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NVR - Hey, parents...

Here are some parenting related questions:

How did you get your child to sleep through the night? Have you dealt with separation anxiety?

You see, my daughter (20 months), about a month ago simply ceased sleeping through the night. Before, she was touch and go with it, but since then, it has just not happened. Worst of all, she will not even fuss herself back to sleep. When she wakes up between sleep stages (which we all do - we just don't remember it), she immediately stands up and SHOUTS, "Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!".

At this point we go in, soothingly tell her to lay down, and sit silently until she gets back to sleep.

We've tried letting her cry it out, but that did not go well. Ever heard a child shout nonstop from 1:30 am to 7:00 am? It's not fun.

Anyone had anything similar, or have any advice. Our nightly ritual is steady and sedate... Oi. I just don't know. Any help would be appreciated.

1.I've been there. First find out why she is screaming. Is she having nightmares? Make fun of the nightmares. It will make them less scary like say she sees a monster in the dream make something up say throw a banana peel so he can slip on it.

2.If she's scared of the boogie monster in the closet get a a large stuffed animal and say this will protect you or even a plastic baseball bat.

3.Make sure she's not in pain.

4.Hold her and hum her to sleep.


Does she still take a nap during the day?  She may be getting too much sleep (or not enough) during the day.


She does get one nap a day. We took her down from two when she started wakingup ready to play at 4:40 am a few months ago.

And as for the bad dream/explaination thing, at less than two it's tough to get here to explain things. She is very verbal for her age, and she never says anything strange when we come int he room. We think it's that she wants us there. During the "fuss it out" time, she got quite explicit. "Mommy, daddy come here. Come here pleeease. Go downstairs?" But she never say anything odd.


Try to get to the bottom of it.


We had/have the same problem.
I've tried it all too.
I'm not down with the cry it out thing.
After reading every get you kid to sleep book around, this is what I ended up with:
Basically kids need sleep.
At 20 months she probably still needs a nap during the day. I think kids at that age need 14 hours of sleep (?can't remember for sure though)
You want them to get it no matter what because without it, it will only make matters worse.
So if you have to rock her, or have her sleep with you, then do it.
BUT you can ween her off of those things if you want but that means if she cries and you normally go get in bed with her the next time you just sit on her bed, don't lay down. Do that for 3-5 days then sit next to her bed for 3-5 days (or really as long as you need to) then stand... then stand by the door... etc etc until you are out the door and eventually you can just wispher from the door and in the end she can calm herself back down and go back to sleep without you. Of course that is ideal.... it never works like that LOL but as long as you don't go backwards in the steps it seems to work (or at least help a lot)... it takes a long time though! It's hard too, but remember a few weeks of being a zombie from standing by her bed is better than having a 4 year old with a sleeping problem and having 4 years (or more!) of no sleep.

I'd get The No-Cry Sleep Solution By Elizabeth (er.. someone? ...sorry)

OH also note when your daughter wakes up each night, what time... our son was waking at 2:45-3am each morning a few months ago... we realized a loud rattling truck drives by each night at that time. We couldn't do anything about it but be sure to close the window so it'd muffle it a bit... but knowing what it was did help... somehow our reaction to him waking was different. he still wakes up now and and then and especially when my husband's gone i am more prone to just let him climb in bed with me... and i think to myself "this isn't going to make it any better in the future"... but i'm tired and it gets me (and him) back to sleep.  :P so i should really take my own advice.  ::)  :D


I would add soothing music on a loop. I use to play whale sounds for my daughter when she was little. I also use to gently brush her hair back with my hand from her forehead like petting a cat. It would quickly sooth her and make her fall asleep. (She's 13 now and when she's had a rough day or is sick she asks me to do this)



jenniferhughes, that is kind of the path we're on. Das Wife picked up that exact book from the library yesterday. Here's to hoping.

