Bedtime shenanigans - who is right, us or DD?(50 Posts)
We’re trying to get DD(12) in bed at a decent time at the moment as she’s a complete pain in the backside at going to bed at a reasonable time. She always has been since she was born.
She reads in bed for ages every night but when we tell her to turn her light off at 9pm, she has a myriad of excuses why she can’t; needs to finish the chapter, has to feed the gerbils, needs to go to the toilet. We give her a 15 minute warning to do these things, then a 5 minute warning, but then there’s a lot a messing around which can go on until after 10pm. This is annoying for us as we can’t settle, watch
Homeland telly and if we don’t keep on top of it and keep telling her to go to bed, she’d still be awake until after we went to bed. This is an issue because we have to peel her out of bed in the morning and she does suffer from the lack of sleep.
So… inspired by Divas and Doorslammers, we are removing a minute from the following night’s reading time for each minute she messes around after she’s been told to turn her light off. But I’ve got myself a bit confused with the logistics of this.
For example, with this sanction in mind, on Tuesday night she messed around and finally settled at 9.21pm. So she was told she would have to turn her light off at 8.39pm on Wednesday night.
Last night she put up a lot of resistance to this and whilst she wasn’t able to read from 8.39pm last night, we had to remove the light from her room as she kept turning it back on and she still messed around and finally settled at 9.12pm.
She says she should only lose 12 minutes of reading time tonight as her lights off time is usually 9pm. But we say she should lose 33 minutes as she was supposed to settle at 8.39pm and didn’t.
Which one do you think?
DD is a master of loophole finding and maximising situations to her advantage, so whilst on the one hand we’re fairly happy to go with her method as she has agreed to it, we have a sneaking suspicion that she has found a loophole that means she’s not as penalised as we think she is. But then we can’t work out if that matters as last night she did settle at 9.12pm compared to 9.21pm the previous night.
Help! Who is right, us or DD?
a bit more
YOU are right. But, that girl is going to go far
I would tell her though, that if you have to turn her light off tonight you will be removing all of the lights from her room until she can behave. Get tough.
I would get all of her lights and electricals connected to a single fuse in the control panel, then at 8.45 she gets warned that lights out is 9pm and at 9pm flcik the switch and plnuge her room into darkness...... ; )
Mind you, by the sound of it, she'd probably just stock candles under her bed. lol.
Could you not just tell her that at 9pm you want ehr in her room and not to disturb you guys again and then she casn read and stuff till she wants? she'll soon sort herself i would think when she's tired all the time.
DD is right, you are on a total hiding to nothing trying to reinforce a 9pm lights out on a 12y.
DD1 and me would tolerate midnight, DD2 who gets up earlier sometime between 10.30 and 11pm.
Scouts and gymnastics don't even get home until 9.
Seriously you are trying to win an undeniable battle, don't try.
It will end in rears - yours
Does she generally do as asked? Is it just around bedtimes?
Personally I think you are right, as it is each minute she messes about that is taken off. How about offering a 10 o'clock bedtime on Friday if she manages to be settled by 9 every night on the school days. Or, change the deadline to 9.15, but no loopholes.
Honestly it's plain cruel to make her lie in the dark doing nothing.
You can't make her sleep, you can't do anything about the hormones that make teens want to stay up late and be horrible in the morning.
Even, crack of dawn DD2 sleeps in sometimes now she's 12.
You've been fighting her to bed all her life?
Perhaps the poor child's trying to tell you something - leave her alone, let her learn to judge when she is tired.
Seriously ease off and in the Christmas holidays let her have far more freedom, she needs to learn when she is tired.
Senior school children need space to unwind and escape, didn't you ever stick your head into a book until 1am and forget everything, I sure as he'll did.
I agree with some of this, but sleep deprivation is chronic in our society. Saying, "leave it up to her to judge" is a bit silly as we all go to bed too late sometimes left to our own devices, and don't function well the next day. I don't think pre-teens have the maturity and self control to go to bed when they need to, personally. However, if she is lying awake for ages after the lights are out, then the agreed bedtime needs to be later. If she is going to sleep within 10-15 minutes then it's fine.
