November 20, 2009,
L.A. asks from Beverly Hills, CA on May 13, 2008
3 Year Old Says She Is Scared at Night
I have a 3 year old daughter who has slept sound all night since she was 2 months old unless she was sick. My husband recently went out of town for a business trip, he was gone 3 nights. My daughter had a hard time while he was gone it was very obvious that she missed him and wasn't dealing with him being gone very well. Once he came back she seemed fine. He has been out of town many times since she was born but this is the first time it has had an effect on her that I have seen. In the past 2 nights she has not gone to sleep until around midnight. I will hear her in her bedroom crying and when I got to check on her she tells me she is scared (won't say of what) and that she wants to sleep with Daddy. I go in every few mins and check on her until she finally falls asleep. I am thinking that this may be a result of him going out of town since she gets up every morning and asks where he is and if he is gone on a plane. I feel bad for her and do not know what to do to help her. I don't want to put her in our bed because I know that is a hard habit to break. My husband will be going out of town again in a few months and I would love to figure out something to help her with this. I am wondering if this is just a stage and maybe she really is scared at night or if she is scared that he is leaving again and any suggestions you may have to help her through this.
R.D. answers from Washington DC on May 13, 2008
Hi. I had the same problem with my 2yr old when Daddy and I split. She would wake up saying she missed him and wanted to sleep with him. He took her to the Build a Bear workshop and they made a "Daddy" bear. He also put a picture of the two of them in the pocket on the bear's clothing. She still asked for him but the "Daddy bear" made her feel a lot better. I hope this helps some. Good luck.
1 mom found this helpful
C.B. answers from Washington DC on May 13, 2008
Have her Daddy give her a baby-doll or stuffed animal that she can use only when he's out of town. Have him explain to her that the "baby" is her new nite-nite friend for when Daddy is gone.
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J.G. answers from Washington DC on May 18, 2008
I love the "Daddy bear" idea - what a great suggesstion! Also, I took a parenting class once at our church while my then 2 year old wasn't sleeping very well, wanted to get in my bed, etc. (Dad comes and goes alot due to his job.) The suggesstion was made to have mommy and daddy "couch time" every evening where the child/children had to do something else while the parents had their time (10-15 minutes). Make a point to tell them what you are doing. My husband and I would have our time right after dinner at the dinner table and the kids would go play in their room, try to sneak in on us, etc. This will show your daughter that the family is okay. Mommy and Daddy are okay and she won't want to see you guys together at night. When he is away you can have your time anyway via emailing or writing a letter talking on the phone, etc. I swear it worked wonders for our sleep issues at the time. Try it for a week or so while your husband is in town and see if it helps. Good luck!
M.E. answers from Washington DC on November 20, 2009
Hi I am a stay at home mom of 2 girls ..My five year old is having a problem too ..She was also a GREAT baby whom slept right through the night ..I almost think it's a age thing ..I was putting our daughter back in her bed like 7 times a night and then I was just like ok this is dumb what am I doing? She is scared and I am her mama so I tried to let her bring her pillow and blanky to the couch at bedtime when I am watching the news or Greys anatomy LOL and she will fall asleep in like no more than ten minutes :) Its Great and then I just carry her to bed ..Its better than her falling asleep scared to death and having nightmares all night !!