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Nightmare, phobia, or stubbornness? PLEASE HELP

My 17-month old has always been a fantastic sleeper-he would tell ME when he wanted to go to bed at naptime and bedtime by going into his room and standing at his crib. He would rarely wake up at night. He just loved his sleep. Now, suddenly last week he began screaming and acting terrified of his crib, of the word "bedtime", and of anything related to it. He will scream and scream, crying it out literally takes 2 hours, and he isn't calmed by anything but rocking. And even rocking doesn't put him to sleep, it just stops the crying. He is hardly sleeping now - maybe 5 hours a day. I just can't understand it. It isn't teething (or being sick), we just went through all that and he's done for a while, so does anyone have any suggestions, tips, or ideas for us? We are desperate!!! Lack of sleep is catching up...

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Asked by Iskkra at 2:08 AM on Mar. 17, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 3 (20 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • It's normal. Just when you think all is well and you finally have mastered the sleeping thru the night thing, lots more new experiences will be keeping him up. It's probably a bad dream.. They do go thru stuff like that. You have to be patient and most of all consistant. You can try maybe adding some extra light to his room (my daughter put a fishtank in the room for her girls).. gives them something soothing to watch...

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:12 AM on Mar. 17, 2009

  • he's most likely going through a growth spurt/faze my son just went through it, don't let him cry it out for longer then 15min. maybe 30 at the most, if he doesn't fall asleep by then, then he'll just be screaming. if he's fed, bathed, and changed then maybe put a toy in with him with a night light on and he'll play til he falls asleep, that's what i did. or if you don't mind co-sleeping for a few nights do that too.

    Answer by WhatevaItTakes at 2:13 AM on Mar. 17, 2009

  • Have you tried asking him to show you at a time when he is not upset? Children understand a lot! I knew a girl who taught ASL sign to her children and at just over a year was having the same problem you are. Finally she got smart and asked the child what was scaring her at bedtime, she asked during the day when the child was not upset. Wither her sign she was able to show what was so scary.
    So try asking him to show you. Or at night when the lights are turned off and his night light is on (or whatever you do) check his room and see if there is anything that MIGHT look scary. Be sure to check it from his eye level. Then remove whatever item it might be.
    Good luck!

    Answer by outstandingLove at 2:14 AM on Mar. 17, 2009

  • make a new scence in his room ....paint the walls etc...
    make everything diff...he will enjoy...keep a night light...or soft music playing he will be fine!

    Answer by LexsiesMommy at 2:18 AM on Mar. 17, 2009

  • Have you added any new toys into his room? One of my children started nightmares at a young age he would say, I see little red lights and i am afraid there is something under my bed and honesty I was at my wits end, I had checked under the bed and nothing was there. I started praying asking the Lord to show me what the problem was. Finally I did a pull out search under the bed and there was a red power ranger back in the corner behind the leg and I didnt see it at first. When I got that toy out from under the bed and got rid of the power ranger. The night tremors stopped. I cannot explain it, but the Lord showed me it was there and after I removed it, things got better.
    Explore the room and see if there is anything you have recently added to his room that might be making him fearful. He obviously is not old enough to convey to you where his fear is coming from.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:18 AM on Mar. 17, 2009

  • We've tried the co-sleeping several times in the last week, it helped calm him down but he never actually went to sleep. He has many toys within his reach in the crib, and nightlights, light mobiles, and music. He's always had those things, and was perfectly fine with it till last week. He really does seem terrified of something - I will try asking him, but he's not very responsive yet to questions (he always says "no", no matter what question it is). But I will try! Any other ideas....? Anyone had any experience with claustrophobia or night terrors in 1 1/2 year olds?

    Answer by Iskkra at 2:19 AM on Mar. 17, 2009

  • This might sound nuts, but after my daughter had her tonsils out, she started having night terrors. I called her doctor about it because she was only getting three or four hours of sleep at night. He said to give her Benydryl every night for a week and that took care of it. It was like her brain just needed to reset itself.

    Answer by peppermintmocha at 10:22 AM on Mar. 17, 2009

  • maybe something did scare him at one point, if he did have a "bad experience" try to make a good one with his crib. It sounds like he is scared of the crib not necessarily the room. I don't really have any idea of what will make his crib a "happy place" at the moment though. Good Luck

    Answer by aidengrant07 at 3:42 PM on Mar. 17, 2009

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