You are right - guess it depends whether you think that her method is more likely to gain her compliance. Your post reads like this has been going on a while, so I would be tempted to enforce it strictly. (I generally like to encourage negotiation, but not on the back of sustained mucking about.)
It could get silly though if it takes a while for her to comply. Maybe you could take 30 minutes off tonight, and carry the remaining 3 over till Friday night - I imagine that it will be harder for her to go to sleep if lights out gets too early.
Oh, and I disagree with the "let her realise when she's tired" thing - I'm a night owl, get a second wind, stay up past midnight, and then can't get up in the morning. I have to discipline myself to go to bed at a sensible time (mostly). Fine to give her free rein in the holidays, but not on a school night. Although you could maybe offer her the carrot that once she's proved she can switch the light off as instructed, you'll move bedtime gradually later as long as it doesn't make her tired in the morning?
I think you need to be more flexible and give her a later bedtime.
I have three DSes and they all need different amounts of sleep. Ds1 needs the least, and rather than fight every night we agreed to a time he would be in bed - around 9.30 at this age - but he was allowed to read until he was tired as long as he stayed in bed. (He's now 17 and normally takes himself off about 11.30, he just doesn't need a lot of sleep)
Ds3 aged 13 goes to bed at 9.30 and falls asleep immediately. Much to his annoyance he does need a lot of sleep.
I agree with Starballbunny
As a child I was forced to lie in bed for hours with the light off, and I simply couldn't sleep. It was horrible, it was boring, and I resented my parents for it.
I would recommend just leaving her to it - if she has a week of feeling horrible because she's not had enough sleep, then that's her shout. (even though you have to deal with it)
It's an important skill to have, to know when to go to sleep, but it's something she has to learn for herself.
I was your DD! I just couldn't go to sleep at that age. If I had to lie in the dark, I would just stay awake and be miserable all night. Even now, I have to read and read until I feel my eyes start to droop, and only then can I go to sleep.
I think 9 is far to early for lights out. How about in bed at 9 with no tv or electronic devices, and then she has an hour to read quietly, and aim to turn the light off at 10?
It is utter madness to allow a 12 year old to decide when they are 'tired', it's no wonder so many children are too tired to function properly at school. She clearly does not need a later bedtime either as she is tired and having to be dragged out of bed in the mornings. What she needs is parental discipline to ensure she is getting enough sleep - she is a child.
9 o'clock is not 'too early' for a 12 year old. 10 o'clock is far too late - especially for a child who is not waking naturally in the morning. Honestly, it is no wonder teachers are struggling with tired children.
Removing the fuse from the fuse box that covers her room will put an end to arguments.
Yesterday DD got the bus home from school as she forgot I pick her up on Wednesdays. Her excuse for this was that she was tired and forgot what day of the week it was. The lack of sleep does affect her and whilst she might be a night owl, she needs to go to sleep at a good time.
She was at a friend's last weekend and went to sleep at 1am on Friday night and 11.30pm on Saturday. So we are also trying to help her catch up from that. She can't cope with a different sleep time at the weekend though, we have already tried that and we spend the whole week trying to re-establish the weekday routine.
She does have mild ASD traits and we have always had sleep issues with her. She is fixated on the lights off time of 9pm to the point of refusing to turn it off any earlier, but not enough to not turn it off later. She genuinely does not see the connection between going to sleep at night and being tired all day. She sees the tireness as being the result of having to get up early for school, not because she has gone to sleep late.
I also remember lying in bed not being able to sleep and I also would have read until the sun came up if I'd been allowed, so I do understand. But I am not being cruel and 9pm is not too early for her. She's just started y7 so just turned 12 and when she settles, she goes to sleep.
We are tackling other behaviour problems at the moment as well, but we think lack of sleep is at the root of them all so concentrating on that at the moment. When she's not tired, she's lovely. We have sorted out everything that prevents her from going to sleep, but now we are just working on making sure that happens at a reasonable time.
