Posted by: Debs | 2010/08/12


My 3 yr old wont sleep at night

HELP!!! I am going insane :-( The last 4 months my 3yrd old is having alot of sleep issues:
1) he wont fall asleep by himself anymore. He will either sit on my lap in the lounge and fall asleep or we have to sit on his bed with him til he falls asleep (he NEVER used to do this)
2) he wakes up repeatedly at night calling/crying/screaming for me. The minute I am there he passes out again. Last night in a space of 2.5hours I got up 9x for him!!!
3) at about 12-2am he wakes up and climbs into bed with us (he has never slept a day in his life in our bed, but now all of a sudden) - and only then does he sleep well! But then we cant sleep either cos its just a squash in bed.

I have tackled the monster issue (he first blamed it on this) - which is not an issue. He is a very bright boy and understands when I explain things. He just REFUSES to stay in his bed at night. We have even bribed (taken all sweets and treats away) him but nothing works. I am 21 weeks pregnant but really dont think this is the issue, as he is so excited about his sister - he even " plays"  with her/my tummy. We havent made any fuss over my pregnancy either
I got aterax from the doc to try getting him into a routine (5ml) which doesnt work. Then tried 7.5m+2.5ml tenston which makes him sleep well but only for 3-4 hours. (he weighs 18kg)

I am beyond exhausted and tried all the tricks in the book!!! Nothing major has happened that could have unsettled him either. He has the same strict nightly routine and going to bed is not an issue (as long as either I or his dad sit with him) We went away 2 weekends ago and he slept in a bed in the same room as us but STILL climbed into bed with us. DO you please have any suggestions??

Expert's Reply



It is important to take note of the fact that this sleeping problem is a new problem and has not been present since birth.Something must have upset your son. He seems to be having night terrors which may be combined with a high degree of separation anxiety.Is he being bullied at school or has something there upset him?This is not due to your pregnancy as he did not know you were pregnant 4 months ago.Your son needs a lot of reassurance and patience now. Explain that you will always be there for him and will always fetch him after school.Check with his school about any possible problems there. Is it possible that a TV programme or a story could have frightened him?Use a night light in his room. Never let him sleep in your bed. Just go to his bed, reassure him and leave the room. Take him back immediately if he comes to your bed.Do not give sedatives as they do not work, but you can try Rescue Remedy in the correct dose for his age for a few nights. Please note that Tenson contains codeine and may be habit forming.You will need a lot of patience but you will succeed if you are determined to stop this problem.

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