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Middle of the night tantrums
I'm not coping well!


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11 replies to this topic

#1 Tecopa

Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:53 AM

My son co-sleeps since he's always been a terrible sleeper - and it was going well for a while there with no wakeups. Now usually about five hours after falling asleep he will wake up and quickly escalate to full on tantrum. He starts with a demand for milk - but he still drinks a little before bed and when he wakes and ages ago I stopped that as an option over night too - only offering water. But he doesn't want water. Then he goes into this odd list of requests that varies every night. Ipad on mummy, TV, eat now, wake up, cupcake NOWWWWWW type rubbish. I tell him it's night time and we'll watch TV or eat or whatever in the morning...but by then the whole meltdown in full force...it takes ages before he'll let me cuddle him or calm him and then he'll fall asleep again. On a bad night it can go on and off for hours 1am to 5am once about every hour.

I am waking grumpy, exhausted and so angry at my kid. What is going on? I've tried different sleep times, routines, making sure he is STUFFED full of food in case it is hunger etc. We are TT but this has been going on for months before that.



#2 FeralSchnitzel

Posted 10 April 2012 - 07:35 AM

I don't know, but to varying degrees we have experienced it with two of our three kids. With DS it happened when DD1 was about 2 months old, he was 2.5,  and I think it was his way of dealing with a major change in his life at a time when he thought our attention could be totally on him and not shared with the new baby. It was brutal, often going on for up to 2 hours a night, usually from 2-4am. With DD1, she was 5yo and I think exhausted (towards the end of her first year of school) as well as struggling with a few friendship issues. She was all of a sudden terrified of waking in the night and not being able to get back to sleep, so she engaged us in tantrums so we would be up with her. Lovely stuff.

For both of our kids it was a phase. DS only lasted about 2-3 weeks, but DD1 has real staying power, and with her it lasted about 6 months. No amount of positive reinforcement on good nights helped us, I think both our kids were simply not able to control themselves in an appropriate way at that time of the night.

I don't think anything we "did" aside from not engaging with the tantrum really helped in the long run - they were boundary testing in a big way, and needed time to work it all out before deciding it didn't really work for them. As hard as it was, it did help for us to be totally unemotional about it all.  

Hope it passes soon for you.


#3 FeralMuddyPuddles

Posted 10 April 2012 - 08:04 AM

I dont know either as we are currently going through this....will be interested to see the replies....the sleep deprivation is destroying me.

#4 MAGS24

Posted 10 April 2012 - 08:41 AM

This is why I have never done co-sleeping. Every time I tried to sleep with DS1 in the bed with me, he would wake up excited and wanting to play in the middle of the night and didn't want to go back to sleep so I always made him sleep in his own bed in his own room.

I kept a monitor in DS1's room so that I could hear him if he woke up during the night and if he woke I would send him straight back to bed, no excuses. If he kept getting up, then I would put a child lock on the inside of his door for a while so that he had to stay in his room. If he started having a tantrum I would let him cry in is room for up to five minutes and then check on him. Sometimes at that point he would be calm enough to get back to bed, but if he still continued with his tantrum I would just let him cry for a while. When he came to realise that it wasn't very fun to wake up in the night, he started to sleep a lot better.  

My rule is that once it was night time, I never let him think he could come out if his room unless he was sick. I used to try to cuddle and comfort him back to sleep but I found that he started waking up more often and he went back to sleep a lot easier when I made him go straight back to bed, no excuses.

He's a stubborn and exited boy and that is one of the things that I like the most about him, but he also has to learn that day time if when he can do what he needs to do. It took a lot of time and effort to get him to start sleeping better during the night but with consistency and a good night routine before bed, he started to sleep all night without waking up.

#5 Tecopa

Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:58 AM

QUOTE (MAGS24 @ 10/04/2012, 08:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This is why I have never done co-sleeping. Every time I tried to sleep with DS1 in the bed with me, he would wake up excited and wanting to play in the middle of the night and didn't want to go back to sleep so I always made him sleep in his own bed in his own room.


I don't really know if it's the co-sleeping. We had a great six months before this where he would roll over, go to sleep and wake at 6am with none of the carry on at night, even sharing my bed. It's like his brain is just too wired or not staying switched off. I don't engage anymore except for saying it's night time and time to sleep. Once it's all over he might ask for a cuddle and then he's back out of it but until then I just let him go and try and ignore it.

#6 FeralMuddyPuddles

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:07 PM

we are not co sleeping, so I dont see that that is the problem here.

#7 EBeditor

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:12 PM

My kids went through this stage too and sometimes co-sleeping was a technique to get us through it. Triggers were often sickness, some sort of change in routine (new sibling, new daycare etc).

They both grew out of it by 3 - all the best!

#8 Riotproof

Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:36 PM

How long is he sleeping inthe day?

#9 Tecopa

Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:59 PM

The only good night we had this week was when he skipped his sleep - he slept 7pm-6am with only a peep in the middle. But he's not ready to drop the nap because if I try two days with no sleep he face plants into the lounge about 10am next morning. And if he does have a decent nap - say 2 or 3 hours is his ideal then he won't wind down till 8 or 9pm! But if I try and wake him up after 30 mins or so from a nap then OH BOY it's just as bad as the night.

#10 Riotproof

Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:58 PM

QUOTE (Tecopa @ 10/04/2012, 01:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The only good night we had this week was when he skipped his sleep - he slept 7pm-6am with only a peep in the middle. But he's not ready to drop the nap because if I try two days with no sleep he face plants into the lounge about 10am next morning. And if he does have a decent nap - say 2 or 3 hours is his ideal then he won't wind down till 8 or 9pm! But if I try and wake him up after 30 mins or so from a nap then OH BOY it's just as bad as the night.

I'd be inclined to start offering it as "quiet time", if he falls asleep, that's fine, but decide on how long he needs between waking up and the bedtime you want. He may not be ready to give up the nap yet, but it does sound like he's transitioning giving him up. For us, DS needs at least 5 hours awake time after his nap before he would be ready to go to bed. So, I wake him at 3 if he's sleeping past that.

And I wouldn't really call the behaviour tantrums, more like just not being tired.

#11 Tecopa

Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:07 PM

You're probably right as in it starts with not being tired, or just wanting a bit of milk or something but it sure goes into full tantrums -screaming, thrashing, hitting me, throwing things if he can find anything to throw. It's like trying to cosleep with a banshee.

He was a bit tired this morning about 10.30 after soccer but didn't fall asleep and hasn't napped yet and now it's too late so hopefully tonight is a pass out night in peace.

#12 Mpjp is feral

Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:12 PM

I don't know the answer but I feel your pain.

Last night I got:
- I want the fan on (was freezing)
- I want a kiss
- I want cereal
- I need my ben 10 watch
- I want playdoh
- I want to go to the pool
- Time for shower, time for shower, time for shower

Over. And over and over!!!




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