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2.5 yr old a nightmare at bedtime.

(2 Posts)
Hgmother Thu 02-Mar-17 19:33:16

I have a 2.5 yr old DD. Around 4 months ago she developed pneumonia and as a result she either ended up sleeping with me or with my DP sleeping on her bedroom floor with her in her bed. After then we didn't want to get her worked up because she'd start choking so one of us stayed with her until she fell asleep. A few weeks after she recovered we was going to start her old bedtime routine (story, lights out, leave her to fall asleep alone, no tears) when she caught a horrendous cold and cough. So in order to not get her worked up so she'd choke / be sick, we stayed in her room until she fell asleep still.

8 weeks later she has a tiny cough (she's fine it's a tickly post viral cough), but at bedtime if we leave her room, even for 5 seconds, she ends up hysterical, pretending to cough (she's learnt that's when we went in) to a point where she is really being sick, but she also has started playing games with us (telling us where to sit, ordering more cuddles, lights on, lights off, general toddler manipulation), anything at all so she doesn't sleep.

I have hyperemesis at the moment, I'm in and out of hospital and me and my partner can't take this bedtime carryon any more. How on earth do I get her to go to sleep alone like she did for almost a year, without her screaming hysterically? It took 2 hours tonight, and that was with one of us staying in there.

I also should add that she doesn't nap, she stopped that at 18 months, not through lack of me trying, the last thing I wanted was a toddler that didn't nap! Her bedtime is 5:30 -6 and she gets up at 7 -8 am. So she's been getting enough sleep and was perfect sleepwise until the pneumnia. Thanks for reading all that.

FATEdestiny Thu 02-Mar-17 21:29:30

at bedtime if we leave her room, even for 5 seconds, she ends up hysterica

The answer is to not leave her side until she is fully asleep. Dont even look like or suggest you might move away


The way to overcome this anxiety and make her feel secure in her room on her own comes down to trust.

She needs to trust you. Trust that you will always give her as much reassurance that she needs, for as lobg as she needs, and you won't try yo sneek away.

Its taking 2 hours because she's fighting against the fact that as soon as she settles and starts to go to sleep, you sneek out when she feels she still needs you. She fiesntcwant you to go, so she tries to stay awake as lobg as she possibly can - in order to keep you there.

So "Part 1"of solving this is rebuilding the trust. "Part 2" is then reducing the amount of reassurance she needs. Part 2 won't work until part 1 is embedded.

So start off giving oodles of hands-on, unweavering reassurance. This might mean leaning into the cot, tickling, stroking, patting. Staying leaned into the cot all the time until she is fast asleep, without once reducing the level 0f reassurance you g8ve until she is asleep.

Then gradually change things, over time:

- You leaning into the cot constantly, actively stroking, patting, shushing, lying back down. Stay doing this until asleep. Then stand, leave hand there for a few mins to ensure she is in a deep sleep, leave.

This is your "Part 1". It's going to take a while of doing this before she trusts that you'll always stay, so she doesnt need to stay awake to keep you there. This will start to reduce the time it takes to go to sleep, but throughout it all she'll need oodles of attention that never withdraws until she's in a deep sleep. Then starts "Part 2":

- You leaning into the cot to settle, then stand next to cot, keeping your hand there once quiet and still. Returning to lean into the cot if needed, withdrawing to just the hand when settled. Stay until asleep. Remove hand once asleep, wait for a few mins to ensure deep sleep, leave.

- Lean into cot to settle, stand next to cot with hand on chest/back. If any squirming, pat with hand and shush. Withdraw to just hand once settled. Stay until asleep. Keep doing this stage night after night until you reach the point where...

- Lean into cot to settle. Then stand/sit next to cot with hand on chest back and mostly you just need to stay there and wait until asleep, with little fidgeting. Stay until asleep.

- Put into cot standing and pat mattress with a smile to encourage her to lie down herself, lean in cot with put hand on chest/back until calm and still, remove hand and stay still next to the cot. Hand back in the moment there is any fussing - still, firm hand on chest/back to still baby again, then remove hand. At first your hand may be in and out of the cot like a yoyo.

- Put child into cot standing, pat mattress to get her to lie down, firm and on chest/back for reassurance for a minute of so. Then withdraw hand and stand/sit quietly by cot until asleep. Hand back whenever needed, but withdrawn once settled. Stay until asleep.

- Put into cot standing, let baby settle herself to her sleep position, you wait right by the cot until asleep. Hand in if needed, but should be less frequently needed.

- Put into cot standing, wait next to cot but facing away from the cot. Stay until fully asleep.

- Put into cot, take a step away and face away from cot. Stay until fully asleep

- Put in cot, go to doorway, wait by door until asleep.

- Put in cot, go to door, keep coming and going from doorway until fully asleep.

- Put in cot, leave, keep door open, close door 10 mins or so later once asleep.

- Put in cot. leave and close door :-)

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