my toddler won't sleep without me there

Nikki - posted on 09/05/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )

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Something is going on with my 27 month old daughter. I'm just not sure what it is! We need help!

A couple nights ago, her sleep pattern "altered". She just would not fall asleep. I tried so many thing to help her all asleep, but to no avail. Finally, at 3am, she fell asleep. The next night, she was up three hours earlier than usual in the am, screaming for me. She wanted her diaper changed. Sometimes, I think she uses the diaper excuse to get me to come to her room or to "procrastinate" bedtime.

Last night, she REFUSED to go to sleep again. My husband (she's a total daddy's girl) even went in there to try to calm her down, but she wanted me (to the point that she started hyperventilating). I am a SAHM. I'm the parent that does everything for and with her. We pretty much spend every second together, except for sleeping. It was weird because she usually is a pretty independent child. She never "asks" for me unless she is sick or upset that daddy yelled at her (which he had not). She is not showing any other separation anxiety behaviors at any other time of the day.

So I again tried everything I could think of to get her to fall asleep after calming her down. She fell asleep around 1am. When she woke up at 6am, she was screaming for me. Again she started to hyperventilate. I brought her into our room to calm her down.

I don't know what is going on.

We tried the potty training thing, but she clearly isn't ready for it, so I'm going to back off and retry next month. Could the stress of the potty training start be causing this sleep dilemma?

She had been having loose stools last week and developed a diaper rash. Is that possibly bothering her (even though the rash is gone now) or did it turn into a UTI?

Is she having nightmares? Is she scared alone in her room? Is there something I'm missing?

We did rearrange our family room earlier this week. Has this change effected her routine? Is it stressing her out?

Again, she is a pretty independent child. She also is a headstrong toddler. This is not like her. She will literally cling on to me when I try to leave her bedroom. She points to the floor and tells me to sleep on it. She'll bargain and ask to sleep in our room. If I stay in the room, she then is fine and will even start to play and smile.

I just put her down for a nap. It was a struggle to get my obviously tired child to all asleep. I need to figure out what is going on soon. We're both tired and need your help!

Thanks for reading!

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2 Comments

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Vanessa - posted on 09/05/2010

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One trick to try is lay down with her until she is ALMOST asleep - then get out of bed, explain that you are going to the toilet and you'll be back soon. She'll stay calm thinking you'll be back. Go back in 6 or so minutes. Eventually you can think up things that take a bit longer - like I'm going to make daddy a cup of tea, i'll be back soon. They stay calm and fall asleep while waiting for you most times. My son is 6 and can put himself to bed and everything - all I have to do is promise to check on him before I go to bed and if I get up in the night to use the bathroom he knows I'll check on him.
Another thing - lay there in the dark one time and try to see tthings from her perspective. Is there a funny shadow or scary looking shape behind the blind? I had no idea why my daughter couldn't sleep (now 4) and I did this and didn't reallise that the dogs kennel was one level below her window and that she could hear him each time he scratched and banged up against the house - or his teeth scraped on a bone - all unfamiliar noises! Problem solved when dog kennel was shifted.
Your change in furniture is no big deal - it's not like you moved house. Potty training also wont have a big impact if you keep it low stress. Take her to the toilet for a "sit" before bed and then pop a pullup on for overnight. Wake her first thing and take her for another "sit" --- can't imagine that wwould be causing the strange behaviour either.
Nightmares are a possibility. Look into BRAUER - CALM (it's a homeopathic formula) that just takes the edge off and encourages peacefullness (really helpful when teething too!)
Does she have a nightlight? If so - try complete darkness and if not - maybe try one of those!
Just some random suggestions, but I feel your pain!

Jessica - posted on 09/05/2010

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OH goodness, I wish I could help you! I have an 8 month old, so I'm really of no help. Good luck!

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