My daughter, who is coming up for 3 years old has never been a good sleeper. She regularly wakes during the night, sometimes up to 3 or 4 times but more commonly once or twice.
More often than not she simply wants comforting from her mum, but all too often it turns into a full blown tantrum with the typical tantrum behaviour of:
- Screaming / Crying
- Lashing out / Hitting
- Head banging / Hair pulling
During the day, tantrums are quite rare. She is a very well behaved child for the most part, with what I would consider to be a very good ability to communicate for her age (I mention this because most advice on tantrums says that the child is having trouble communicating). The problem is that at night she seems to be almost half asleep and totally unable to rationalise or communicate. I don't however think that this is a case of night-terror as she doesn't exhibit the typical behaviour of screaming whilst clearly still fully asleep.
I tend to deal with this by:
- Switching her bedroom light on (I know this is bad, but the only way i've found to end the tantrum is to wake her up fully, and the light as we know stimulates her awake)
- Shut her door (She has a baby sister in the next room, I cant have her screaming in the hallway as it'll wake the baby)
- Sit with her in her room (I hate the idea of shutting her in there on her own. Although this leads to other problems as she then gets violent with me for blocking her way out. Bit of a catch 22, if I dont sit in front of the door she'll run into the hall and scream. If I do, she lashes out at me).
- Let the tantrum run its course (This sometimes takes up to 30 minutes, but typically 15. Once the tantrum is over she turns back into the well-behaved child I know. Has a cuddle, and goes straight back to bed without a fuss).
So does anyone have any insight how to deal with this? Am I doing it all wrong? I'm sure she will grow out of it - they almost always all do, but I would like to hear others POV.