We are dealing with a sleep breakdown in our home and My husband and I are about to lose our minds and our tempers. About 2 months ago our 3 year old son became fearful at night (and of his bedroom in general). And our 1 year old daughter (who has always had trouble sleeping) decided not to take her afternoon nap.
It started with my son creeping into our bed in the middle of the night most nights. At first we thought little of it. We figured he had come down to use the bathroom and decided our bed looked cozy. Then it became so routine that we stopped even noticing he was there. My husband and I decided that this had to end because we were losing sleep and often our daughter wakes up early, and she was waking our son up too. Basically, no one was getting quality sleep this way.
So we sat our son down during the day, and asked him what was going on. Why was he waking up and coming to our bed? “My Scared.” was his answer. So we asked, “what are you scared of?” His answer was his toys, and each night he was scared of a different toy in his room as we tucked him in and began to walk out of the room.
And so it began: the nightly routine of moving toys out of his view, removing toys to other rooms in the house, and most recently covering offending toys with blankets. 2 nights ago my husband even moved my son’s reading chair into the closet. All of these tactics help to get him to fall asleep peacefully, but he still wakes up most nights yelling for one of us.
His voice screaming, jolts me awake at night, and I sleepily make my way up to his room. Next thing I know I am again trying to reason with him about his toys, covering toys with blankets and losing my cool. This goes on for an hour or 2 and I often can’t get myself back to sleep when it’s over. I usually fall asleep just before my daughter wakes for her crack of dawn nursing (which I have given up on breaking her of).
I know this is a 3 year old thing and it will fade, but I’m getting to the end of my rope, which is made thinner by my daughter who stopped taking her afternoon nap.
She still gets fussy and rubs her eyes around 2:30 pm, but when I lay her down and leave the room she’s quiet for 10 to 15 minutes and then begins to cry and cry. When I finally rescue her she is fussy and tired until she goes to bed for the night. It doesn’t help that she seems to be a light sleeper and wakes up everytime my son uses the bathroom which is located next to her room.
I’m at the end of my rope! So our solution? Switching our kids bedrooms. I have no idea if this will be the answer to our prayers, but I’m holding on to hope. My thinking is that moving my son downstairs closer to us will help calm his fears (and save me climbing up and down stairs 10 times in the middle of the night). I also hope that moving my light sleeping daughter upstairs and away from the daily hustle and bustle of the more active parts of our house will help her fall asleep and stay asleep during the day.
Who knows what will happen, but I’m looking forward to the possibility of peacefully sleeping children. And at the very least it will be fun to rearrange and set up the kids rooms 🙂
Anyone have any ideas that worked for them with frightened 3 year olds?