How Do You Handle Bed Time Separation Anxiety?

Meghyn - posted on 04/24/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My husband and I have been separated for a year and my son just turned 2 last month. At the beginning of the separation he was fine. Napping and sleeping in his own bed like a champ as he'd done since he was 6 months old. 5-6 Months ago is when the bed time separation anxiety started. He'd originally been with me all the time when his dad and I first split then about a month or two before the bed time issue started he began spending two weeks with his dad and two weeks with me. Now any time I leave him alone in his bedroom he gets hysterical and lays at the door and kicks it until I go in there. I'd just ignore the behavior if I didn't live in an apartment and his room didn't share a wall with the neighbor and I don't want noise complaints. Any suggestions on how to beat the separation anxiety and get my son sleeping in his own bed? I think i got more sleep when he was a newborn then I have the past few months... Oh and I might add that his dad has basically disappeared in the past 2 months and hes not seen him in 6 weeks.

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Catalina - posted on 04/26/2012

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Oh my gosh! I can't think of anything!



Hmmm, have you tried staying with him until he's asleep?

Meghyn - posted on 04/26/2012

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Yes I have and it worked when he was in a crib but now that he's in a bed he gets up and lays at the door and kicks it, I live in an apartment and can't let him do that. We always go to the park after dinner for an hour, in Arizona all the neighborhoods have parks, so he can run off steam then its bath time then we read two books then when it comes time to lay in his bed the hysterical temper tantrums begin.

Meghyn - posted on 04/26/2012

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He only freaks out when he knows its nap or bed time. I've tried not closing the door all the way but he escapes and then its a game of "catch me if you can" for hours on end. He has both a toddler bed that hes had since he was 15 months old and a full sized bed that he got about a week ago. I was hoping the full sized bed would help since hes a roller, kicker, toss & turner and thought maybe he needed more space. I've tried everything, including letting him pick out the sheets for his new big bed but not even that helped. Since I don't want him sleeping in my bed anymore i made a little pallet on the floor in my room and I call it his "spot" and its not working well either, hes decided he will stay up all night unless hes allowed to sleep with me.

I've tried explaining to him that hes a big boy now and big boys sleep in their own beds and that if he has a bad dream or when he wakes up in the morning I am right in the next room and will come and get him. I don't want to give up but Im at my wits end.

Catalina - posted on 04/26/2012

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It's probably less of a sleep related problem and more about not being near you and his schedule being different!

Children have a really difficult time with emotions especially when they are too young to know what they are feeling.

The first piece of advice I can give you as a nanny, then teacher, then mother is that when you are feeling anxious about something your son can sense that! So feats things first, take a deep breath and relax, you're sleep deprived stressed and doing this alone which is all really hard and makes seeing a way out even harder.

Try completely changing his bedtime routine (make sure it is a routine), so if as of now you are doing bath, stories, and then bed try doing bath, rocking with mommy, stories in the living room and then bedroom, what kind of bed does your son have?

You can also try movie his room around for a change of scenery, talk to your son, explain that he's a big boy and when he starts sleeping well he can get a new toy for his room!

Does your son start freaking out whenever he's in his bedroom?



Lots of questions I know! :-)

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