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Nightmares in two year old DD. Does ANYTHING work? Please help!

(8 Posts)
MrsTittleMouse Wed 10-Jun-09 08:45:51

It has coincided with her becoming upset when other children cry, and realising that the villans on the Numberjacks are scary (thanks CBeebies hmm), so I'm sure that it's a tricky developmental shift. Is there anything that we can do to help her? All that she has asked for is to have DD2 in with her (8 months and not sleeping through herself, so a good longer term option, but not a good idea right now). She has started to become hysterical at the thought of going back into her cot, and her lovely calm bedtime routine has started involving tears and lots of reassurance. But she still wakes up terrified.

MrsTittleMouse Wed 10-Jun-09 09:57:34

DH is desperate for MN to help so that he can get some sleep tonight.

FairyLightsForever Wed 10-Jun-09 17:46:40

My sympathises, but no advice I'm afraid, but I remember reading somewhere that if your child is scared of monsters in the wardrobe, under the bed, etc then you should check and reassure them that they're not there rather than saying "it's ok, they're not real". To your toddler they are very real (sympatheticsmile)
The only other thing is maybe a campbed on your floor for a night or two, but I suspect that would cause more problems in the long run.
Sorry I can't be more help sad

FairyLightsForever Wed 10-Jun-09 17:47:59

...or even 'my sympathies' blush

deakin82 Wed 10-Jun-09 18:30:46

sorry to hear what your going through i have two kids under 4 myself and i know how hard it is to get a good night sleep. i agree with what fairylights is saying about sleeping in her room with her(good idea) dont bring her in your bed its a huge mistake i did it a few times with my 3yr old and it took me about six months to get her back in her own room. try leavin a light on for her(landing light works good) or invest in a plug in night light they are money well spent. good luck anyway hun hope it all works out.

MrsTittleMouse Wed 10-Jun-09 19:38:10

Thank you for the sympathy. I thought that we were done with sleepless nights! We had a nightlight for DD2 when she was tiny (so that I could see to breastfeed). I think I need to hunt it out tomorrow.

I was aching last night to get into her head and chase the bad dreams away for her.

saintmaybe Wed 10-Jun-09 19:45:50

We bought ds a dreamcatcher when he was 3, but he was old enough to have a conversation about it being there to catch all the bad dreams, and it did actually reassure him and make a difference. Would she 'get' that idea?

the other thing was getting him to talk explicitly about what happened in the dream, without saying, oh, don't think about it or anything. Instead we had a sort of mantra that at the end, or even if he couldn't remember/ say it, of 'And when you woke up the dream was...' and he'd say 'GONE'.

Hope it gets better

tommypickles Thu 11-Jun-09 09:11:18

I recently had 3 weeks of night time waking with my nearly 4 year old after he had a bad dream the first night. It took a while to realise what would work. But once I had the idea it took literally 2 nights to get back into some kind of a sleep routine. OK so after the first few nights after the nightmare he wasn't quite so scared of bed anymore, but had become reliant on the attention/reassurance that I would give him when he woke at night. He was routinely waking at 11.30pm and 3.00am, and lots of nights at anytime in between too. I would have to sit on his bed or get in it until he went back to sleep, then he would sometimes wake again as I was leaving. Anyway, what you have to do is get them back into a routine where they get themselves off to sleep without you being in the room, then if and when they wake in the night they're not expecting you to be there. I took him up the first night I decided to do this, and I had explained to him during the day that I would leave him while he was still awake, and I read a story to him, when he started to drop off I woke him up and said OK mummy is going now, night night. He started to get up and make a fuss, but I said it's OK, mummy will be just outside your door, like I explained to you earlier. He stood at his door for a minute and watched, I told him I was just collecting the washing from the other bedrooms. He was quite happy that I was still there. I kept saying, it's OK mummys still here. He went off to sleep by himself, I was amazed! He did wake that night and I had to stand on the landing for 1 hour at 3.00am, but it's about the long term effect not just getting sleep that one night. He again got himself back to sleep at 4.00am by himself. The next night I did the same at bedtime, he was asleep in 2 mins, and the same last night. He is currently sleeping from about 8.30pm to 5.20am, which is much improved from a couple of weeks ago, but on the past 2 nights he seems to be sleeping for a few mins longer each morning, which hopefully over time will return to normal. It's just a bout giving them the confidence to be on their own again. They seem to be quite happy to know that you're there outside the door, but actually they're not relying on you to get them to sleep. You may get a few tears, we did the first night, but when you see the right moment, tell them that you'll stay just outside the room. My son, I think, thought well if she's not going to sit on my bed, then I'd better take whatever I can get, and went for the idea of me being outside. Now each night, he says, you gonna stay next to your room, or are you gonna get the washing.

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