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How can I get my 2 year old to stop waking up for attention?

Every night for the last week my daughter who will be three years old in September has been waking up between 1-2 a.m. and staying up until 4-5 a.m. She shares a room with us in our 1 bedroom home, so she wakes both me and my husband up. She cries for me, and if I leave the room to seek some kind of sleep before work the next day, she goes into a screaming tantrum. She's waking the neighbors. I'm a zombie. I'm to the point of wanting to just curl up and die in a corner I'm so tired. It was not even this bad when she was a newborn. If I stay with her, she wants out of her crib (she's still in a crib with a crib tent out of necessity for safety), and doesn't want to get put back.

I'm the only one working, my husband lost his job almost a year ago, she is still in daycare part time. I'm the primary caretaker though, she's mostly bonded to me. Short of giving her benadryl to sleep which I wont, I'm at a loss. Help!


Asked by boswellsgirl25 at 7:10 AM on Jul. 12, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

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This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • So I'll put out there first that I'm an attatchment parenting mom. If you don't like that philosophy you don't have to read any further. When a child is waking up in the middle of the night it usually means she is working on a physical, mental, or emotional milestone. The last thing she needs is for you to abandon her to cry it out or to pull away from her, which from your responses it doesn't seem like you want to do that (this is good) ;) She should have a strong bond with you and with her father. Support her in the ways that she needs. Look up milestones for her age: and see all the things she's working on right now. Get a child lock for your door to the bedroomm, get a toddler bed and put it by your bed so you can rub her back or hold her hand at night. message me if you want more suggestions. *hugs* this too shall pass.

    Answer by Cassarah at 10:17 AM on Jul. 12, 2010

  • if your want to give her something to help her sleep, go with melatonin, at least that is natural. It's the chemical your brain produces to induce sleep.
    You can get it in very low doses. I know they make it in a 300mcg (microgram). Just cut a little piece of it off and give it to her. I give my son 1/ 4 of one when he is having problems going to sleep. He isn't much older than your daughter. If you use the 1 or 3 mg give her just a tiny little piece from it, a slither of it really.
    Never give benadryl to get a child to go to sleep, I know you already said you wouldn't, but in general. If they were to ever have a reaction and need it, it wouldn't work as well if their body had built an immunity to it.

    Answer by cfdm3s_mommy at 7:39 AM on Jul. 12, 2010

  • Thank you, I completely agree. I think she got used to it during her illness, and I've had the same thoughts about her becoming immune to it. I don't want to give her anything to make her sleepy, it seems to do more damage than anything. I'm just at my exhausted wits end on what to do when i'm the only one working. I think a big part of this is separation anxiety. I think she knows when I go back to work, and the fact that there is no escape for me to sleep than in my own room makes it harder for both of us. I know she needs her own space, but we don't have that option right now. It just seems so unfair. I want to be a stay at home mom, but with an older husband who isn't working (and doesn't look like he ever will again), its so tough. I miss her as much as she misses me, and this no sleeping makes me so upset, it does us both a disservice. Thank you for the advice on Melatonin. Will try this week nothing improves.

    Comment by boswellsgirl25 (original poster) at 7:59 AM on Jul. 12, 2010

  • Take her out of the crib. She is too old to be in a crib. I do NOT suggest giving Benedryl to make her sleep. You should NEVER give anyone meds if they are not medically necessary and then only for what they are meant to be for. It is extremely easy to overdose a child on OTC meds. Also, seeing she is in day care only part time, she needs to do more bonding with her father and HE needs to get up with her. I would also find out why she is getting up. There is a reason other than attention.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 8:01 AM on Jul. 12, 2010

  • I was giving her benadryl per the doctor, and not a day over recommended. I will not give her meds to make her sleepy, only as directed by a physician. What I was saying was that I believe being given the benadryl caused her to stop self soothing and getting to sleep on her own.

    As for the crib, our home is not safe (no dead bolts) for her to roam at night. It is under construction, and I cannot risk her getting out of the house. She will be in a crib, with a crib tent, until the house is done around December. The books I've read have recommended her being in a crib until age 3, or as long as possible. Trust me, I'd love for her to be in a regular bed more than you think. I can't wait until all this work is done, so she has her own room, safe and secure. I agree with you on the bonding...and I hope it happens. As it is, I'm the ONLY one she wants. If he tries to hel pher, she screams.

    Comment by boswellsgirl25 (original poster) at 8:07 AM on Jul. 12, 2010

  • It's easy to say then being in the situation, every child are different, my two children they're an awsome children, u never lost any sleep over them. I have to wake up to feed them. Anyway, if the child is waking you up just to get ur attention then there's something u need to change on ur behave, I'm assuming u properly always gave ur child the kind of attention he or she need each time for quit a while and that's going to be difficult to change because the child already used to the attention u been giving to him or her. Perhaps try to ignore and see what happen, good luck!

    Answer by BBKP at 8:22 AM on Jul. 12, 2010

  • I would leave her in her crib and tell her to go to sleep and ignore her (do it on a weekend when you don't work) Don't talk to her or look at her... every 10 mins tell her it's bed time and to lay down and go to sleep and say nothing more. The first night will be the worst, but after she knows you not giving in it will get better.

    Answer by AmiJanell at 9:42 AM on Jul. 12, 2010

  • I would kick the husband and make him get up and remove her from the room so you can sleep. Then I would take her out of day care. If he isn't going to be working anymore then he can take care of her. It sounds like he needs to step up and do his job to help you. By him having her all day it will force them to bond better.

    Answer by Raine2007 at 10:04 AM on Jul. 12, 2010