I'm a lone parent, ds is 5 and hates me going out and him being left with a babysitter. He is usually sound asleep by 7.30 and never wakes up until well after midnight, when he might creep into my bed. If I told him I was going out he would get incredibly upset, tearful, wouldn't be reassured and I ended up being late or risking leaving him sobbing into his pillow. I use sitters.co.uk so don't have a regular sitter, though anyone who comes is always nice.
So I haven't usually told him I'm going out, just wait until after he's asleep. But of course a few weeks ago he woke up, called for me, was reassured by sitter, not long afterwards I got back. He asked me the next day to always tell him if I'm going out (and since then I have, with the same result of tears and sadness).
But now he asks every evening if I'm going out, calls down for me a lot, says he can't get to sleep, wants me to stay in his room etc etc. tonight he said that he doesn't believe me when I say I'm not going out and that's why he's having trouble getting to sleep.
I don't know now how to prove to him or get him to believe that I'm staying at home. Any ideas would be very very welcome please.
Should point out that I go out on average once a fortnight, always back before midnight, not exactly going wild here!
Can you find a regular sitter and change the arrangement? Choose someone who he can build a relationship and like and you go out BEFORE he goes to bed? This way - if he knows that he will always know when you are going out - he can trust you to not go out when you say you aren't. If that makes sense. Ivan understand why he is currently anxious....
Get the new regular babysitter to come round, at first, without you going out. Have a nice night in (pizza, ice cream and a DVD?) all 3 of you. Then next time, go out, but leave them on a treat night (so they have fun without you - pizza and DVD again?). Make sure tat your son knows wha is going on, that you won't be there when he goes to bed, but will be there when he gets up in the morning.
Having a regular babysitter would be excellent for both you and your son: personally I would be worried about having different babysitters every time and it must be very scary for your son to wake up to someone he doesn't know.
I agree that having a sitter who he can get to know, who arrives before he goes to bed, may help. Sure he does not like you not being there but he also does not like having a stranger there. If it was someone he knew, maybe he would be happier about you going out for a few hours.
To help regain his trust, maybe create an evening picture based timetable. Velcro strips on a piece of card, then velcro on the back of cards with a picture on them indicating what you will be doing at say 8pm, 10pm, Midnight. Have picture cards for when you go out, so he can see that a different card is then used for say 8pm, 10pm, but that the same card is used at midnight to show that you are back home. Something like that. He could help devise something perhaps, it can help to get his buy-in to any ideas for helping him know when you are at home and when you are going out.
I would get a regular sitter that ds likes. And let him stay up with him/her for half an hour when you go out. I sell it to my dc that the baby sitter is coming to play with them. They play a few board games, read a few books and dc then go to bed. I'd reassure ds that he will always know when the sitter is coming as he'll be up to open the door to them.
That is a great idea and I would love to have a regular sitter, but not sure if its possible - I am not out on a regular basis, so can't pre book someone for eg every other Thurs. There are plenty of lovely nannies round here but their employers all have first dibs on them for sitting. Sitters.co.uk has been ideal for their flexibility until now given his previous blissful ignorance of me being out. I ask for the same people and its usually one of 3 ladies. One he has met and does like and she's coming next time, he seems ok about that.
The real issue atm is getting him to believe that I'm staying at home when that is genuinely the case (he believes me when I say I'm going out of course!) short of sitting in his room and waking him up every 10mins. Once he's gone to sleep that is, which is becoming more of a problem.