Anxiety and Sleeping Fears

I'm reaching out to my friends for some advice on an issue that has recently popped up.  My 7 year old has suddenly developed a fear of going to sleep at night.  For a few months now she has complained daily of her tummy not feeling well.  I've taken her to the doctor twice and there have been no physical indications of an illness.  I've noticed some insecurities that she's dealing with and have been helping her to overcome those.  As of about a month ago, I noticed the daily complaints started changing to bed time.  When I put her to bed she would appear sick - even to the point of gagging.  She has not slept through the night in a month.  When I get her to sleep, she comes in my room usually between 1-2:00am visibly upset and unable to go back to sleep.  She seems to shiver with fear.  Often times I have taken her to another room to calm her and sleep with her until morning.  Her fears are progressing and now she is struggling just to go to bed at night.  She will sometimes work herself into a full blown panic attack.

I admit that with us being off of school so much in the last couple of weeks, bed times have been less consistent and I've been a little more willing to cuddle past bed time, let her fall asleep on the couch, etc.  Last night I was determined to make her stay in bed if she got up.  At 3:15 this morning, she came wandering into my room once again.  I walked her back to her room, tucked her in, and tried to leave.  Let's just say the next 45 minutes were unpleasant.  Every time I tried to leave her room, she chased me screaming.  It was painful to watch - and at 3:15 in the morning, I admit I was a wee bit cranky!  After nearly an hour, she calmed down and we discussed her fears at length.  I still ended up taking her to the guest room to sleep.  Even laying beside her, she wasn't able to go back to sleep until I wrapped both arms snugly around her.

Now, here are some things that I do know.  When we discuss her fears, they are consistent.  She is afraid 1 - that something bad is going to happen to me, her dad, or her sister and 2 - that she is afraid in the dark when she is not with an adult.  What I don't know is why all of a sudden these fears have developed.  We have been in our new house now for almost 7 months.  There have been two things that have happened that she has mentioned which could play a part in her fears.  One, we saw a bad car accident happen in front of us a few weeks ago.  We were the first on the scene and Derek & I both got out of our car to help the victims.  She was visibly upset by it.  Two, our sweet little 12 year old friend, Kylie, passed away from Cancer a couple of weeks ago.  She has asked many questions since then.

So, if these are the triggers of her fears, what do I do to calm them?  I've offered to keep lights on at night.  I check in on her more often.  I pray with her.  I diffuse essential oils before bed.  We discuss in length about her fears and concerns.  I try to reassure her.  I'm at a loss as to what else to do.


  1. Tanya said...:

    Oh my goodness. I am so sorry, the poor thing. I do not have any dvice but it sounds like you are doing an amazing job

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