Deanna sorry haven't really replied to your question. If Luckygirl's advice doesn't help, you could try keeping her awake at her normal nap time, switching her daily schedule around. Maybe a very light snack at lunchtime, then go out somewhere for the afternoon. It could be a habit she's got into, perhaps originally started by an upsetting experience, but now ingrained. Try to establish a new habit pattern.
Tegan my eldest son at age about 3 also had a phase like that, evenings or during the night. He got out of bed screaming as if in terror. As you say it was very upsetting. If it was during the night I used to take him into bed with me until he calmed down. Which he did quite quickly. He's always been sensitive and "highly strung", still is nearly 50 years later.
Sounds like good advice! My DGS had a phase of night terrors. It was awful. We were told to rouse him about 90mins after he'd fallen asleep. Then let him fall back to sleep. Not sure why. Something to do with REM sleep phase. Anyway we did it and it worked. It is awful when such a wee one is so distressed but inconsolable. Good luck.
My son had this at night. Would go to sleep very easily but, after a while would sit bolt upright in bed, then get out of bed and wander around in a very distressed state. I used to have to hover around till this happened so I could put him straight back to bed. Once asleep again he'd sleep soundly till morning. On one rare occasion when I went out and had a babysitter she said it was good that she'd been warned as she would have thought he was having some kind of fit. All I can say is that, although it seemed to go on forever at the time, like most childhood problems it didn't last too long and stopped as quickly as it started. He used to say that he had no recollection of it happening afterwards. I found it incredibly upsetting at the time, though.
The problem with 2 year olds is that they are just beginning to develop an imagination, but they do not have the knowledge or wisdom to be able to rationalise fearful thoughts that drop into their minds. Another problem is that sometimes they are exposed to things on the TV and they are unable to distinguish fantasy from reality - a cartoon from a real figure.
She is just at an age when she will begin to have a grasp on the fact that bad things happen - she will know what being poorly means and will have been warned of hot things or staying by an adult on a car park - all things that she needs to know, but without the experience to help her get it in proportion, she will have these things buzzing round her subconscious when she sleeps.
I would suggest that you should find a soothing book that you can read to her as she settles for her afternoon nap, and have that by her during her sleep so she can see it as soon as she wakes. Soothing music that starts before she sleeps and is still there when she wakes might help. And some rituals around rhymes or songs as she settles.
You cannot take this phase away for her - but you can try some of these strategies to help a bit. Above all keep her away from the TV unless you are absolutely sure that she can deal with what she might see. It is so easy for children to see things that you had not intended or expected them to.
All children are different and react in different ways so we can only do our best to be sensitive to their individual needs.
I think you are lucky that she has an afternoon sleep - the 2 year old GD I look after is on the go every minute!
Can anyone give advice please? 2 year old grandaughter wakes from afternoon sleep 99.9% of the time extremely distressed it can take up to 40 to 50 minutes for her to calm down, nothing works, she doesn't want her milk but holds her arms out to us for comforting, but pushes us away when we try to hold her. Her parents have the same problem and none of us know how to help her. Both her parents work and we care for her 5 days a week. I've had 4 children and have never experienced anything like this when my children were little. Look forward to receiving any advice.