The soothing is a good call. Definitely better than the cry it out. Her wake ups are much shorter now. I guess I was hoping (Against all hope) for some miracle solution. Maybe in the book.

Thank everybody!


OK - I just wanted to tell you something...
when I was very young - 3 or 4,
I woke my parents up and told them I was scared...
and they put me back to bed...
I woke them up again and said I was scared...
and my mom went to lay down with me to get to sleep....
And then she heard what had been scaring me...
someone was trying to break into our house - thru my bedroom window.
My dad scared them off and called the police.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know to check on your daughter, even if you think it's nothing.


This is a developmental stage, psychologically.  At about your daughter's age, all children go through a time when they will have night terrors.  It has to do with the brain's development during that time and a growing awareness of the world for the child in question.  They are learning to be fearful, and it comes out in night terrors.  Before anyone jumps on me, the fear I am talking about is a healthy thing.  We need to be afraid of certain situations so that we learn to be cautious.  It is a stage that leads to self-mastery, when to avoid situations that will hurt us and when to challenge our instincts, feel our fears and do it anyway. 

Unfortunately, this is a difficult time for parents.  Night terrors for some kids means they awaken every time they enter a certain part of the REM cycle and in a 20-month-old that is between about 60 and 80 minutes, not the 90 or 100 it is in an adult.  So mom and dad have their REM interrupted repeatedly, they are sleep deprived and cranky.  Parents need naps more than their children do.  The good news is that this WILL pass.  We always put a place for the kids to sleep in our room and tried to set limits about the fussing.  We said, if you get scared, you can come in and sleep here on the floor, bring your "lovey" with you and you are welcome to stay, but if you keep us awake, you will have to go in your room with door shut.  The winiest of my kids was the best about being quiet as a mouse in our room.  They all eventually outgrow the terrors, and it doesn't go on for years or anything. 

To tell the truth, my older 4 didn't sleep through the night until they were 3 or 4.  The two youngest did from the time they were about 10 days old.  They were all breastfed only for at least 6 months, so it wasn't diet, it was just them.


If all else fails she may have insomnia and you can speak to you pediatrician about running a sleep study on her.  Is she agitated when she wakes or does she sound the same as she would waking from a nap? 


and_it_spoke, Sounds like you're on the right track.


Ha ha, I never used to sleep as a little kid. I was apparently evil incarnate and used to creep out of bed and go downstairs to make puzzles in the early hours. For several years.

I have no real advice, I just wanted to share that. Sorry  :-X


It's cool. I'm glad to hear other tales of sleep woe/theories/evidence that my child might not be a child, but instead a force of nature.

Things have slowly, slooowly been getting better. She no longer wakes up as intensely (MOMMY! DADDY!!!!), and wakes up less often. The other night she actually slept an entire night! The next night of course she relapsed a bit, but I think we'll get through this.

Laws, I hope so...


This may not be something you're willing to try, but i will share my experience:
I spent the first 18 months of my daughter's life getting up 5-10 times every night...I too was a believer in not letting her cry. I tried the no-cry sleep solution for months, but it didn't work. Finally, I realized that i was being a lesser parent by day because I was so damn tired & depleted all the time! So, I was willing to try something...drastic.
I read a book I would have been previously unwilling to read, but a very trusted person recommended it. She saw that I needed a miracle. So, basically, it is a series of intervals of letting her deal on her own. I put her in her crib at bedtime, and she would cry. I would check back in 5, then 10, then 15, then 30 minute intervals. Each time, i wouldn't pick her up, but would verbally soothe her and even hold and hug her from beside the crib. Then, I would tell her calmly and confidently that everything was o.k. and she could go to sleep on her own. I am glad I tried this while she was young enough to go in the crib, because it would be harder with a child who could get out of bed.
Basically, it was 2 very hard nights, but then it was like a dark cloud lifted. She has pretty much slept though the night ever that she is 4, it is much easier to talk about things, and even use incentives...when they are younger, it is harder. Now, she only wakes up if she has a bad dream or something, too.
I don't know if you are willing to try this, but if you are, i will give you more details. For me, i was at the end of my rope. I had a partner who was unwilling to help at night, so I was the only one getting up for every 1 1/2 hours every night for 18 months!
I can tell you, she never seemed traumatized (after the first 2 nights), and is one of the happiest, thoughtful,sensitive and loving children I know. I think I also became a much better mom by having my nights off...I could give her more of my full presence during the day.


