Struggling with Playschool and bedtime

(20 Posts)
disneygirl10 Tue 29-Apr-14 09:37:28

Just had to have ds peeled off me at playschool again! and spent an hour going up and down the stairs last night trying to get him to settle.
He has been with us 20 months and is 3 1/2. I have been trying to do the gradual withdrawal at bedtime

disneygirl10 Tue 29-Apr-14 09:45:22

posted to soon!
I was lying next to him until he went to sleep then sitting outside his door but last night I told him I was going down stairs but would come back and check on him. I must have gone up and down the stairs 10 times and ended up sitting outside his door until he went to sleep. He really didn't want to go to playschool todaysad
Any advice should I just keep staying with him until he is asleep? could that be what is making him more anxious at playschool? Thanks

So sorry to hear this.

I think yes, stay with him until he is asleep. Just to try and get him to articulate what is worrying him. Could be anything. Monsters under bed etc but don't say that to him of course!!

Pre-school....No real advise but maybe the same just to try and get him to articulate what is worrying him. Don't suggest anything because he could tell you the wrong thing . But could be:
Other kids - maybe slightly bullying behaviour/pressure to make friends
The teachers- work too hard, teacher too strict
Getting up - tired (due to late nights)

Anyway just ideas.

Good luck.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Tue 29-Apr-14 14:09:57

How is he like once at playschool?
Does he quickly settle to stuff, or spend the whole time moping around?
How long has he been there?
Has he always been poor at settling to sleep, or only since he started at playschool?

DD2 has always been poor at separation, even up to y3 we had occasional phases of clinginess at drop off time. A transition toy to take in with him (or a scarf with your perfume) may help if you're not doing that already.

Bedtime - DD2 used to be fine going to sleep in a completely dark room, but at some stage she got frightened of the dark and started insisting on door open / night light.

Maybe stay outside room (with book and cushion) until he is asleep.

It's tricky with adopted ones isn't it? You never know if it is normal behaviour or linked to past / attachment.

disneygirl10 Tue 29-Apr-14 15:03:49

He is fine once I have gone! I listen outside and by the time I have walked out he has stopped. He has been there since sept and he has been up and down about me leaving. Always comes out happy and seems to really enjoy it.
With the foster carers he never once cried or called out at night and she had to put noisy toys in his cot so she knew he was awake in the morning. When he first came to us I stayed with him by his cot until he fell asleep as I didn't want him to feel alone or scared after about 2 months I gradually moved closer to the door until he was happy to be left. After about 6 months he would cry or call at night if he was ill or upset. After he worked out how to climb out of his cot we put him in a bed and rapid return for a few nights but he was fine again.But I suppose about the same time as play school he would only stay in bed if either me or dh are in the room especially if we cuddle him to sleep.
I suppose he just needs a bit extra reassurance. I agree its so hard to know if it adoption related!
Thanks for the advise any more very welcome.

Angelwings11 Tue 29-Apr-14 16:16:48

My AD is nearly three and bedtimes are quite interesting here. I have to stay with her in our bed until she is a sleep and then we put her into her own bed. Previously, she would stay there until morning. However, after an illness, holiday and DH going away, more often than not we hear her little feet running to our room from anytime from 12am...hmm. We used to be able to put her to sleep in her own bed, but on one evening (nearly a year ago now) we went out and she woke up and got very upset that we were not there. So the bedtime issues are a combination of anxiety, the reassurance she needs that we will be there and also a sort of habit. The strange thing is, is that at preschool she has been fine about me leaving her.

DwellsUndertheSink Tue 29-Apr-14 16:31:02

Our FC, same age, was a bit of a whatsit with bedtimes. It is a key age for night terrors, plus I think they get overtired at nursery. Might be worthwhile putting to bed a little earlier. Also get him to self settle at bedtime, so he knows how in the middle of the night.

We did rapid return (safeguarding means we cannot get into bed with them). Its exhausting, but be strong and if need be, get your DP on side and take it in turns.

We still have the occasional bad night, when he throws a 2 hour tantrum at 3 in the morning. We have been hard with him, because we have no option to cuddle him to sleep. SO those nights its a combination of rapid return and controlled crying (but the crying being soothed every minute or so.)

Initially took 3 nights, and 3 horrendous tired days. Thereafter we had bad nights about twice a week, and now (touch wood) have no issue with settling.

