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Parenting Issues Message Board

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My daughter is 34 months old. Since May of 2007 she has had difficulty sleeping through the night, getting back to sleep if she wakes up and has extreme fears of sleeping alone. I cannot tie the start of this to any particular event. She used to sleep pretty well. In a lot of ways her fears are like any 2 year old's fears. However, we have resorted to allowing her to sleep in our bed and it is just not working. Lately things have been getting worse.

She seems to have some anxiety, possibly from bad dreams - she'll talk about bad guys and things like that. She is so scared and cries and screams in a terrified sounding way until she gets to sleep in our bed. However, when she sleeps in our bed she tosses and turns in ways that interrupt our sleep terrible. She also wakes up over and over and touches and smacks us to make sure we're there. None of us are getting any sleep.

I've tried EVERY single thing I can think of and everything I have come across with my research in books and online and from her dr. The last resort is to leave her in her room with a gate up and let her scream it out until she gets over it, but I cannot do that. She sounds so terrified in her screaming that I can't ignore it. She's not whining or begging to be in my bed, she truly seems terrified of her room. On top of that, I have a younger son who sleeps wonderfully and I really don't want to interrupt his sleep or I'll have two screamers on my hands - who only want mama.

I would appreciate any unconventional advice someone has to offer. Things I've tried: new bed stuff as incentive, bribe, changing bed times, changing eating habits, bedtime routines, sleeping with her, a cot by my bed, insisting on her sleeping in the cot and/or her bed, "monster spray", nightlights, lights on in her room, back patting and calming things, reasoning with her, searching her room for witches and bad guys, baby ceiling display shows, different pillows, drinks of water. I have tried it all. My husband and I are SO tired from all of thsi that even when she does get into a better sleep mode and goes to bed in her bed, we wake up in the morning to find her in our bed! We cannot be sure if she snuck in or if one of us pulled her into bed with us!!! We are too tired to know or remember! Obviously this damages our consistency with the ground rules for sleeping. I'm lost at this point. Is there any kind of homeopathioc methods of helping toddlers with sleep or alternative medicine ideas for calming her before bed time or something like that? She seems so full of anxiety and I don't know how to help her in a way that allows us all to get some rest!

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