My 3-year-old wakes up in the middle of the night throwing tantrums: Advice?

Hello, I am having a really hard time, and I hope you can help. My almost-three-year-old son has started waking up in the middle of the night to throw a tantrum! An example is, he wakes up at 3 am and asks for milk, I get him milk, but he will continue to scream that he wants milk, the more I engage him, the more he screams. Honestly, I just lay next to him until it ends ( usually 10 to 15min). He used to sleep through the night, but then his little sister arrived, and it has been a year with no sleep. I feel like a horrible mom because I am completely lost on what to do! I know this sounds silly compared to the other problems on the site, but any advice would be very welcome.


My daughter did this when she was having growing pains, but she never told me she was in pain. She grew 3 inches in 6 months. Also, my son did it having night terrors (if he didn’t nap during the day). He wasn’t awake although it seemed like he was.

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They do make melatonin for kids now ages 3 and up considerate to get his sleep patterns back to normal


It’s a phase, he will grow out of it.

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I was going to say, this sounds a bit more like night terrors than just a tantrum. I suggest talking with your pediatrician (and a little bit of Google) for help and ideas. Good luck momma.


Probably having bad dreams! My 4 yr old does the same thing, has been for about a year. When she would start screaming I would try to talk to her and she would just block me out and continue. Only advice I got is to just snuggle your babe.

This sounds more like night terrors. My son went through them and the best thing you can do is just leave them be. My son didn’t even remember having them the next morning


Night terrors. They talk in their sleep, they’re confused, they’re frightened. Just hold him and rock him


I agree with the night terrors. They dont know what they are doing or saying.

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Just hold him and cuddle till he falls asleep again. The only thing to help him get through this is security that you’ll always be there for him. He will grow out of ir.

This happened with my son, it went on for a few months. He’d wake up randomly throughout the night screaming and crying about something and even if you gave him that something he could not stop. We talked to a pediatrician and a child psychologist, it was night terrors/ sleep walking. He wasn’t fully awake and even though it felt like he was hearing me he really wasn’t. When these episodes would happen I’d just lay next to him and wait until he’d let me comfort him and then rock him back to sleep.


Honestly my son does the same. Hes almost 4 he has night terrors and sleep walks I found him one night eating cookies outta the fridge in his sleep like he was out cold diff have to watch really close with sleep walking

My 7 year old has slept walk since walking age. She isnt awake, but she looks like it. She talks about weird random stuff (anywhere from going yo the donut shop for a chocolate donut to someone is in her room trying to hurt her) the more i engage her instead of just helping her to bed the worse she gets and the harder to get back in bed. If all else fails, sleep with him until a doctor visit. Its worse for us on stressful days. I have sleep paralysis so id rather deal with my daughter sleep walking than her deal with my sleep paralysis. High stress days set both of us off easliy and the mind is vulnerable when youre sleeping, you have no control at all.

These are night terrors. He’ll grow out of them

Definitely sounds like night terrors. He may seem to be awake but definitely is not. Stress can cause these and it sounds like with a new baby, that could be his issue. It’s difficult momma, I deal with the same thing with my 3-year-old daughter (we just moved), but they will eventually grow out of it. Not a lot you can do unfortunately.

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All 4 of my kids did this… one would sit on the bottom step crying she wanted to eat roller skates and i won’t let her… sometimes it was harder then others hang in there it’ll be over before you know it


My son had night terrors at that age and I started waking him up to go potty before I went to bed myself around 11. After he started emptying his bladder the fits during the night stopped :woman_shrugging: he would wake up throwing a fit and cry and whine and be inconsolable, but when he started peeing and going back to sleep it just quit immediately

It sounds like night terrors to me. My son had them for a long time and then it turned into sleepwalking. Its rough hang in there. My son outgrew it in about 18 months. Do you have a support system to help you so maybe you could catch a nap during the day or get a break so you can rest a bit? It definitely makes things easier.

