Why does my daughter wake up screaming at 2 and 3 am?

Adrean - posted on 11/08/2011 ( 3 moms have responded )




Any reasons why my 2 year old daughter wakes up screaming her head off anywhere between 2 and 3 every night? Its the same time every night and we cannot get her to stop until she gets so tired she passes out! (usually about 2-3 hours) Please help, has anyone else had this issue?


Louise - posted on 11/10/2011




This sounds to me like she has learnt that if she screams you and daddy comes running and so now it is a habit. This probably started as a night terror but she got such a comfort from you that she does it all the time now. Unfortunately the only way to stop it is to ignore it, when she cries go in and see if there is any reason for it, lie her down and leave, no eye contact no verbal communication. Let her cry for 10-15 minutes then go in again settle her down and leave. The first night will be the worst but by day three she will realise that she is not going to get the reaction she is expecting and will stop. Hard to do, but worth the stress to achieve a child that will sleep through the night.

Jennifer - posted on 11/11/2011




Night terrors aren't uncommon at this point but if it's EVERY night than I agree that it's probably become habit. I personally have never been able to give silent comfort to my child but go in, check on her, soothe her as needed (my daughter likes her back rubbed and to hear that she's safe and mommy loves her) and then leave and let her fall back to sleep on her own.

Candace - posted on 11/11/2011




My son is also 2 years old, since the end of September. We go through this every once in awhile. One of our problems is constipation. But, he will also go through some stages where he is having nightmares. He wakes up and says, "I'm scared," or "There's a ghost." I don't even know where he learned about ghosts. One night, he woke up crying, "Big, big puppy." So, I'm pretty sure he is dreaming about these things. I'm not comfortable letting him cry. He's clearly scared (or constipated in our case) and needs help from me. I don't think he is able to calm himself yet. He doesn't have the impulse control. Something we do, and this depends on your personal beliefs, is that we pray to God to take the bad dream away. He seems to understand this quite well and calms down fairly quickly. I then lay with him or stay in the room until he is nearly asleep. If praying isn't something you are comfortable with, maybe you could use a bad dream fairy or something. Good luck!


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