SLEEP => Sleeping For Toddlers => Topic started by: J&Jsmom on February 24, 2006, 06:54:31 am

Title: Screaming at bedtime and in middle of the night - please help
Post by: J&Jsmom on February 24, 2006, 06:54:31 am
My DS is 2. He was a difficult sleeper as a baby but for a long time now has been sleeping through with no problems. We've always used the same bedtime routine and once stories and night time songs were done, I'd put him in his bed, say night night and leave. And that was that.

For the last month or so it has been a return to his baby days. When I try to put him down in his bed (whether at bedtime or naptime) he just starts screaming if I leave the room. What I've been doing is leaving the door open and standing outside the door so that he can see me. But this means that I can end up sitting outside his room for up to an hour because he keeps standing up in bed to check that I'm still there. I don't talk to him - other than to occasionally say 'lie down it's bedtime' - so it's not like he's getting attention or encouragement from me.

I've also tried just leaving and walking away. But he just screams and screams and screams....and he can keep it up for hours.  I have tried controlled crying where I leave him to cry for a few minutes, go back and say lie down, and then leave again for a longer period and repeat.

But in essence regardless of what i do, it seems to take forever to work. Which means I am losing my evenings.

What's worse is that at least 3 nights a week he is now waking up in the middle of the night and doing the same thing. I go into his room to calm him and settle him - to be honest I don't have to touch him, I just have to walk in his room and he stops screaming and lies down - but the minute I try to leave the screaming starts again. On  a few occasions I've ended up just sleeping on the sofa in his room because I've just gotten too tired to keep standing outside or leaving and coming back. And on a few occasions I've just left him to CIO - mainly when I'm at my wits end. When I do this he will scream for up to 40 minutes before settling himself.

I also have a 5 month old who is going through some sleep issues of his own right now (part of which are because he's being woken by his big brother's screaming every night). So I end up being woken up multiple times every night between the two of them and am just knackered.

Does anyone have any ideas on the correct way to deal with this screaming issue? I keep thinking that I'm either breaking his trust and worsening the situation by leaving him to cry OR I think that I'm prolonging the situation and making it a habit by sitting outside his door. I don't know whether this is some kind of seperation anxiety thing. It started when he was sick and I put it down to that but he's not sick anymore and he's still doing it. Please help someone. Am desperate!!!!! Thanks in advance
Title: Re: Screaming at bedtime and in middle of the night - please help
Post by: imsmum on February 24, 2006, 20:37:37 pm
i have a post on page 3 of this board called "18 month old screaming for mummy" (or something like that) which might help you out
Title: Re: Screaming at bedtime and in middle of the night - please help
Post by: elfin on February 26, 2006, 11:36:45 am
We went through some serious seperation anxiety at the same age.  He was clinging to me when I tried to put him down for a nap and bedtime, and we also had some nightwakings as well.  I spent the extra time with him during this, but tried to stay as consistent as possible.

Sorry, no real words of advice, but yes have been there!
Title: Re: Screaming at bedtime and in middle of the night - please help
Post by: J&Jsmom on February 26, 2006, 12:24:25 pm
Thanks Elfin and Imsmum.

I finally lost the plot with this behaviour a couple of nights ago and decided that once I put him down and left, that was it. No going back because every time I went back it just seemed to prolong it and make the screaming worse. So I left him to cry it out - which I know isn't something BW advises but I was willing to try anything. The first night he screamed for 15 mins and then suddenly stopped, had a little chat to his toys and then went to sleep - and didn't wake up in the night. Last night I did the same thing and he screamed for 6 minutes, then suddenly stopped, chatted to his toys and went to sleep. And again didn't wake up at night. So i am going to keep it up and see if the screaming gets shorter and shorter. I've also managed to put him down for his lunchtime naps without screaming since doing this. So it may not be the kindest way of doing things but it seems to be working - and right now, I need something that works. Will keep you posted on how it evolves.
Title: Re: Screaming at bedtime and in middle of the night - please help
Post by: Khyan & Sahria's mum on February 27, 2006, 00:36:55 am
Melissa we are pretty much in the same situation and I am at my wits end and spending sometimes 3 hours in Khyan's room in the middle of the night and well last night at 4.30am after being in there for 1.5hours I ending up sleeping on the carpet in his room (ohhh my poor back  ::))

Anyway I was wondering if DS is in a bed or a cot as you never mentioned that he gets out of bed ?

I'm really interested to find out how you go as I just know that I am starting some accidental parenting that I don't want to continue for much longer. Also if anyone else has any more info please keep it coming.

Title: Re: Screaming at bedtime and in middle of the night - please help
Post by: J&Jsmom on February 27, 2006, 07:10:54 am
Hi Michaela

He's still in a cot and so far hasn't tried to climb out of it - but I don't think that is too far off.  ::) Last night we left him again and he cried for 5 minutes and didn't wake in the night. So the crying is getting progressively less each day and since leaving him to cry he hasn't woken at night. So will keep trying it and will let you know how it goes.

Good luck with yours. I know what a nightmare it is  :(