started one night with my daughter deciding that screaming like a devil at bed time was the way forward.
She would scream, stand up and shake the hell out of the cot at bed time. If we stayed with her all was good but the second we said good night the exorcists arrived.
We did as I'm sure everyone does and read up on google and tried controlled crying. ( please everyone be aware this doesn't mean leave them to scream alone for hours)
This involved increasing 2 minute intervals visiting her in the room to reassure her all was well and lay her back down.
We failed, after an hour and a half she wore us down through the constant screaming and crying and sounding like she was in pain to the arguing it caused between us thinking our daughter was in pain.

For the next 4 nights we had to stay with her until she slept either holding her hand or stroking her head, this also extended to waking at between 3-5 and insisting one of us stays with her. ( oh the joy)
As I work nights my wife decided enough was enough and controlled crying was instigated again except instead of being quiet she went about doing normal things that made noise but still visit her room at increasing periods in time until my daughter gave up and fell asleep. My wife found this easier as I wasn't there to argue with.
The first night this took 1 and a half hours. The second night half and hour and the third night less than 20 mins. We then unfortunately went on holiday and rest everything.
On returning it was my turn. When I put her to bed the first night she screamed the house down on putting her in, I then visited 2 minutes later to reassure then again another 4 mins later she then fell straight to sleep. Tonight I put her to bed she screamed for 2 mins and then asleep.

I guess all I'm getting at is that the controlled crying works but you have to be really strong and ideally for us just one of us here. We put her down at 7. If she screamed we then returned at 7.02 and lay her down reassured and said goodnight. We then waited 4 mins for the next return to do the same and then 6 mins and just increased the time for every visit.

It seems like the longer you do
It the shorter the episode. I hope this may help people. Good luck and remember it will end smile

crazycatlady5 Wed 18-Oct-17 08:08:32

I would disagree on the time outs as it’s essentially sending a child away from you when they’re having big feelings they don’t understand and need help with. I truly believe this creates in adults a difficulty in showing feelings and emotions to others.

Could this be nightmares/terrors? It’s a common age for it to happen. I would ideally (not the best time for you I know) do what you can to reassure him short term such as lying with him until he’s asleep x

D2015 Wed 18-Oct-17 08:28:05

Hi. This can't be night terrors as she just doesn't want to go to bed. When she falls asleep she doesn't wake until the following morning.
It's also not a time out it's putting her to bed in our normal routing and leaving her for a matter of minutes before reassuring her again.
Laying with her until she fell asleep made things a lot worse. She started waking every couple of hours screaming when we lay with her. She now is back to a normal pattern and sleeping through and is back to her happy self instead of being tired all day. smile

IHopeYourCakeIsShit Wed 18-Oct-17 08:39:45

We had similar issues Op at the same age.
one of us stayed with her for a bit and then popped out for longer periods. We also got a dim night light and left the door open.
If the Christopher Green method is the rope on the door one, brutal is an understatement. Bloody traumatising more like.
Best of luck.

crazycatlady5 Wed 18-Oct-17 08:47:22

@D2015 sorry to confuse I was responding to something someone send further up the thread smile

FATEdestiny Wed 18-Oct-17 18:20:42


The child in the OP will now be 13 years old.

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