i'm scared!!!

Sarah - posted on 10/17/2010 ( 7 moms have responded )




My son turned 3 in september. he has just decided he is terrified to sleep on his own, in his own bed, in his own room.

He cries and cries when we put him to bed, even during the day. He wakes up at all hours of the night and early morning crying and telling us he's scared and there's monsters and noises.

He'll even wait for us to go to sleep and sneak in and fall asleep at the end of our bed after we've re settled him.

I've tried everything. a night light which he's always had, telling him there's no scarey monsters, telling him monsters are fiendly like elmo and cookie monster, helping him scare away the monsters, going through his room with him showing me the scarey teddies etc and getting rid of them (this included his thomas the tank wall clock), i've prayed with him at bedtime, told him he's brave and a big boy so not to be scared, bribing him telling him he'll get a surprise in the morning. ive tried the gentle approach and the firm approach and am at a loss. he still does it all the time.

i thought it might be that we have a new baby (he's 8 weeks old) and thats what might have caused it. so i've put something of his baby brothers in his room and asked him to look after it so he has to stay in his bed - didnt work. and i've also said he has to be brave and teach elijah (brother) how to be brave and sleep in his bed.


What else, if anything, can i try???? is it just a phase? how long will it last??? he seems terrified of his bedroom!


Kathryn - posted on 10/17/2010




About 4 weeks ago my son had a realy terrifing nightmare. He would normally go to bed on his own and if he woke in the middle of the night he would put himself to sleep. Ever since the nightmare, sleeping has been a huge issue.

I, like you, have tried all you tried. Nightlights, special blankets to protect him, morning bribary, slaying the cow and horse, making the cow and horse his best freind, etc. None of that was working he was still terrified to go to his bed. He has had the same night routine since before he was 1. I did the Supernanny approach where you put the child back to bed every time he would get up, that just terrified him even more. I finally broke down and tried this... (Though having an 8 week old may be a little diffiult doing this, hopfully hubby can help)

I started with laying with him until he fell asleep. I did this for 5 days. Around the 3rd or 4th dayI started noticing my son more comfortable in bed.
The next 5 days I told my son I would sit next to the bed , and he didn't even argue. It worked great.
The next 5 days I sat in the rocking chair which was still in his room. By then he was very comfortable laying in bed. One of the nights he kept playing instaed of trying to sleep so I told him I was going to sit out of the room but I would check on him. I made some sniffling noises every once in a while, so he would be reassured I was there and it worked, he went to sleep.
The next 5 days I would sit at his doorway, where he could still see me but only my legs.
The next 5 days I sat at the top of the stairs, which was the first time competely out of sight(besides that one night). I would tell him I would be there and I would check on him every once in a while. At the begining I would check on him at 10 minutes, then 15, then 20, etc. That gave him the reassurace he needed.
I am now working on the bottom of the stairs and doing the whole "checking on him" routine.

Now for the middle of the night waking, I would do the same thing as the night but just the next transition (Like if I was at the rocking chair at bed time, I would sit at his room door.

Amazingly enough, it worked, during the night time wakings. A couple of times he would actually put himself back to sleep without me.

I don't want my son to be scared or be punished for not sleeping. The fear is real to them. The transition approach seemed to work the best from him (though you may want to try to sit next to him on the floor, he my like having you lay in bed with him too much).

Also, I have been reading a lot of posts about sleeping issues and being scared to sleep in their own beds and it seems a lot of kids between the age of 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 are going through this too. Seems like this is just a phase, just epends on how you deal with it is how the outcome will be.

Like I said it has been a month and things are gradually getting better. I hope this works for you too!! I feel I can now see the light at the ned of the the tunnel.

Venice - posted on 10/19/2010




Prayer is good, pray with him, over him out loud and ask that he be cover and protected from head to toe, soft music in the room will help fill the void and a night light in some cases helps but in most it puts shadows on the walls and this makes things worse. stay with him in his room until he is alseep and then you can work on tapering that off. good luck, a lot of love and remider that he is special and he always helps to spend extra alone time with him before bed, reading , or talking, this will asure him that he is still special regardless of the new family addition and if you sit in his room with the music playing this will help with the stress, i would not use the night light, get a cd player that has a small light and if anything leave the hall light on.

Heather - posted on 10/18/2010




SOunds like you have been doing a great job of trying all the tricks. He may be going thru a phase where he needs you a little more, i would let him sleep in your room until he is comfy again, you can either let him in your bed or you can put a blow up on the ground in your room and tell him that you understand he is scared and altho mommy and daddy would never let anything happen to him and it is your job to keep him safe he can sleep in your room if he really feels like he needs to. I think if he feels understood then the phase will pass quicker. You can also do a sticker chart and let him know that for every night he stays in his bed he will get a sticker adn once he has 7 of them (or whatever num u come up with that is appropriate) then he can pick out a specail toy or special outting with mommy or something to that effect. Also maybe limit of get rid of TV time, there may be something that is putting his imagination into overdrive, or come up with the nightmare police (do a ceremony with one of his hand picked animls or dolls and get them a badge and they are in charge of making sure that nothing scarey come near him at night). Good luck i hope this phase passes quickly for you and for him. Oh and another idea is sittting with him till he is asleep even if it is just in his doorway while you read a book or nurse the baby or whatever so he knows you are there to protect him from anything scarey. Good luck!

Nikki - posted on 10/17/2010




this isn't as enlighting but we got my 2y/o monster spray ( its a squirt bottle with water and a little lavender in it ) and we spray the closet under the bed ect before reading a book and she has been sleeping all night with the spray next to her and she has finally done it all night by herself!! there are morning that her floor is damp so i know she wakes up and uses it so make sure it isn't too full but that there is enough that if he wakes up he can spray those monsters


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Ramona - posted on 10/21/2010




My oldest child wasn't quite this bad but she was similar. We were so tired when we brought home baby sister that neither my husband nor me were getting any sleep trying to tend to a newborn AND getting big sister to sleep in her bed. We put a cot next to our bed that she could crawl into; she would start off in hers but pretty much always ended up on the cot. The cot folds up like the 'portable' fabric chairs and is out of the way during the day.

This has lasted about two years now and big sister really didn't start consistently sleeping through the night until little sister joined her in the room in the other twin bed. Just stay patient...

[deleted account]

I feel your pain. Since my son (age 3) turned 2yrs old he hasn't wanted anything to do with his bed or his bedroom. We have tried everything. New sheets, new posters, rugs, toys, anything to get him interested in being up there. He screams and cries bloody murder anytime we put him up there. We have had to make a pallet of pillows and blankets on the living room floor for him to sleep downstairs.. Having said that me and my husband have had to sleep on the couch next to him to make sure he is safe alone downstairs. This has been going on for over a year now.. I so feel your pain.

Sarah - posted on 10/17/2010




Thanks so much guys, as you would know, we'll try anything to help our little ones (and get a good night sleep).
Great ideas, i'll try them both! :)

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