This is happenenning with my almost 2 year old when her brother arrived. Its been going on for almost 3 months now :sweat:

Does he seem awake? My daughter sleep walks, and sometimes to the point where she will respond to me, and ask for stuff. But she is completely asleep and if I try to interact she will cry. What i do now is I just lead her to her bed, and sit with her until she is back asleep. He may be sleep talking, and is confused when you give him what he wants. I would try next time to say “okay buddy let’s lay down first” and then sit with him and see if he will go back to sleep

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Quit giving in… tell him… you are mom he is child. He gets no milk or whatever until he stops throwing a fit and dont give in. Tantrums… meltdowns… etc… its all for attention… quit giving him the attention at negative times (tantrums) and he will stop


My son used to have night terrors. Now sometimes he will do this, he isn’t even actually “awake”. he has no memory of it in the morning. I will tell him i am going to do whatever he wants, but tell him I need him to lay down while i do it, and he usually will say okay, and i can get him to lay back down with me and sleep.

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My oldest had night terrors and would do the same thing. We couldn’t touch him or anything because it would make it worse so we would just sit near him and make sure he didn’t hurt himself. He’s grown out of it now

This definitely sounds like night terrors and a lot of kids get them my daughter had them till she was 7. All you can do is try to calm them down if possible or just reassure him that your there. I was told by my doctor to not try to wake them bc it could make things worse

Night terrors. My daughter had them.

Could be a little bit of jealousy too.

Sounds like night terrors, talk to your pediatrician

kinda sounds like night terrors my daughter use to have them more rare for us now but she would run through the room screaming bloody murder and no one could touch her or get near her without making it worse so we’d sit about 5ft away talk gently and reassure her we are there and shes safe every few minutes too much talking would exasperate it as well and wait like 20 minutes or so for her to fall asleep or allow physical contact but touching her would send it over 100 it was terrible but she grew out of it for most part shes 3.5 now. no trama or anything in her life.

Definitely sounds like night terrors. It happened to my son. I saged the house and his night terrors stopped. Worth a try but sage is amazing for cleansing the energy in your home

Sounds like he’s sleep walking (sleep throwing a fit). That kind of thing is triggered by anxiety so it makes sense that it started when his sister came into the picture. Maybe he feels like there isn’t enough love to go around and he needs some quality time with you.
I sleep eat when I’m stressed. I look completely awake but my husband knows I’m asleep because my ass is eating a tub of butter :joy: I’ll talk to him, have a conversation, the whole nine yards.

Night terrors. He’s probably not even awake.

A 3 yr old should not be drinking anything other than water during the nite, per the dentist. Its causes milk rot

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Sounds like night terrors. Also ONLY WATER AT NIGHT

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He might be having nightmares…try having a really exciting bedtime ritual I guess, like him laughing and it my change them to happy dreams… my daughter is almost 2 and she wakes her self up several times through the night crying or giggling and I can tell it’s her dreaming

Sounds like sleep walking, night terrors. Don’t argue or talk with him, don’t get milk. Just keep him in his bed. Until he goes to sleep!

He’s walking and talking MoMA since it started around the time his sister came it would be stressed induced try spending more time with him during the day see my youngest son sleep talks and walks and them more you engage with any one who is in that state they’ll become more aggressive ( screaming, saying mean things ect) try soothing by rubbing his feet or where ever his tender spot is bos is his rear end lol

Yep night terrors. They do grow out of it mama. I’m sorry I know you’re tired. Try to speak softly and soothing to him. I know it’s hard when they’re screaming. You can run your fingers through his hair, lightly rub his ear lobe (sounds weird but it worked). You can try humming or singing him a lullaby.

Sounds more like night terrors

this is the age where their active imagination run wild and they have vivid dreams both exiting and scary dreams he isn’t old enough to rationalise dreams and the emotion they cause hang in there it will pass :heart:

My 18 month old great grandson has them from time to time, I ask the Dr. about it he said it was normal and to make sure he is not getting hurt but do not feed into it. Just make sure he is safe and that he will outgrow it. So far he has only had two in the past few months

My 3, almost 4 year old does this sometimes too when something stirs her awake. Usualy i try w.e i can like milk n all that, fail then just throw on music for her like the pink floyd dark side of the moon album and leave her and she’ll lul back to sleep within like 10 or so mins