My Five Year Old Has Intense Fear of Sleeping in Her Own Room.

Updated on August 14, 2007
B.M. asks from Wylie, TX
7 answers

About six weeks ago my five year old daughter began expieriencing a bout of nighmares; it has now developed into a deeply intense fear of sleeping in her own room. At bedtime she will cry, scream and beg us not to leave her alone, she eventually passes out only to wake up a couple of hours later and resumes to scream and cry. She has never reacted like this in any situation. My husband and I are desperate and at a loss of what to do. We have done everything the pediatrician has suggested. She is normally a happy and well adjusted child, she has never experienced any sort of traumatic event (other than a scary image on t.v) and belongs to a very loving and supportive family. Any suggestions or advice is appreciated.

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answers from Dallas on

My daughter is the same age and we JUST went through this!! Here is what we did and she is sleeping back in her room through the night...

We put up super THICK curtains so no shadows could show through..ended up the tree outside showing through her sheers from the outside light was part of the problem. After her nightmares this shadow scared the TAR out of her and she refused to sleep in her room.

Next we went to target and let her pick out a couple strings of those indoor/outdoor lights in the patio section (basically xmas lights with decorative covers and such). We let HER help decide where to hang them where she would feel "safe". She ended up hanging them right above her bed.

Those two things put together, she went right to bed THAT night in her own room and slept peacefully all night. Not a problem one since :) I think what helped the most was the fact that SHE got to make the decisions on what would make her feel 'safe' and she was extremely excited about her "new room".

Hope this helps!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My daughter went through something similar at that age. What we wound up doing was getting some orange oil at the store (it's calming) and we got a little spray bottle that was just her size. I filled the bottle with water and put a tiny amount of the orange oil in it. We then entitled it "Monster Spray" and when we went into her room at night, she made us check her closets and under her bed and I would spray the spray all over her room and make a big deal out of telling her that would scare the monsters away and prevent them from coming back. She slept with that bottle next to her pillow and anytime she woke up and she was scared, she'd spray the spray and tell the monsters to go away and she'd go back to sleep. She doesn't need the spray anymore, but it sure did work when we needed it too.



answers from Dallas on

Try everyone's suggestions and maybe use "Sweet Dreams" Spray on her pillow. It's just a spray you choose and you name it "Sweet Dreams" and only use it at night on her pillow.

However, I have to tell you none of the ideas we tried, including those suggested by others worked. It improved, but she really didn't go to sleep alone till age 11.

It was the longest 6 years of my life. I hope it works out better for you and just know that it did eventually end for us and now I wish she'd come sleep with me sometimes because I miss her! Who'd have guessed?



answers from Dallas on

We had a very similar issue, and for us what worked was aknowledging that her fear was very real to her. We let her sleep in our room on the floor for about a week, so that she could get back into a good sleep pattern, and then we slowly transitioned her back to her room. During the day, when things werent so intense, we tried to discuss this with her, but honestly never came up with a sure reason. I stayed with her at first until she fell asleep, sitting right next to her bed in case she needed me, and then closer to the door etc... She is past understanding the real source of the problem, and now is just reacting to the fact that she knows she was scared last night, and the night before, so the only thing to do is break the cycle. I have never been good at the "tough love" thing, and it sounds like she is genuinely scared. We added a new night light that she picked out, and started to allow her to have some soft music playing if she wanted. We also tried to read fun, imaginative books right before bed to encourage her thoughts to be about the book as she drifted off. It did take some time, but honestly the best advice I can give is to teach her that you believe she is afraid and that as her mom, you will be with her and help her find ways to feel better. If it doesnt improve though, it might be time for some couseling, just to see if there is some underlying cause that none of you is aware of! Best of luck, I am sure that you are tired and concerned. ~A.~



answers from Dallas on

My daughter started having nightmares and even hallucinations from the nightmares for a while. Her grandmother brought over an angel (one of the kind that lights up and sits on the top of your Christmas tree), and placed it in her room where it was looking over her while she slept. Whenever she gets scared, she asks me to turn it on. She hasn't used it in months and is doing fine. You don't, obviously need to use an angel, but something special to her that will "watch over her" as she sleeps. I hope this helps. :)



answers from Dallas on

I really recommend seeing someone who does neuro-emotional technique. It helps clear out emotional blocks for any age. I have taken the technique and it works great on clearing out fears. Here is a link so that you can read more about it:
I hope this helps!



answers from Dallas on

Hi B.,
I had the exact same problem with my now 11 year old, beginning when she was almost 5 years old. Your story sounds identical to mine. For the life of me I could not understand how she ended up facing night time fears like that, when I always tried so hard to shelter her and do everything "right"...loving supportive family, all the security it seems like a kid would need...I adamantly kept her from questionable stuff on TV with literally ONE exception when she was 4. I left her with my mother and supposedly when she left the room for a minute, my daughter got the tv remote and changed the channel to something scary...needless to say I was less than thrilled about that. And that's literally all it took to introduce us to the world of nightmares...

I have an idea for you, although this went against the ideal, and my pediatrician didn't even recommend this idea (she didn't reject it, either, it just wasn't the first choice of options...). For us, absolutely NOTHING else worked but this. And it literally took me years to come up with this idea...I soooo wished it had come to mind sooner because we experienced exactly what you are describing for about 3 years until we tried this. I let my little one fall asleep watching a light-hearted dvd cartoon. I know, sounds bad and probably isn't what every kid needs to do, but my daughter needed to redirect her thoughts before she went to sleep, and just could not do it on her own. This was the ONLY way for us that worked. At first I would talk with her, pray with her, read to her and stay with her until she fell asleep, but then I had TWO more little girls during these years so with three little ones to put to bed, it wasn't possible for me or my husband to spend this much time with her every single night. That's where the dvd came in handy, she could focus on it when her thoughts would linger on something scary and it would help her think her way out of them...It literally became a life-saver for us until she just eventually outgrew this phase. And they will outgrow it, it just takes some time. It's a normal part of childhood. Our little girls are just a little more sensitive to this than maybe other kids.

Just thought I'd pass that idea along as a last resort, because it really did help us when nothing else at all worked. I hope your little one (and YOU) get some relief soon. Don't worry, you're not alone.
God bless,

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