I'd be saying that if she can get up for a full week on time, then she can have her lights off at 9:05. But her lights would be turned off by me at 9pm sharp. No excuses. You need to reinforce the connection.
Well, that changes my response a little, it would have been helpful to have known that from the outset.
Given her ASD traits, I would tell her that lights out will be 8.30 as she is unable to follow the rules (getting up for xyz after 'lights out') but that if she can show you that she can follow the rules it will be changed to 9.
Tell her that it is your job as her parent to look after her and that part of that is making sure she gets enough sleep. Being very focussed on the 'rules' and not her behaviour should help.
Have you has a diagnosis for her? I think you could potentially look into that.
Also, does she fall asleep once the lights are out?
How about you say 8.45 end if reading, then 9 to be in bed with lights out.
I have similar issues with dd who is dx ASD and struggles to sleep at night and get up. We actually go up to her room to supervise and make sure she gets things done, then turn lights out and I even lie next to her and calm things down so she is more relaxed.
I think you need to e a bit more hands on not just call up. If she is on the spectrum then she won't have the same amount of self control that you should expect of other kids her age.
Sorry. I didn't mention it before as it's hard to know when it's the reason for the behaviour or an excuse for it. But it does explain her difficulty with sleep in general.
She's been query ASD since nursery with EP assessments at the end of each key stage but we've never pushed for a dx. We (& the teachers) just use the knowledge to inform strategies for dealing with her or managing behaviour.
The minute sanction for each minute of messing around is an attempt to give her an incentive to actually settle at the right time. Otherwise it just drags on and on and before you know it an hour has passed. The actual time is irrelevant, I feel, as whatever we move it to just means a new time for the the faffing to start.
We wondered if it was attention seeking as we spend a lot of our evenings getting her into bed and dealing with her many requests or making sure she has got back into bed after going to the loo etc. So we tried to back off and keep the involvement to a minimum, other than reinforcing the times.
I think allowing a 12 year old to decide when bed time is and what time she goes to sleep is ridiculous!! She's 12 for heaven's sake.
OP - is there anything you could do to help her relax and make bed time nicer? Can you spend some cuddly one on one time with her, in her room at bed time so she comes to enjoy it? Could you read to her (never too old to be read to), or perhaps give her some audio books to listen to while she drifts off?
And maybe work with her backwards from the time you;re real final deadline is for lights out/sleep time (say 9.30) and do a little timetable for getting all the other things done before then?
Y7 is tiring, but it's not the sort of tiredness that's cured simply by more sleep.
It's the stress based kind of tiredness caused by too many new things all at once, too many things to remember.
DD2 copes with it by demanding hugs and doing gymnastics for hours at a time on the trampoline.
DD1 reads and draws occasionally.
Many MNers drink wine, DH buries had in technical greekery that no normal person would feel relaxing. I read, watch TV or MN.
In the end Y7 tiredness is cured by becoming a Y8, ie it gets better when it isn't all new.
I suspect that's even more true for your DD if she has ADD routine liking tendencies, it certainly has been for order preferring DD2'S.
Can you do a list of things that need to be done, such as feed pets, go to toilet etc. then she has to check that she has done everything before getting into bed to read. Then turning out lights is the absolute last thing.
We so this, and often one if us sits with her as we say do you need water, the toilet, have you out yours ckothes away etc. when everything is done she can get into bed to read. If she spends too long faffing then there is less reading time. So she faffs first from about 8.30, then has reading time with lights out at 9.30.
If she appears after that there is a non emotional response so she gets water and us told to go to bed. I become like a robot. Yes you may go to the toilet now go straight to bed. If she really can't sleep then she gets to read for 15 minutes then lights out.
We have tried all that kickass. There's always a reason for getting up again.
What I can't work out is if she was supposed to settle at 8.39pm last night, but settled at 9.12pm, how much comes off her reading time tonight?
a) 12 mins - DD says the period from 9-9.12pm is the important bit as she has already had the 21 minute penalty where she couldn't read.
b) 33 mins - We say it was the period 8.39-9.12pm where she didn't settle (and didn't follow the rule).
