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Q&A: Our daughter is terrified to go to bed.

Dr. Christine Wood, M.D


Q Our 2 year old girl has become terrified to go to bed at night. She thinks the smoke alarm in her room is a monster because it has a small blinking light, we have tried to cover it, and put various stickers over it as well. It takes hours to comfort her into sleeping. What can we do?

A It sounds like she is going through some normal fears. If it is not the smoke alarm, it will probably be something else. You might try giving her a "magic wand" (any object will do) or say some magic words together that will make the monsters go away. If she has some sort of favorite stuffed animal, that could be her protector. Make it fun, and incorporate something she can do and control to get "rid of the monsters."

I would guess that she is just developing a sleep problem, and two year olds have often figured out there are more fun things to do other than sleep. Make sure you have a consistent bedtime routine, and let her know that you are leaving at a certain point in this routine. You might even draw pictures of what will happen at night (brush teeth, PJ's, book, 5 minutes of quiet time with you and then leave) and post them in her bedroom. You could let her know that if she follows your routine, she can get a sticker in the morning on a chart. She may be old enough to understand that if she earns so many stickers, she can earn some sort of reward.

Christine Wood, MD

Click here to Ask Dr. Christine Wood questions about your baby's health

Dr. Christine Wood is a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. She attended the University of Detroit for her undergraduate degree in chemistry and received her medical degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. She was Chief Resident there and then worked in the emergency room at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. After three years doing pediatric emergency room medicine she went into private practice. She received her lactation educator certification from the University of California, San Diego.

She is the author of "How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It," a book that addresses the issues of why and how to feed kids healthy. The book also covers information about environmental threats and the role of nutritional supplementation for children. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Christine is also the cofounder of Call Your a website designed to give concerned parents with non-emergency medical questions, solid, no-nonsense information that can give them information in deciding when to call the doctor and some home treatment advice. You can visit her website at

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