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Anyone had a skin-picking, velcro toddler that wouldn't sleep on their own?

(7 Posts)
PickledLily Thu 01-Jan-15 11:27:38

Am I the only one? She's nearly 3yo, and struggles to calm down to go to sleep. She 'has' to have skin contact to calm down/sleep, nothing else will work. She starts off with a gentle stroking a hand/arm but ends up scratching/picking at moles, bumps, anything with an interesting texture. Until a few weeks ago she would fall asleep in 5 mins, but no longer. Since coming out of nappies (only took a couple of days to potty train her) she Will. Not. Go to sleep. And wakes a few hours later either screaming from a nightmare or just coming into our bed (where she still wakes every couple of hours, but settles immediately).
If I left her to her own devices at bedtime, she would bounce around and just keep going. She's been very clingy for about a month and constantly wants mummy. I thought it was a development leap but it's been going on for ever.
I've been trying gradual retreat to get her settling on her own, but can't even get as far as taking my hand away without major histrionics.

Is there an answer (that doesn't involve leaving her to cry for hours)?

PickledLily Thu 01-Jan-15 21:18:27

Am I really the only one? She's scratched her cheek so much tonight it was bleeding. sad

FATEdestiny Thu 01-Jan-15 22:13:44

Stop her doing that then! You shouldn't be allowing her to hurt you under any circumstances.

Potty training in itself should not affect her sleep. But it could be causing her to be anxious which therefore indirectly affects sleep.

You need to change her routine to stop the skin picking. Give her a different focus. My DS used to like stroking short hair. That meant the back of DH head or because I didn't have short hair he would stroke my eyebrows (bizarrely!). We didn't allow the hair stroking indefinitely though, he would get a minute which ended in a ten second countdown so that he got his 'fix' of hair stroking but still self-settled himself (he would stroke his own hair to self settle).

PickledLily Thu 01-Jan-15 22:24:12

Thanks for replying. Unfortunately she won't accept any alternative. It has to be skin. Weird, I know. I do stop her doing it, but she keeps doing it, I keep stopping her, she gets more worked up etc etc then starts on her own skin, finding scabs to pick which then bleed.

RigglinJigglin Thu 01-Jan-15 22:29:07

OPS I have no solution but do sympathise, DD is exactly the same rather than skin picking she's a pincher - and also will not sleep alone.

We're getting there with holding her hand flat between our hands and stroking them, if she's ill or teething it's straight back to face pinching.

Will watch with interest!

FATEdestiny Thu 01-Jan-15 22:41:33

I don't know if this will help, but DSs hair stroking completely stopped when we got rid of his dummies.

We weren't expecting it to. Indeed the fact that DS had a comfort meant we felt better about getting rid of the dummies - he could still gain comfort from the stroking without his dummy. But as soon as the dummy went, the stroking stopped too.

My older DS has a special Ted that he used to pat in a very special, specific way as a comfort. As soon as he stopped having a dummy he also abandoned Ted.

So maybe if your daughter has a different comforter at all, now might be the time to get rid of it to be a big girl. The picking might stop at the same time.

PickledLily Fri 02-Jan-15 14:19:08

Oh that's interesting Fate. There's hope then...

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