Using b) if she hadn't made a fuss, she could have settled straight away and been back at 9pm tonight and had all her reading time.
But with a) she could still have messed around for 21 minutes last night (albeit not reading) and not lost any reading time tonight. But then in either case she would have still been settled for 9pm tonight, which is the goal at the end of it anyway.
I know it probably seems like we're overcomplicating it, but we've been caught out before and we can't change the rules halfway through when we realise we've got it wrong.
My ds is 10 and has an ASD and after years of bedtime palaver I resorted to self-regulation. The agreement is so long as he stays in his room, except for toilet, he doesn't call us or bother us unless it is an emergency, and that he's not noisy, he can stay up as long as he needs. I did start this at the beginning of a summer holidays and he did stay up until gone midnight for a few weeks. Since then he turns his light off anytime between 8 and 10.30 at the very latest. It has made life so much easier
I think if you want her in bed for nine and she went 12 minutes over then 12 minutes should come off.
I have a 12-year-old who also faffs around at bedtime so I am reading this thread with interest (attempts watch Homeland struck a chord ). We also aim for in bed at 9pm - so all faffing (teeth cleaning, getting a drink, packing schoolbag) has to be completed by that time. I am, however, happy for her to read quietly in bed after that as I could never get to sleep without reading first. I do slightly agree with Starballbunny, some days she isn't home from school until 6pm and usually has lots of homework so I think it is fair enough that she needs to unwind before she goes to sleep, but I don't think an open ended bedtime is the answer. I prefer to aim for in bed and quiet at 9 (sometimes it's a bit later) and then calm, sleep inducing reading after that. Trying to nail her to precisely 9pm would be self-defeating for everyone - we'd be up and down stairs checking light was off (so couldn't watch Homeland) and she'd be back to square one in terms of settling every time we came up.
Just saw your post Poltergoose - very succinctly put. I think it is the requirement of quiet, non-interaction that does the trick - it enables the child to realise that they are tired. Constant nagging about putting the light off only steels the resolve to stay awake longer!
I had a 7pm bedtime until I was a teen then it got moved to 8.30pm with a LOT of arguing, and I was expected to sleep, or at least lights off/no reading/no getting up from them, regardless if I was tired or not.
As an adult, my sleep is shocking. I often can't cope on less then 9hrs solid sleep, and regularly sleep 12 hours+ in a chunk if I can. I still "rebel" when tired and will fight sleep until 2,3am and then struggle to get up, or I swing into total insomnia and have days where I can't sleep. I honestly blame my mum for this - I was never allowed to "learn" when I was tired
Have you tried audio books? Lying in bed in the dark not sleeping is awful. Lying in bed in the dark listening to an audio book is lovely.
I have a 12 year old, by the way, and I do my best to have him asleep by 9.30 at the latest. He has a very full on life and needs to be asleep by then. Can't believe the 12.00 people!
To my 9yo DS bed is a mortal enemy. He says he hates sleeping.
The only thing that works is when everybody in the house goes to bed together. Because he certainly can't sleep if anybody else is running around, or heavens forbid, having fun.
I'd be happy if he was staying up reading, but he doesn't like to read
To answer the specific question, you should probably go with 12 minutes, otherwise it might get a bit absurd within a few days. Say you take 33 mins and she messes about until 9.20pm because she's just not tired, you'll be turning the lights off at 8.07pm tomorrow night and so on.
We're being much stricter than before with our reception age DC because of getting up early for school. But I am pretty happy that bedtime has gone in the right general direction as a result, than the specific minute the lights go off. Sounds like you are too from your last paragraph. But stay firm with the 9pm... give them an inch and they'll take a mile
I have gone with 12 mins as DD seems to be able to understand the connection between that and what's coming off her reading time. So lights out tonight at 8.48pm.
She is currently wafting around the house and seems unconcerned that her light's going out in 15 minutes and she hasn't started reading yet.
Next thing she will be doing is take a flashlight to bed.
