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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm really hoping you guys can help, and maybe give me some links and information.

My friend has a *almost* three year old (as in only a couple of weeks off three) who seems to be having some severe anxiety with bedtime.

Her DD gave up naps at around 18 months, but bedtime was never an issue until a couple of months ago, and it has become progressively worse. They have a routine of stories, a cuddle and then either her or her DH will sit in the room with DD until she goes to sleep. The problem is she won't go to sleep anymore. There is apparently alot of screaming and crying (from both sides I think!). They really have tried everything I think and nothing seems to make any difference.

Well, my friend just mentioned that DD has been biting her nails and at bedtime will go crazy with the nail biting (and as a nail biter myself I know that when I'm feeling stressed or nervous I can't keep my fingers out of my mouth!). She also apparently told her the other day that 'I wish I could go to sleep but I can't', as in she really wants to just lay down and go to sleep but isn't able to.

I think that the whole bedtime thing is just getting too much for her and if now causing her severe anxiety (about it) and she is having trouble relaxing. I guess what I'm wanting is ideas on how to help a toddler relax and unwind as well as coping strategies for the anxiety she's feeling.

FTR, my friend suffers sever anxiety and suffers from PND. She feels the need to control everything to keep her anxiety in check, and I can imagine that bedtime is now causing my friend to get anxious in advance with I think her DD might also be feeding off.

Sorry that this has gotten so long. Please give me any ideas you have - my friend is really at her wits end and I think everyone needs some help.

ETA: Just wanted to add that my friend is a SAHM and her DD shadows her constantly. She is constantly needing her attention and seems to be unable / unwilling to play by herself for even a few minutes. It is the way my DS1 was when he was around 18 months old? Following me around while I got on with my day - which I think is a fairly common occurance at the age, but is it so much at 3yo?

ETAA: I have no idea with this have any relevance, but her DD is very strong willed and is capable of throwing some very impressive tantrums.
 

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Why not just cuddle up and snuggle? She's only 3. I would cradle her in my arms and rock her in the rocking chair and sing lullabies.

I did that with my kids when they were that age. Beats crying and screaming at each other.

At my house, cuddles and snuggles solve a lot of problems (especially when the child doesn't deserve it)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by momtokea View Post
Why not just cuddle up and snuggle? She's only 3. I would cradle her in my arms and rock her in the rocking chair and sing lullabies.

I did that with my kids when they were that age. Beats crying and screaming at each other.

At my house, cuddles and snuggles solve a lot of problems (especially when the child doesn't deserve it)
I think they have done this. Part of the problem seems to be that DD can't unwind and relax so she squirms and plays and sings and fiddles which drives my friend a little insane!
 

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Honestly, having two kids who are on the autism spectrum and who have serious anxiety issues, I would have the child evaluated by someone. Some of the things you mentioned are not typical. My second ds has issues that aren't very evident to most people. His anxiety and meltdowns were one of his most outward signs at 3. I thought there were somewhat typical until the ped told me otherwise. Now we are able to spot his needs and deal with them. Our lives are much more stress free.

It could be just sensory issues or issues with self regulation. There are many times where I let my kids wear themselves out and fall asleep on the floor playing instead of dealing with the huge power struggle of forcing my child to settle down when he is not ready to. In fact it's 1 am here and my 4 year old is up with me. The other things we have tried are rescue remedy(great to calm an anxious child or parent) and melatonin(great for getting said child to sleep).
 

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I don't have much advice, but I have to second the rec. for Natural Calm. I get anxiety at night sometimes and it calms me right down. Maybe it would calm her down enough for them to be able to cuddle with her.
 
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