Reward chart - no sticker if DD wakes me up with a nightmare??

(24 Posts)
bella20092013 Wed 23-Oct-13 09:58:51

My DD is nearly 4, since she went in a bed at 18 months old she has come into our bed halfway through the night and gone back to sleep with us. She is now so big and wriggly that me and DP are not getting much sleep. We have started a reward chart for her to stay in bed until the morning alarm goes off and for the first couple of weeks it has worked she has slept through the night to get a sticker. Then she started waking with nightmares up to 4 times a night, she is upset in the morning because she didn't stay in bed and get a sticker. I feel unreasonable for not giving her a sticker if she has a nightmare, but she is either having a nightmare or waking up for a hug every night for nearly a month now. How are sticker charts for staying in bed supposed to work if they have a nightmare, need a wee, are poorly, if it is genuine but nearly every night?? I feel a meaney for not giving her a sticker but if i did it would defeat the object. Any advice?

WilsonFrickett Wed 23-Oct-13 10:01:31

She still gets a sticker if she goes back to her own bed after whatever it was - nightmare, wee, feeling poorly, whatever.

KellyElly Wed 23-Oct-13 10:03:38

I wouldn't not give a sticker for waking up from a nightmare as that if punishing for something they have no control over. Also I would imagine a lot of kids at that age need wees in the night. Have you tried getting her to go for a wee when you go to bed?

curlyhairedmummy Wed 23-Oct-13 10:04:56

I second WilsonFrickett's suggestion. I use reward charts too and as long as my DD settles back into her own bed after nightmare/toilet etc then she still gets her star. Good luck

FrightRider Wed 23-Oct-13 10:07:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bella20092013 Wed 23-Oct-13 10:09:13

Oh right that's how it works! Thanks guys!! I was letting her get in our bed after the nightmare as she shakes like a little leaf and then in the morning she asks for her sticker and I say no and then feel awful!! That makes sense to settle her back in her own bed and then get a sticker if she stays there. I am so glad I posted now I was doing it all wrong, I feel really bad, poor DD. The only problem is she wakes me about 4 times a night with nightmares about spiders, flies, mice etc, it is killing me, I don't know what is worse, getting up 4 times a night or having her kick me in the back all night when she was in with us!!

mrsjay Wed 23-Oct-13 10:13:00

he still gets a sticker if she goes back to her own bed after whatever it was - nightmare, wee, feeling poorly, whatever.

^ ^ is what i was going to say as long as she goes back to her own bed then she can get a sticker wouldn't punish her for being scared of her dream

Jinty64 Wed 23-Oct-13 10:19:16

The nightmare thing is a phase. It will pass. I have 3 ds's and they have all Done this at some time. Ds3 (7) is having an "I'm frightened" phase at the moment. I know sometimes he will use it to his advantage but I also know it won't last for ever.

WilsonFrickett Wed 23-Oct-13 10:26:25

DS 8 is in a nightmare phase as well. He can come in for a cuddle until he's calmed down, and I spend more time settling him back to bed than I normally would, but I still don't let him sleep in our bed because he is a gigantic flaily starfish sleeper

bella20092013 Wed 23-Oct-13 11:30:38

How do I go about changing what I was doing, she might be confused, do
I just explain that she can have a sticker if she goes back to bed after a bad dream? I feel bad as I'm always confusing her as I feel like I'm winging it with everything! At least DD2 who is 4 months will benefit from my gained experience but I feel bad for DD1 as I'm always changing the rules when I find a better way of doing things!

KellyElly Wed 23-Oct-13 11:42:48

Yes, just be honest. Same as if you get cross for no reason you would say sorry. I think it's good for children to learn that if you are doing something that isn't working then you change it. And don't feel bad. You sound like a great mum smile

mrsjay Wed 23-Oct-13 13:14:28

bella we all wing it lovey grin

and what kelly said just apologise to her and say this is how we are going to work it,

Beastofburden Wed 23-Oct-13 13:17:55

Nightmares do pass but have you tried a nice warm cup of Ovaltine at bedtime? it is soporific enough to put them out and as it is vaguely chocolatey it is not as blurgh as Horlicks. Children will (just about) believe it is Malteaser Flavour.

FoxMulder Wed 23-Oct-13 13:24:45

Oh I remember this from when I was a kid! I had a reward chart for staying in bed, but I would always wake up and sneak into mum & dad's bed under the pretence that I had 'had a nightmare'. It was always the same one too (that a witch was chasing me). I don't know why they never twigged. I think because they were too half asleep to send me back to bed grin

Not saying this is what you DD is doing, it just reminded me!

just say ""oooh there is a way you can get your sticker if you have a bad dream
..."

Give her an incentive and make it seem exciting

Rosa Wed 23-Oct-13 13:56:26

Try also a really soppy nice story before bed with flaps to open or asking her to use her imagination about being the princess in the story or the lucky girl that chooses the toy in the toy shop.
It helped my DD2 also we were sent a dream catcher from a friend in the USA I am sure it helped with the nightmares.

bella20092013 Thu 24-Oct-13 20:26:54

Thanks for the help guys! I felt much more reasonable this morning, DD woke twice with Spider nightmares, I settled her back in her bed which only took about 2 minutes each time, and she got her chocolate when her alarm went off in the morning smile

SuperiorCat Thu 24-Oct-13 20:33:46

Ok I am mean, but when I thought DD might be exaggerating her nightmares, then she could come in for a cuddle, but I stayed in bed and she had to take herself back off to bed and got rewarded for that.

Now when she genuinely does have a nightmare etc she still comes for a cuddle and still takes herself back off without needing me to settle her - obviously if she was distressed and needed me to settle her then I would, but if she doesn't then I don't.

I second the dream catcher. Works a treat with mine. Or "anti bad dream spray" (water. Touch of perfume. Sprayed in the room at bedtime).

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Oct-13 22:51:04

My dc have never been in our bed at all, what I would do is return her to her bed every time she wakes up and comes into your room.
I would keep rewards out of it all together.
I had lots of night mares as a child and its normal but very frightening for the poor things.
Comfort, and put back to own bed, imo.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Oct-13 22:52:49

Sorry meant to add, id she thinks of it as rewarding good behaviour then she will associate nightmares as bad behaviour and won't seek the comfort she needs. I'm sure you'd rather comfort than have her lying awake scared.

NoComet Thu 24-Oct-13 23:13:18

DD1 said her dream catcher was broken, it caught mice dreams and let nasty ones through. Fortunately she isn't one for many bad dreams. Possibly because she's she has always refused to go to bed until quite late and then sleeps very easily.

DD2 went through a long phase of bad dreams and what helped most was telling her to tell herself a nice story, so she fell asleep riding the white horse on her poster or some thing similar.

Oh and banning the word tiger from ever being said near DD2 after 4pm.

NoComet Thu 24-Oct-13 23:14:47

mice dreams, no I don't want mice dreams, there should be enough poison down to prevent those.

bluebizzy Thu 24-Oct-13 23:32:56

I still nightmare (at 41) and always have nightmared if i get too hot at night. I still see spiders and things on/or at the bottom of the bed! And it seems as though my DD is going to be the same as me. You could check shes not getting too hot, could be a cause.

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