Do you ever use a timer for her? e.g. set it to 30 mins at 8.30, so she can see the minutes ticking by?
We do that sometimes leading up to bed time, or often for homework, so she gets more sense of how long she has for things. Time is a very subjective and slippery thing, even for very organized people.
She doesn't like time counting down. She gets worked up by it and it detracts from what she's supposed to be doing. But she doesn't have a very good concept of time, so we are trying to make her aware by seeing the connection between the time she goes over and what will come off the next day.
Last night, she turned her light off at 8.48pm. Much fuss and tantrums. I had to remove the lamp again and then she went quiet. I went to check on her and she was reading by the light from the landing. But because I'd checked on her at 9, she didn't go over her normal bedtime so according the new rules, she hasn't lost any reading time tonight. And then she went to sleep.
We didn't know how to deal with her reading when she wasn't supposed to, even though she did actually go to sleep at 9pm anyway, which was the goal. Because it was disobedient and against the rules. So we decided to let her have all her reading time tonight (because she went to sleep at 9) but she lost her DS for the evening as the consequence for the disobedience.
It just gets so complicated and you can see why we try to have a crystal ball to allow for all the eventualities.
I go to bed at 9pm usually, 9:30 at weekends sometimes but the last two weeks 8:30 due to illness. I cannot imagine letting our kids stay up till the same time or later than me- as it is I only get 30 minutes after our child is in bed before I go to bed myself. I guess of depends what time you get up though. We are up eating breakfast at 6.
Can she gain an extra 5 mins for Fri night for each weekday she is in bed with lights out etc at 9? So there is an incentive as well as a punishment?
Sounds like you are doing OK
Babe, get real - if you set up a situation of minutes here and minutes there you have put in place something which can be negotiated - traded almost - what a farce. Who is in charge here ?
At 12yrs bedtime should not be a negotiation of any kind. But OF COURSE any canny twelve year old will negotiate ruthlessly if the chance to do that is offered. Cut out the nonsense of buying and selling minutes and just set a strict no bullshit bedtime.
The sanction if there is any fuss at bedtime is "no Tv for a week" or no (whatever she goes for - PSP, Nintendo, Barbie videos on the computer - whatever).
"Fuck me around at bedtime and you lose out BIG TIME" is something that children VERY quickly come to understand if you use (and stick by) the sanction only once or twice.
Bedtime crap can be cured over TWO nights with a ruthless and completely strict approach. It doesn't turn you into EVIL MUMMY - it makes you in to what you wanted to be before this nonsense started - a good parent who has her the in bed at the right time every night (which is good for them).
It's wise to include a twelve year old in family decisions, to make her feel like she is growing up and turning into something other than a child - to make her that her opinion counts and that she has a role in the world which is bigger than "just do as you're told".
But bedtime is not and cannot be part of these conversations. Because that's an area where the adults in the house must have an absolute authority (and that's a very short conversation that can be had)...
Good luck with a canny twelve year old but remember, you are not in partnership with your children, you are leading them and although the crown sometimes sits heavy, you ARE in charge.
A couple of things spring to mind ...No idea if they will work but?
If she is so bad at getting up in the morning, and you want to do the minutes thing, can you do it then? 'Oh you're obviously tired, so given that its taken you 10 minutes to get out if bed, you'll be going to bed 20 minutes earlier this evening'
The second is a compromise... If she stays in bed (no feeding the gerbil/sorting out stuff) then she is allowed ?10 minutes reading time, but if she sets foot out of bed, lights off?
Difficulty falling asleep is a big problem for kids with ASD. My son also has problems. He just can't seem to switch off at night and he complains a lot that he can't sleep. To be honest I had problems when I was a kid too. I always had dark circles under my eyes from lack of sleep.
With my son we have had to have a strict no electronics policy after dinner. No TV, no games. Routine is really necessary. Before bed he has a drink, he brushes his teeth, goes for a wee and has a story, so there are no excuses for him to get up again.
I think you will have more luck with looking for strategies for kids with ASD as the problems are quite specific.
