I have a boy who is almost 4 years old and has recently (the last 4 weeks) refused to go to bed on his own.He sleeps in a room with his 2 siblings, but they do not count.He will cry until he vomits unless someone stays with him until he goes to sleep.Inevitably he awakens during the night and will not stay in his room. He has even gotton to the point of refusing to sleep on our floor alone. He screams as if he is terrified. As a mother of 3 it gets very tiring and frustrating to have this all start. I do not want to get into the habit of him sleeping with us nightly--but I need sleep.
We talk about his fears during the day -- he will not even go to other floors of the house alone anymore. He play superheroes, he is not allowed to watch any television except videos that have no scary content. He used to enjoy playing up in his room, but now fears to go there alone.
He is a bit on the sensitive side already--things like loud noise, strong odors, textures, tags in clothes--they are intorerable for him. As a baby he had lots of allergies and slept with us a lot. However the cosleeping stopped at 16 months. We moved a long distance last October--but we have been back to see his friends 2 times since then. I have attempted to foster any friendship he has made here.
What can I do to ease his fear and not get into a habit that will be hard to break in the long run? I am worried about his ability to be alone and adapt to new situations. He seems a bit old for the anxiety that seems to be being produced by separation from me or his father.
This is a prime time for separation anxiety, and sometimes it appears spontaneously, without any observable precipitants. More often it is prompted by some upset or changes in the environment, but not always. You are right in your instinct not to organize the family's life around this, and to stay away from practices that will ultimately be hard to break. You might speak with his pediatrician about a short-term approach that can help to promote sleep and help him to sleep through these normal periods of semi-sleep that are resulting is his waking up fully. Ask the doctor about a small dose of diphenhydramine hydrochloride (sold under brand name Benadryl) or a similar anxiolytic (such as hydroxyzine). If the doctor is willing, this can be useful in establishing a different pattern, but only do this with the doctor's approval and be sure to use no more than the dose the doctor approves. Also, only do this for the period of time the doctor advises.
My 7 yr old son has ADHD hyperactive/impulsive and he used to have a problem with tags, extreme sensitivity to sound, used to have nightmares and still to this day will not sleep alone.
Try giving him 1/4 of a melatonin tablet about an hour before bedtime. Let him sleep with something that makes him feel secure. Dye-free benadryl is great for calming also.
You may want to try adding essential fatty acids to his diet if he has any of the following symptoms fo the deficiency: dry itchy skin, dyslexia, dyspraxia, vision problems at an early age, eczema and psoriasis, excessive thirst and behavior problems. Go to lcpsolution.com and read "The LCP Solution" by Jacqueline Stordy and Malcolm Nicholl.
Diet can have a big influence on behavior. Kyle reacts to artifical dyes, dairy products, and corn syrup. Try eliminating these from his diet for two weeks to see if there is an improvement in his behavior. Limit sodas, juices, chocolate, candy, etc. Water should be his main beverage and lots of it.
Kids go through phases of being scared of things. For a few weeks, Kyle would not go to the bathroom by himself at home and at school. Fears can seem very real to a child. Please be understanding with him and talk - not lecture but listen - to his problems and fears.
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