3 Year Old Nervous Behavior

Updated on November 28, 2010
W.A. asks from Happy Valley, OR
5 answers

My 3 year old great grandchild (boy) picks his fingernails raw, and is unable tio sleep. Last night we kept him and he went right to sleep, but only slept for one and a half hours before he woke up (8:00 pm until 9:30 pm). Nothing soothed him, and he was awake for six hours. Not crying, but wide awake. Finally let him watch a childs show on the tv, hoping he would fall asleep. He finally fell asleep about 4:00 am. and slept until 8:00 am. He had a very active day, ran on the beach, played in the sand, mostly all outside activities. No nap during the day. We give him Melatonin each night, and this pattern is very normal. I know that a child needs much more sleep, to be healthy. He rarely sits still. Help!

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So What Happened?

We think he has night terrors, and this is his regular pattern.
So nothing has happened. I was hoping someone could tell us what to try or do to make life easier for all of us.

More Answers


answers from Los Angeles on

Wow. First of all, I am just delighted to know
that you get to spend some time with your GREAT grandson,
that you are close enough and well enough and trusted enough.

It seems to me that there may be one or more things
that are not so positive/appropriate with his parents
or whoever his primary caretakers are.

Among the things I might wonder about are --
what kinds of food he eats
whether he is taken care of consistently and lovingly
whether there are stress/fighting/dangerous things going on in his home
et al.

If the purpose of the melatonin is to help him sleep . . .
when was this started? Does he need this every night?
Maybe it's not working or maybe he's grown tolerant of it.

I hope you'll be able to help your great-grandson
in whatever ways you can . . . especially if you're in a position
to be able to improve/enhance his day-to-day routine.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

That type of sleep pattern for a child that age warrants a visit to the pediatrician and probably some testing. I know that people that are diagnosed as bi-polar have a very hard time sleeping unless on medication. He sounds very anxious. I hate to ask this but were either of his parents taking a drug when he was conceived or while she was carrying him? It sounds like a syndrome related to drug activity from the mother. Or maybe he doesnt have a very stable homelife and is scared to sleep? It sounds very curious. I hope you can find out how to soothe the little guy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

I knew a family with this sleep pattern in their oldest daughter. They had a very chaotic stressful home and the kids ate nothing but junk and sugar and artificial flavors and colors, their mom often kept them indoors all day, fed them candy after dinner-you get the idea. She was on melatonin, which did not help at all. It was just another dangerous thing (google side effects) that they were doing to throw her body off.
I'm sure that's not the case with your grandson but be sure his diet is NATURAL with his only sugar being a bit of fruit or watered down natural juice. He may be hyper sensitive to food, and sugar is tough on all kids. Keep the juice early in the day. NO natural sugar (fruit) after noon. And be sure he gets lots of exercise in the day time and real sunlight and fresh air whenever possible.
Those are the key elements along with a healthy loving home, so if he has all that, he may definitely need sleep specialists or at the very least a doctor appointment.
Good luck! I hope he finds relief-it's so important for his brain development!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

There are lots of posts on here about Night Terrors, search and you'll see lots of input. Bottom line, if it is night terrors, they do usually happen when the child is overtired (playing all day, no nap...) and can be avoided at times by either putting him down extra early (don't let him get overtired before bed) or waking him before the usual time. My son always woke 1 hour and 15 minutes after bed. So if I worried that it would happen after a long day, I would gently wake him after an hour (just to say hello, I love you, go back to sleep) and it would "restart" his sleep cycle and it wouldn't happen.

If it does happen, I would sit with my son very quietly and say "shhh, mama's here, it's Ok, close your eyes, lie down, go back to sleep..." in my most soothing tone over and over again. Go back to sleep, go back to sleep. And he would, sometimes after 1 minute, sometimes more like 5.

And big picture, they get fewer and farther between as they grow up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

HI W.,

If you're giving him Melatonin then you probably are okay with natural things.However, at his age his body should not be depleted of Melatonin for him to need it. It sounds like what you have described is an agitation that is keeping him awake. Is your home detoxed? (Not necessarily using natural things, but have you removed the toxins from former cleaners, laundry, perfumes, shampoos, etc?) For instance, Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo is terribly dangerous for neurological problems as well as cancer. There are many things that affect the neurological system and agitate that we are unaware of.

If your home is detoxed and you are still having this problem, is he in regular chiropractic care. Little ones actually need it more than most adults because they are rough and tumble. One simple tumble can move the spine to a point that there is an obvious affect.

I'll be glad to elaborate if this intrigues you at all. My youngest was diagnosed with ADHD and when I detoxed my home, the doctor removed her diagnosis because she no longer had symptoms. It can be something that simple. Detoxing can also be inexpensive (and stay inexpensive) if you do it the way I did.

Hope this helps and will be glad to talk!


PS Detoxing has been known to eliminate night terrors as well.

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