At twelve I went to bed at ten because of a hobby. Bed by nine with time to wind down in her own time sounds lovely (cf swimming eighty lengths before bed!) I'd leave her to it.
Mini, completely agree, of course I only have a 3yr old and a 7 yr old,and they are challenging enough.
Obviously everyone has their own methods for dealing with unwanted behaviour and for eliciting the desired behaviour. Some are saying let her choose her own bedtime, you can't make her do anything, you're cruel. And some are saying put your foot down you pansy.
I absolutely take on board that we should look at techniques for ASD as we had a supernanny type person working with us when DD was younger to help sort out her behaviour and sleep, and she admitted defeat and couldn't make any difference at all. So we sort of have an idea now what DD does and doesn't respond to. And DS is so much more textbook and I can see how any of what has been suggested might work with him.
This particular method was suggested in Divas and Door slammers for hard cases, which DD is, and there was something about it that made us feel DD would respond well to it. I think it's the point that there is always something for her to gain by settling down, whatever the time is. We used to get caught in a situation where eventually she'd got the punishment (ie lost telly the next day) and therefore she'd may as well keep doing the crime,. So then we'd have to either give her a second punishment or give her an incentive to settle by rescinding the punishment if she went to bed. Then of course she'd have messed about for an hour with essentially no consequence.
But now it's still always worth her while to stop messing about and there's a direct relationship between the time she wastes and what she loses from her reading time. I think she recognises that she's borrowing time from the following evening and that it's only her that's missing out.
It seems to be working so far. She feels she has control over the outcome, by turning her light off at the time we've set. Since she managed to get it back to 9pm on Friday night, she's managed not to lose any reading time and has settled every night. And she's not lying awake for hours. She has been a lot happier for it and I wonder if she doesn't realise herself that she feels better for getting more sleep.
But we mustn't get complacent as that's when she spies a chink in the armour and it all goes pear-shaped. The goal is that we stop in 30 days (says the book) and then just say that we hope she can now regulate her own bedtimes as she can see what a difference more sleep makes, but that if she starts messing around again, we'll revert to this method. Because I don't want to be standing in her room every night at 9pm and I understand that ultimately she needs to be able to do it herself.
We have decided that next weekend she can earn some extra reading time at weekends if she's been able to stay at 9pm all week. We haven't told her this as she doesn't respond to carrots and senses manipulation a mile off. She likes it better when she doesn't see the rewards coming.
<< hears California Dreaming playing softly in the background and pukes >>
What's wrong with just being A PARENT.
I AM IN CHARGE and you are a child.
You trust me, love me and will obey me because I am your god, your provider and your source of DOOM should you transgress.
If you fuck up and piss me off badly enough the world will end - so behave...
I am the arbiter of EVERYTHING (and you like it that way)
until you're fifteen when it all goes tits up...
A friend of mine also tells me to just tell my ASD son 'no' and he won't be like it any more. I wish it were that easy <sighs>
About 80% of children with ASD have trouble getting to sleep at night. Personally I prefer to keep his bedtime exactly the same so his body gets used to it but I still have a lot of battles.
Good luck with whatever you try OP. I hope things get easier for you.
I think 9 is far too early. As another poster mentioned, Scouts- Guides- gymnastics for this age group doesn't even END until 9...
My DD's bedtime is 9.30, electronic devices removed at 10. She turns her own light off when she wants after that.
Perhaps 9pm is too early for some DC, but DD has been going to sleep at 9pm for over a week now and still has to be woken up in the morning for school. It has made such a remarkable difference to her mood so I am sure that it's the right bedtime for her. Luckily she doesn't do gymnastics or other activities which prevent her from going to bed then.
Well done for getting it to work! I'm glad it's improved her mood.
Sounds like it is working then. Which is pretty much my mantra, if it works, we do it. I don't care what other people say, if it gets us through the day that's my method.
NHS recommend 10 hours sleep for 9 year olds, 9 and half hours for older.
Sleep is incredibly important.
[Flowers] and I hope your perseverance pays off. You are the parent, you are right. You could also research facts for her re sleep and its importance.
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