Help with a 3yr old waking with nightmares about scary monsters
My 3 year old is waking with night mares about scary monsters. We have a night light on in her room, she has a cuddly and doll in her bed. We check with her under the bed and in cupboards to show her that there are no monsters. But when she wakes in the early hours of the morning the only way to get her back to sleep is to sleep with her. Once she we think she is asleep if we leave her bed she wakes again. I am currently 20 weeks pregnant and need to get some sleep any ideas?
You are managing her fears with sensitivity and fairness which is only good. But you just need to be careful that you don't invest "too" much into it all otherwise she's likely to learn that this is a lovely way to gain lots of attention. Fears of the unknown and imagination peak at around this age and stage so she's only doing what is completely normal and age appropriate.
I'd suggest you don't actually lie down with her, but perhaps sit on a chair beside her bed or on her bed and gradually remove yourself from her room before she's fully asleep. If you make changes to what you're doing first then she's going to need to follow your lead. You need to be in control of how long you stay in the room with her and when you actually leave. And tell her what you want her to do eg "Lie down, go to sleep" and tell her that there are no monsters in your home and that it's yours and her daddy's job to make sure of this. This strategy can work very well and helps build trust and security.
Expect her to protest and do what has worked before in terms of wanting you to lie with her but if you continue to do this she's not going to learn how to regulate her own emotions and learn that there really is nothing to fear.
31 Jul 2014