Tips for getting 'night owl' 7 YO to go to sleep?

(4 Posts)
OptimisticKate Tue 02-Sep-14 23:21:45

I'm finding bedtimes very challenging with my very bright and very determined Year Two daughter. She has amazing night owl evening energy - was still going at 10.45pm last night in spite of me starting calming bedtime routine at 6pm!
A very good sleeper as a baby, she needed 12 hours until she was a toddler. She still sleeps through once she does fall asleep, and unusually she will carry on sleeping for at least 9 hours, however late she falls asleep (so I know I'm lucky compared to plenty of parents!!)
I find if I go to bed with her at 9.30pm or so, she will be calm and fall asleep alongside me. (I try to do this at least once a week for the sake of my sanity). But if I attempt to have a normal evening and she knows I'm still up, she will be calling me with an endless list of problems to solve for hours. Offering rewards (sticker charts leading to special treats etc) for staying calm in bed helps, if I'm creative enough to make them something she cares about.
But often I'm too knackered and just get cross with her, which works in the end but only after I've got myself really stressed out.
And yet when she stayed at my mum's on Sat she was asleep by 8.30pm... grrrr.
Her typical routine is dinner at 6pm and bath (with her younger sister) by 7pm. Then I usually let her watch DVDs or play CBBC games for the 40 minutes or so it takes me to settle her little sister. Then I read to her for half an hour or so (we both love this time). She can read to herself but is too tired at night. Then we have 10 minutes or so of 'cuddle time' in the dark. Because she doesn't want to lose out on being read to or cuddle time, she's usually reasonably well behaved up to this point. Then as soon as I get up to leave, the dramas begin.
Would really value any ideas or thoughts?! Thanks so much.

Goldmandra Tue 02-Sep-14 23:43:46

You could try telling her you will be back in five minutes to check on her and will sort out any burning issues, drinks, tucking in, dramas, etc at that point. By doing this you take away her control over when you return but you have to be consistent.

Once you've established that she saves up any needs until you reappear after five minutes, you can gradually extend the time she has to wait so that she eventually starts falling asleep waiting.

Also audiobooks are a good way to keep a busy brain focussed while sleep is taking over.

Eva50 Fri 05-Sep-14 19:44:21

Ds3 (8) was like this a couple of years ago. We used to read, sing and have a cuddle on my bed and then when I put him through to his bed he couldn't settle. I started letting him fall asleep in my bed and putting him through when I went up. If he got up from my bed or shouted me without good reason then he got put through to his own bed. He quickly started to settle to sleep really quickly in my bed.

Eventually I started putting him to his own bed during the week and saying that if he settled quickly he could go in my bed at the weekend. He soon just started going to his every night and he normally reads for a while and settles himself now (which is just as well as he is so tall now I wouldn't be able to carry him through).

I would never have done this with ds1 or ds2 because I would have thought they should be going to their own beds. I am so much older and more tired chilled now and really pick my battles.

GoAndDoSomeWork Sun 07-Sep-14 15:34:43

Letting her watch a DVD/ play on cbeebies so late in the day probably isn't helping - it seems to wake my dd up and I think there is some research regarding the effect of the light emmitted by screens on sleep. Can you get her to have some quiet time either reading to herself or playing with a non electronic toy while your settling your other child? Also are you able to let her read to herself for half an hour after you've finished stories without disrupting your other dd? My dd is a night owl too - we aim for lights out by 9:00 at the latest and preferably by 8:30. Any earlier and we get the repeat appearances downstairs until much later.

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