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separation anxiety at bedtimes

(17 Posts)
Flowerofthewest Tue 26-Aug-14 12:07:52

I hope someone can help my poor sleep deprived DD. Her little boy is just 4 (last week) for the past few months when he wakes in the night screams for her to come to him. He is not being naughty he seems genuinely distressed. This happens almost every night. Research has shown that children do not sleep all night and do, indeed, wake several times a night. The main thing is that while some of them can settle themselves others have terrible separation problems. Has anyone else experienced this? What is the answer without distressing him more? When we all slept in the beach hut last week there was no problem at all and he settled himself back. When he sleep at mine and we 'camp' downstairs in the lounge there is no problem. There is also a year old DGD who is still in parents' room. I have suggested that she goes into her brother's room so that he doesn't feel alone or 'abandoned'.

Flowerofthewest Tue 26-Aug-14 12:08:35

Just to add, he is starting school in two weeks and probably is a bit fearful of this.

Aka Tue 26-Aug-14 12:35:40

Flower I have a GS almost the same age (4 last month), he too started this for a while, but it didn't last for long. I seem to remember his older brother went through a stage of nightmare at the same age.
It might be an idea to move the 1-year old into his room, after all she ought to be sleeping away from her parents by now, but on the other hand he might wake her up.

Does he have a little night light?

hildajenniJ Tue 26-Aug-14 12:37:59

We had a similar probem with our DD. She did not sleep throughout the night until she was nine years old. She would come into our room rwo or three times every night. She drew pictures of the scary monsters she imagined lurking behind her curtains. Eventually we were advised to use bribery to get her to stay in her room. An amount of money was decided upon, and she thought of something she would like to buy, My Little Pony in her case. It wotked like a charm. No money for nocturnal visiting. In the space of a couple of months she was staying in her room and we no longer had to pay her. Your GS may be a bit little for this scheme but perhaps something along these lines might work.

shysal Tue 26-Aug-14 12:48:02

My DD1 went through a period of waking like this, so we put up a little camp bed at the foot of ours, where we settled her when it happened. In the end we asked her what changes to her room would keep away the 'frightening things', to which she responded that painting it purple would do the trick - and it did!
I hope your DD finds a solution soon.

susieb755 Tue 26-Aug-14 17:39:37

My DD had nigh terrors where she would scream like she was being murdered, but not recognise us when we went in - does he recognise her ?

Marmight Tue 26-Aug-14 18:16:19

My nearly 5 year old DGD did this from about 2 until 4. Absolutely nothing would comfort her as she was fast asleep and didn't wake although she appeared to be as her eyes were open and fixed. DD would take her into to her bed until the screaming had finished. It is horrible to witness. She has now grown out of it and sleeps well, so there is hope!

FlicketyB Tue 26-Aug-14 18:50:33

Sounds like DGD. Screaming night terrors everynight. Stopped when baby brother was born.

rosequartz Tue 26-Aug-14 19:41:48

DGD had screaming night terrors, hope they have stopped now, but both DDs had them into adulthood and still may do for all I know. They are not aware at the time nor the next day.

Younger DGD (2) wakes most nights, they are trying bribery!

Flowerofthewest Tue 26-Aug-14 22:58:03

he does have a night light, he does not recognise her when he is in one of the 'nightfright' modes. She has thought about a camp bed or mattress at the food of their bed but there is no room, room is very small. Will take the advice of 'what would help to get him back to sleep etc' He did make a mobile a year ago because he said it would help him sleep. Think that wore off though. Thanks so much for help and advice. Bribery may help with the going back to sleep but it wouldn't help with his terror. He says that the room keeps changing shape.

rubylady Wed 27-Aug-14 07:02:41

Flower Your poor GS. That must be terrifying for him if he is seeing his room changing shape. And it must be terrifying for his mum to see him having the night terrors. My DS had them as a baby, although we got told that babies don't have night terrors. Well, he wanted to come and see him then. He would scream as though being hurt, suddenly, no build up. Then when we held him he would look straight through us, as though he couldn't see us. And he was sleeping in my bed with me only, (hubby on settee) from being born until about four years old.

We used to get up with him, sit him with one of us and put Thomas on the tele until he recognised him and then he would come round and we could talk to him then. It was a very scary time. Could he have a tele in his room with a sleep timer on that could be set with a dvd in it? I would want to see that they have come out of the terror though so I don't know if this would be ok. Maybe try putting his baby sister in with him. Or there is a clock I've just looked up for you, Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer which has a light on and moons and the sun and teaches youngsters when it is ok to get up when the sun comes out and to stay in bed when the moons show. It's on Amazon, check it out. Maybe it would help.

Now my son is 17 and I have trouble getting him out of bed! He also used to go from totally asleep to crawling on all fours towards the wall in a second. I put a mattress against the wall to prevent him knocking himself out. It was an horrendous four years and not time I would ever want repeated, not the sleeping part anyway. Now, thankfully, I get all the sleep I need. smile

Flowerofthewest Wed 27-Aug-14 22:46:04

Last night he didn't call out. I asked him what he did to help himself get back to sleep and he said that he had a great big teddy bear to cuddle My daughter had found a massive bear in the cupboard. One site suggested that a large cuddly toy may work. Watch this space.

Nelliemoser Wed 27-Aug-14 23:20:21

My son had "night terrors" as well when he was two and a bit same as described by others. Screaming in hos sleep and impossible to wake.
Once you know what it is not so bad. He grew out of it and never remembered it.

I also have been known to wake up screaming horribly within the first hour or so of sleep and still do occasionally. I am sure I did as a child as well.

Liz46 Thu 28-Aug-14 15:25:48

This may be a long shot but does he watch a t.v. programme that may upset him? If I watch anything unpleasant I disturb my husband with my dreams. I notice that he was ok at the beach hut where there may not have been access to t.v. or possibly scary games.

Flowerofthewest Thu 28-Aug-14 22:02:17

They usually have the CBBs bedtime hour on after his meal time. My daughter is very good about what they can and cannot watch. Not sure what it could be at all. Yesterday he was exceptionally naughty when at our house. My DD took him to the 'naughty' step. He kept glancing up the stairs and at a shadow on the wall. He genuinely looked terrified. Needless to say she didn't leave him there.

rubylady Fri 29-Aug-14 00:59:34

If he does sleep through the night then maybe he could be rewarded. This will then comprehend with him and he might do it again the night after. Just another thought. smile

Flowerofthewest Fri 29-Aug-14 18:59:40

Tried that and it works for a day or so then he's off again.

Talking about rewards, my friend's little DGD was rewarded for doing her poo in her potty as she used to be reluctant to do so. At my friend's home one day she kept asking to use the potty and depositing a 'rabbit's dropping' almost each time, after the fourth visit she said to my friend ' I have done four poos now Grandma, I can tell daddy and then I can have four treats' Wiley child indeed.