Is she getting enough to eat during the day?

Does she get too cold or too hot at night?  My boys usually get too cold and that's what wakes them up... they're better at sleeping through now that its summer.

Are her two year molars coming in?

Does she wet through her diaper? Maybe you need more absorbant diapers or start doubling up on the cloth diapers?

Does she nap during the day... it may be time to cut out the nap, maybe not every day, but every second day or every third day?

When my boys wake up  (which isn't very often anymore) I usually bring them in to bed with hubby and I, and we all fall asleep pretty quickly... I just do not function at 3am. (goodness knows how we survived the newborn months, I still can't believe people let me drive my car, I was so darn sleep deprived!!)



Good suggestions, and stuff we have checked on.  We think, though it is separation anxiety. At least three books agree diagnose it as such.

The solution thus far has been this. After dinner, we have a little physical fun: Throw the football (she loves running between her mom and I as we toss it - and getting tackled!), go for a walk, a small trip to the playground or even just roughhousing in the family room. After that, chuppie time. We go upstairs for her bath, which is very routine, very soothing and calm. My wife nudges me when I'm getting her too riled up (which is so fun to do... *sigh*).

After that, jammies, hugs and kisses. Mom leaves and announces that she's going to lie down in her bed and go to sleep. I stay and read to her a bit. (We finished the LOTR trilogy. We are now working on a poetry anthology). At some point, I say "Lights out!" and we turn off the light. I sit in the doorway until she falls asleep.

When she wakes up, one of us will go sit in the doorway, not saying more than, "Shhh".

So, far, we're making progress. In another week or so, we're going to move to outside the door after lights out and wake ups. So she can hear, just not see us. Wish us luck there.

I'll come begging back to this thread if this fails horribly, though.


Hi, I have three children. They all had different sleep patterns during the first year, but around 18 months all of them would start to wake up during the night.  That's when they start to have nightmares, etc.  I Ferberized my first one about three times and then gave up.  Even if you get them on a regular pattern, once they get a cold or anything that keeps them up at night, you're back at square one.  So, being tired and everything, we just took them into our bed.  Probably not what the experts advise--and not the greatest thing for a good night's sleep--but that's what we did and eventually they started sleeping more soundly and would spend the entire night in their bed/crib.

So now my littlest one is about to turn two and sometimes she wakes me up around, oh, four or five times a night. It is killing me too.  But sometimes she sleeps straight through as well.  I don't mind bringing her into our bed, although I wish she didn't sleep with her feet on my face.  I know that in about six months time all of this will be behind me and she will just stay in her crib and sleep through.  It's just the pattern that my children have.

And I am a big believer in always, always going to them when they cry.  If you don't, you risk they will try to get out of their crib and hurt themselves. Also, I think it is psychologically important for them to know that you will always be there for them.  While I think the modern system of bedrooms and separate beds is very nice and makes for a good night's sleep, when you think about it, it is not particularly natural.  Not so long ago everyone slept in the same bed, and it was probably extremely comforting for the little ones to know their parents were nearby.

So, AIS, this is the hardest part.  You've been soldiering along for almost two years now and you're ready for a good night sleep and now this.  But soon that good night's sleep will be coming your way!


...(We finished the LOTR trilogy. We are now working on a poetry anthology)....

Lord of the Rings for a two year old?!?!  :o ummm and I thought the grufallo was a bit too scary for my kids!?!  Maybe more "kid friendly" books would put her a little more at ease before bed???


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