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2.5 year old wakes up screaming at around 3:30 every night!

She never, ever, ever woke up through the night. Now she wakes up once and sometimes twice in a night and is so sad and scared. I've tried talking her though her fears but she isn't able to put her finger on a fear. She just wants me to come to bed with her. (I don't). She says she wants to go down and play, but I can tell she's totally exhausted. It's not like she wakes up, waits a few minutes, then cries, either. She goes straight from sleep to full-on screaming. I'm also having a lot more trouble at lights out time -- she used to let me out of the room and talk happily to her animals until she fell asleep. Now I swear it's like playing chess -- I have to promise to sit outside her room on the steps for a few minutes, she needs a million hugs and kisses. And she's also having trouble being left at school again. She was totally over crying when I left, now she does it every time. How do I help her feel secure again?

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Asked by EmilySusan at 9:59 AM on Jan. 14, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 5 (79 Credits)
Answers (3)
  • A ghost

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:02 AM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • My DD has to sleep with a nightlight and a flashlight. Target has a great LED flashlight that you plug into the wall to charge. Since it's LED, it doesn't get hot and since we charge it each day, we don't have to worry about batteries. Giving her a flashlight made a huge difference with her sleepless nights.

    Also, it sounds like you're describing fear, anxiety, and separation anxiety, but are you sure she isn't hungry? My DS used to wake up hungry in the middle of the night when he was going through a growth spurt. I'd give him a little bowl of snacks and he'd happily eat, then lay down and go back to sleep.

    Answer by ThrivingMom at 10:08 AM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • I don't think it's hunger. She's not hungry when she wakes up in the morning... and with all the other anxieties, I don't think that has anything to do with it. I don't want to start a trend of eating in the night... I'd rather figure out how to help her stop disrupting her sleep! She was much happier when she slept through!

    Answer by EmilySusan at 10:10 AM on Jan. 14, 2010

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