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Why is my 5 year old daughter all of the sudden flipping out about bedtime?

She does not take naps during the day. She seems to be tired sometimes at night but all of the sudden she screams and cries and doesn't want to sleep every night. I always read her a book and play one game of Go Fish (in bed). She says she's afraid of the dark but she has a lava lamp right next to her and a dim night light across the room. I leave the hallway light on. She keeps getting all worked up and says she wants to stay awake. I have to lay down with her, talk to her softly and rub her back till she falls asleep. I don't want this to become a bad habit :( any suggestions, please?

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Asked by etta18 at 10:19 PM on Aug. 12, 2013 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 3 (14 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • eh, they go through shit.... ride it out. It will go back to normal soon enough.

    Answer by m-avi at 10:21 PM on Aug. 12, 2013

  • Keep rubbing that back and making her feel safe, she will get passed it.

    Answer by luvmygrandgirl at 10:23 PM on Aug. 12, 2013

  • ^^Agree with both. They go through these phases. It seems like it takes forever for them to pass through, but they do

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 10:24 PM on Aug. 12, 2013

  • Thanks. :( it is frustrating and exhausting! It's like she's a newborn all over again! Sometimes she says she's afraid to sleep because of nightmares. She says either afraid of the dark or afraid of nightmares. When she was a baby I had to lay down with her for hours till she fell asleep! Geez. This new "phase" stinks!

    Comment by etta18 (original poster) at 10:26 PM on Aug. 12, 2013

  • You could speak to her pedi about melatonin, it is a natural sleep aid. Helps my little one relax enough o drift off sooner.

    Answer by luvmygrandgirl at 10:30 PM on Aug. 12, 2013

  • will pass eventually

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 10:33 PM on Aug. 12, 2013

  • Thank you, luvmygrandgirl, if this awful phase carries on too long, I will speak with her doctor :( I actually never heard of melatonin! Thanks again.

    Comment by etta18 (original poster) at 10:36 PM on Aug. 12, 2013

  • What has she been exposed to? Maybe a tv show or movie? The lava lama can look like the ghosts in some movies.

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:26 PM on Aug. 12, 2013

  • I hate to be the meanie here, but you may make the problem last longer if you rub her back and lie down with her. You're reinforcing the behavior you don't want. Tuck her in, tell her you love her, give her kisses and reassurance, and then leave the room. If she likes soft music or a stuffed toy, those will help her sleep. But don't make her dependent on your presence for soothing or you'll prolong the time it takes her to remember how to soothe herself.

    Answer by Ballad at 2:03 AM on Aug. 13, 2013

  • It's pretty normal.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to sooth her a bit, but I think Ballad has a valid point, too. Some soothing initially may help her get over it, but if it continues too long, continuing to try to soothe her may end up prolonging the situation. I would start trying to ease up the soothing a bit - don't stay until she falls asleep, for example, leave just before she does. Try to get her to talk about what's really bothering her. "I'm afraid of the dark" or "I'm afraid of nightmares" is too vague - have her tell you specifically what in the dark she's afraid of (a monster under the bed, clown in the closet, a shadow that moves on the wall) or what nightmare she's afraid of - in detail (running through the forest and something she can't see is chasing her and no matter how fast she runs, she can't get away....). If you know specifically what scares her, you can help her get past it.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 8:20 AM on Aug. 13, 2013

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