If it's any consolation, my DS is 2 1/2 (so a little younger I know) but he is exactly the same at nursery and he's not adopted! It's almost like he just wants to make the point that I don't get away that easily...!

disneygirl10 Tue 29-Apr-14 18:06:34

Thanks everyone I have a birth dd as well and she could be a bit clingy but this feels different some how. He is very cuddly which is lovely he wasn't when he came.
Bedtimes have been a lot more stressful since we have stopped staying with him which I hate. I have talked to dh tonight (he was part of the reason I stopped staying with him until he was asleep he thought enough was enough!) I have think a will just go back to cuddling him for a bit then sitting outside his room. Not sure if its right or not but hopefully everyone will be a lot less stressed!

MyFeetAreCold Tue 29-Apr-14 19:35:33

We used to have real problems getting away from DD (then 3.5) but we changed out routine up a bit and she's much better now. We do everything downstairs (pjs, stories, games, kisses, cuddles) and then it's upstairs and straight to bed, one quick kiss/cuddle and then we leave.

I think by doing all the cuddles and stories up there made her feel more 'abandoned' iyswim.

roadwalker Tue 29-Apr-14 19:43:08

I have done a lot of co-sleeping because I really wanted her to feel secure so I am useless for bedtime advice
As your DS settles after you have gone I would avoid prolonged goodbyes. Distraction worked for my DD. Her key worker would run her through to the main nursery room to race me and I would wave and blow kisses
Sometimes she met us outside, for some reason DD walking in with her key worker reduced her distress
Look at the layout of the nursery and talk to the staff to see if there is a different way you can do the drop off

namechangesforthehardstuff Tue 29-Apr-14 20:23:38

No idea of this will be helpful in any way. We are in the process of being approved for an ac to join our family but have bd 3.11 and I am, right now, lying next to her to get her to sleep. I'm not sure when enough will be enough but it's not yet for us and DD isn't adopted...

flightywoman Tue 29-Apr-14 20:27:33

When our daughter came to us everything we'd read said that of all the stuff that was tricky - food, clothes, hyper-vigilance etc etc - sleep was the one constant that was fine and dandy.

And it was. For about 2 or 3 weeks.

It went from kiss goodnight, lights out, us leaving the room to calling us up and downstairs for hours on end, us being constantly aware "has she woken up?".

Then it went into full scale tantrums for an hour at best and up to three hours.

It was terrible.

In the end I just decided to sit with her while she went to sleep.

That worked for a while.

Then I had to sit on the bed next to her. That worked for a while.

Then I had to stroke her back. That worked for a while.

Eventually we have got to a place where either one of us can sit on the floor with her, she has her lullaby CD and drops off. It can be 5 minutes, it can be 30, but it's calm and peaceful.

And I generally read my Kindle or do stuff on my phone.

If she wakes in the night, which is rare, she can self-settle so it's in there somewhere, but right now she can't go to first sleep on her own. It's been like this for about 12 months and I'd rather have 30 minutes of quiet than an evening of screaming. It probably won't be for ever.

64x32x24 Tue 29-Apr-14 21:43:04

I'd like to say two things, but I am not yet an adopter so please feel free to ignore if it doesn't sound right.

The first is about the sleeping. I feel there is a lot of pressure, for adopted and non-adopted children equally, to somehow 'make' them into good sleepers. There is a sense that if your child needs your help to go to sleep, you are doing something wrong. If you give your child what they need, you are making a rod for your own back.
I feel it is worth taking a step back and asking yourself, WHY are you not content with how DC has been going to sleep until now? I know some people think we are spoiling DS, by sitting by his bed until he is asleep. They say 'but how will he ever learn'. They say 'you won't be able to keep doing this when DC2 arrives, so you'd better teach him sooner than later.' But we are happy the way things are. Bedtime is a doodle, PLUS I get some time to just chill with my phone/tablet/kindle (although to be honest it rarely takes more than 10 minutes, but sometimes I just stay put because the chapter is too interesting!).
Sometimes we suggest to DS that we could change things, and sometimes we try things differently per force (such as when on holiday) but overall we'd much rather have calm, content evenings, than regular battles over bedtime.

