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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 10:05 AM on Jan. 14, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 5 (79 Credits)
Answers (7)
  • Sounds like night terrors. It's common in early childhood.


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

  • What if you had to sleep in your own room and work up terrified in the middle of the night. You go in and want to sleep with your husband. He tells you no, you must sleep in your own room with your stuffed animals. You cry but he sticks to his decision.

    Human toddlers have been sleeping with their mothers throughout time and still do in most places. It is probably more common for toddlers to sleep with their mothers in the world then for husbands and wives to sleep together. Let your terrified child sleep with you.

    Answer by Gailll at 10:12 AM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • Yeah, we've tried the cosleeping thing at different stages of the game... it doesn't work for us. As a baby, she slept much better when we got her in her own space. As a toddler, whenever we've put her into bed with us, she has just tossed and turned for an hour... Also, we have a 16 month old who has just started sleeping really well through the night...

    Answer by EmilySusan at 10:16 AM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • What I do now is sit on the loveseat right by her bed and she goes back to sleep. What I'm wondering is why is she waking like this all the sudden and how do I help her get the rest she needs.

    Answer by EmilySusan at 10:17 AM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • It is common amungst toddlers and speaking from experience (i have a 2 yr old) I know what you are talking about. my son did horrible with cosleeping, tossed and turned and once in his own room and in his own bed did better. They are still so young and nieve to many of the things in this world it isnt odd for them to get terrified by any new thing. She could have seen something scary on tv or heard mommy and daddy argue, or anything! Perhaps try a new happy routine that she approves of. Maybe give her something to look forward to in the morning like star pancakes or smiley face ones? What i did with my son was got his two stuffed dogs "pup pups" and I tuck them in bed with him. I kiss em all na night, turn on his night light and he is happy as can be. When he does have a abd dream milk and a little snack always hushes the tears and mind of what was being worried about :) GL

    Answer by Bugsmommy1908 at 10:30 AM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • I agree wit the first mom my son had it from 1 and half till he was about 3 it common I kno it stressful go 2 yo local library and read up on and u can also talk to her doctor 2 good luck if u want 2 know anymore jus message me

    Answer by kadmomma at 10:36 AM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • For those of you who think it could be NT... does it sound right for her behavior to be altered in other ways, though? Like not wanting to go to bed in the first place, having anxieties about school, too? That's why I didn't think it was night terrors; she does wake up from it, she can talk with me, she just can't calm down; and with the anxiety being more generalized... I will definitely read up on it more, though. Thanks.

    Answer by EmilySusan at 10:58 AM on Jan. 14, 2010

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