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Question
Posted by: Jojo | 2008/06/09

Toddler scared of his bed

Help. My son turned 3 last month and from when he was 2 has been sleeping in his own bed without any problems. Suddenly in the last week or so he's waking up anytime from about 23h00 - 2h30 and crying so desperately and telling us he's scared of his bed and wants to sleep with mommy and daddy. I gave in for the week, but last night my husband told him that it has got to stop and refused to let him get into our bed. He threatened, cajoled, spoke softly, even took him outside to show him there was nothing to make him scared and yet he still persisted and cried for another hour saying he wants to sleep with me. My heart is breaking for this little boy, but I do understand he needs to know that there is nothing to be scared of in his bed. He' not saying under the bed, but the bed itself. We've wrapped him up, put him under the covers, given him a torch and yet it was still hell last night. Finally after about 2 hours he was exhausted and did go to sleep until the morning in his own bed, but my heart is really sore for him.
Why would someone so small be so scared? Do you think he could be having night mares or just in the habit now of waking up at that time to come into our bed?
I'm not a fan of co-sleeping because he is restless and I'm a light sleeper and also have to get up for my 7 months old baby once during the night as well (he's in his own room too).
What can we do to ease him back to sleep in his own bed without the trauma each night? Any suggestions would be welcome.
Thx.

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Our expert says:
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Do also ask this question on the Parenting forum, for some useful responses from other parents.
It's possible he may have had a nightmare, and then grown scared of his bed. Have you tried calmly talking to him about what happened ? Nightmares tend to get remembered, Night Terrors are similar, but even more frightening, and the kid does NOT remember then afterwards. DO have a night-light.
And when you tuck him in bad at night, sit for a while quietly in the room with him. If he falls asleep, of course you leave. If he gets up the first time you tuck him back saying "It's night time now, time to sleep". If he's up again, tuck him in again, but with no comment. And the next time. Let him get the message that he's safe AND staying in his bed.

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Our users say:
Posted by: CP MOM | 2008/06/09

Hi JOJO

Hope everything else is ok? And that you are the jojo Im thinking of?

In any case two things. Once my daughter was also so scared after I bought her a new duvet set and I realized that the picture on her pillow of Shrek was scary and when she turned at night he'd "look" at her.....

Also have you got a pretty night light?

Further more (and I dont mean this ugly) you should never have "given" in...he's now seen that he got away with it once you just have to keep up and keep on taking him back to his bed doesnt matter how tired you get....show him under his bed, in the cupboard, that the windows are closed, ect everywhere show him that there is nothing at all to be scared of and also say that you are not far away and maybe in the meantime put a passage light on?

Its an awful thing to feel like you do but you have to stick it out. Know that you are not harming him and that YOU know he's safe in his bed so ....ja...good luck!

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