My 2 1/2 year old son seems to be having episodes of confusion, especially as he is waking up. He will cry uncontrollably and accept no comfort. The episodes will last sometimes 45 minutes. He is almost in a stupor. Sometimes what he says does not make sense. He doesn't even let me touch him or hold him. Nothing I do, sing, say, or try ever helps during these episodes. I usually sit in the same room helplessly until he works it through himself. When he comes out of it he always says hi! momma!, smiles and continues his day as though nothing happened. I'm beginning to think he has a physical problem. Could the confusion, and stupor be caused by low blood sugar? Could there be another physical illness that I don't know about that could cause this? He has always been very sensitive to sweets. I am very careful about the amount of sugar he receives, and the time he eats sugary things. These episodes really became evident around Thanksgiving when family was here to feed him all the sugar he could eat. He throws the normal two year old fits, but this is different. I never punish him for this, because I have a gut feeling it is beyond his control.
Would you add a little more information about the episodes?
Do the episodes only occur when your son is waking up?
How many episodes have occurred?
When did you first notice such an episode?
What is the frequency of the behavior?
Does he sometimes wake up without such an occurrence?
The episodes have occurred sometimes in the night if something wakes him prematurely, sometimes when he is waking from naps, and sometimes in the morning as he wakes. The episodes have been recent ( I just started to notice them in the past few weeks) He has had maybe 5 or 6 episodes since that time. It doesn't happen every time. I've tried to notice changes in daily routine. He has stopped taking naps every day. He will skip some days and go to bed around 8:00. Other days he will nap late in the day and go to bed around 10:00. His sleeping and eating patterns have always been very good. He hasn't had an episode in a few days. I just want to know what to do, if this continues. Could it be allergies, diabetes, or a sleeping disorder????
The episodes are likely confusional arousals, a type of partial wakings that are normal developmental occurrences for a child this age. There's no need to worry about them, and they do not signify a problem.
Don't try to wake up your son at such times - just let the episode run its course, which will often end with the youngster falling back asleep.
If you want to learn more about such episodes, look at Richard Ferber's book, Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems (published by Simon and Schuster).
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