The other thing is about the play school. It just happens that yesterday my (birth) DS disclosed to me how he used to be terribly sad, and how he used to scream and cry, and try to run after me, when I dropped him off at nursery school. Talking about this, he had tears in his eyes.
This was exactly a year ago, when he first started there. It was difficult, he didn't like being left, and at times 'had to be peeled off me' as you put it. Every time, the staff called me about 15 minutes later saying that he was fine now. After about 3 or 4 weeks it became easier, and now he is very well settled there. The difficult start is soon forgotten, right?
Except apparently it isn't. It has stayed with my DS and at 3.5, he still remembers the distress he felt at 2.5.
Yes his behaviour changed to 'fine' soon after I had left, but wouldn't that be simply because he had learned that he couldn't change anything, that his distress was not being addressed, didn't he simply learn to bottle up his distress?
This with a BC with no apparent special needs or anything.
It left me heavy hearted I admit. Obviously it will not apply to every child in every situation, but I have promised myself that for any future child of ours, I will trust my instincts more and won't be pressured into 'having him peeled off me' or 'just go, it's the best, you're just prolonging the stress by not leaving'.

Kewcumber Tue 29-Apr-14 22:13:56

DS is now 8 and not too bad a sleeper so perhaps I should start by saying say that this too shall pass!

DS seemed pretty well attached to me but always suffered terribly form separation anxiety. And going to sleep is a separation - I'm not sure that its you not staying with him at bedtime thats causing the difficulty separating at nursery but just that are both symptoms of separation anxiety.

I don;t think you need to worry too much about whether this is an adoption issue or not - sure birth children can suffer from separation anxiety too. The difference is that adopted children know that permanent separation and loss is their reality even if they can;t articulate that and even when they are well attached to you they still fear separation because they've already experienced it (probably several times).

My advice (for you to freely ignore if it doesn;t work!):

1 - read Elizabeth Pantleys book No Cry Sleep solutions (or simialr (she does one for toddler I think) - IME its the only sleep book which is remotely suitable for children who have suffered real loss and pretty much gives to permission to chill out and do whatever works for you all.
2 - stay with him until he's asleep if he needs it - I actually used to sit and hold DS's hand until he was asleep at one point (probably around this age), I didn't move on to gradual withdrawal until after that stage.
3 - very long slow bedtime routine, lots of bonding over bath, lots of stories, music in the dark with you staying.
4 - DS always understood that he could get into bed with me if he woke up. This went on for years and sometimes he'd shoot into my bed in the middle of the night like the hounds of hell were after him. HE really hated waking up on his own, it scares him. I needed to give him permission to get in with me which bizarrely improved things for us both!
5 - I used to say good bye to him 4 or 5 times at nursery until he was happy for me to leave, I only left him once or twice crying in teh whole 18 months. I used to let him control when he was ready for me to go. We had a routine where I would say - "Pick you up in 3 hours" and he used to say "yes you come back in 3 hours". He did this for years even for the first year at school. It might also help if you give him something of yours to look after in his pocket whilst he's at nursery.

I should say that DS came to me at 13 months and his sleep problems started improving when he was about 6 and now at 8 he can go to bed in his own bed and stay there all night and although we still do bedtime stories and had a bedtime routine lying in my bed (I'm not getting up into a bunk bed!) and go to sleep on his own. But as soon as he gets anxious about anything its his sleep with goes to pot first.

Sorry thats a bit of an essay but I think your DH is being naive if he thinks "enough is enough"! Unfortunately that not something you get to decide (as you've discovered. A year or two more persistence in being patient isn;t the end of the world... as I said this too shall pass.

MerryInthechelseahotel Tue 29-Apr-14 23:25:47

Imagine if you were feeling very vulnerable and anxious, and someone sat and held your hand until you went to sleep, how loved and cherished you would feel.

Remember everything is a phase

disneygirl10 Wed 30-Apr-14 06:39:18

Well last night was better stayed with him and he was a lot more relaxedsmile
I had another chat with dh, he agrees with me now that it is definitely best for ds that we stay with him until goes to sleep.
I think he feel bad for dd as it takes time away from her in the evening. But then again spending an hour going up and down the stairs isn't any better and gets everyone stressed.
Ds isn't going to playschool until Friday but I my mum takes him as I am at work,fingers crossed he will feel a bit better about it. I will update you next week about playschool.
Thanks everyone

Kewcumber Wed 30-Apr-14 09:17:46

Is your DH not around at bedtime? Can't you each so one bedtime and alternate it?

disneygirl10 Wed 30-Apr-14 14:52:37

Yes he is usually about, I work 2 evenings so he does at least 3 bedtimes. I don't mind staying with him but could just do with a few hrs in the day!

disneygirl10 Sat 03-May-14 19:00:28

Bedtimes have been good. One of us have been lying with him until he drops offsmile
Playschool not so good my mum took him friday as I was at work and he criedsad
Feeling generally crap i had a argument with older dd today about clothes shopping of all the stupid things!! serious need of a holiday.

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