Sleep problems 4 yr old. I think we are being unreasonable but what to do?

(32 Posts)
bankofbigland Mon 08-Oct-12 07:14:55

I know sleep problems are done to death but any help would be gratefully received.
We have 2 children who share. room, 4.5 yrs and 3.5 yrs. Most of the last four yrs has ot been great for sleep, inevitable I know with 2 children. So bad that my husband and I have slept apart for a lot of that time so that he can function at work. Anyway, things are a lot better And we are back in the marital bed, BUT.. The 4.5 yr old just keeps getting up early (anything from 4.30 am) or as in the case of last night, comes through to us at 1am. We sent here back to bed but then both struggle to get back to sleep so tired and ratty this morning.

We are normally up at 6 am and DD does to bed around 7 pm so I do not feel that we are expecting her to sleep too long (she will be asleep in minutes in the car in the afternoon so i am sure she is not getting too much sleep).

Some of it is getting up to the loo in the night and not going straight back to sleep. My husband think she should know not to wake us up (goodness knows she has been told often enough).

we both are blaming her for our tiredness and lack of sleep and speaking crossly to her about it, but she is 4 and it washes over her.

I fear we will be back to seperate beds again soon and I don't think that is so good for us.

Please any stragegies for getting children to stay in bed?

No advice I'm afraid, but I'm watching with interest! My 4.1 Ds still comes into my bed every night sad

SminkoPinko Mon 08-Oct-12 07:57:50

god, poor you. I would be so so so cross with her and would feel guilty too. what have you tried so far to get her to stay in bed?

WelshRabbit Mon 08-Oct-12 08:16:19

Watching as we have this problem too - star chart with a reward at the end worked to break the habit last time he started doing this, but doesn't seem to be working this time. Part of our problem is that DS2 is in our room, so DS1 doesn't understand why he should be the only person in the house sleeping alone.

WelshRabbit Mon 08-Oct-12 08:23:22

Also we have a gro clock which helps - he knows he's not supposed to get out of bed until the clock says its morning time. I think they just don't understand that its still nighttime, especially if it is light outside.

Ontesterhooks Mon 08-Oct-12 10:07:10

Second the gro clock, it works really well with our 4 yr old he loved it and the story book that comes with it and when he got up before the sun I told him I would have to take the clock back to the shop ! He was so upset at the thought of losing it he stuck to the rules glue smile

Ontesterhooks Mon 08-Oct-12 10:07:33

Like glue !

vodkaanddietirnbru Mon 08-Oct-12 12:17:25

at that age both mine had a digital clock in their room and if they came through before it said 7:00 they were sent back to bed.

memememum Mon 08-Oct-12 20:03:33

How long is her nap in the car usually? When our dd hit 2.4, some time ago, we needed to cut out all day time sleeps in order for her to have an unbroken stretch at night.

defineme Mon 08-Oct-12 20:10:40

Mine would need more sleep at that age-12 hours, but obviously no nap by school age.so it would be 6-6 in my house. Just because she's getting up doesn't mean she's getting enough sleep-she's just in habit of getting up.

Sharing a room-no other room so they can be separated? I know people who have sofa bed in living room to solve this problem-even just for short term.

I always just sent straight back to bed with as little fuss as possible-even at 530 if get up is 6.

BsshBossh Tue 09-Oct-12 10:54:08

What consequences or rewards do you give her? My DD (4) sleeps through the night but if she messes around at bedtime she gets no TV the next day. This "consequence" works 99.9% of the time. "Rewards" don't work with her but they do with friends of mine.

Hpbp Tue 09-Oct-12 20:05:06

Hello, sleep deprived fellows, I had the same issue with DS1 until 2 weeks ago, he turns 4 at the end of this month and just had a little sister 10 weeks ago who is of course in the parents bedroom at the moment.... We tried everything, taking him back in his bed in the middle of the night, 3,4,5 times, cosleeping with him, until I got a bit firmer than usual : 2 weeks ago he woke me up one night asking me to come and stay with him for 5 minutes, I just refused very calmly but firmly, tucked him in his bed and good night. He fell back asleep in 5 minutes and - I touch wood - has not come to my bed since. I think that because I meant it, he felt it and now knows that no matter what he does, I won't cave in anymore. Good luck to everyone

bankofbigland Thu 15-Nov-12 12:38:17

So I had a reasonable couple of weeks, even considered posting how much better it was but we are back to problems again. 1am last night our door bursts open, then I take at least an hour to get back to sleep and then woken again at 5.30am. When asked why it was that she wanted sparkling water not still water. She never has sparkling water at night. In times gone by I have shouted and got really cross with her, now I try not to show any emotion. I am knackered and just fed up with it. The trouble with these types of problems is that you just do not know when it will end. I fear years more of this and I could cry at the thought of it.

I was stopping her watching the tv and sending her to her room whilst other DD watched TV and that has worked for a few weeks and then it just stops working. so punishment does not work so now I am thinking of either locking our bedroom door and/or saying that if she gets a tick for 3 nights she can have a treat like ice cream on the next day.

I am open to any suggestions anyone has.

valiumredhead Thu 15-Nov-12 14:05:50

Bursting in at 1am would be met with a VERY stern talking to in this house unless there is a damn good reason.

Does the punishment stop working because you relax a bit and don't follow through?

There would be no conversation at ALL from me, about water or anything. I would tell her if she wakes up she must turn over and go back to sleep or there would be BIG TROUBLE grin the next day and no telly would be just the start of it.

I would take back to bed - without saying anything and that would be that, no interaction at all - do you do that already OP?

I wouldn't lock her door but I would put a lock on MY door and tell her you won't be getting up and you won't take her back to bed. I would explain all this before you put it in place.

I am VERY hard core when it comes to sleep as you can probably tell, I had a ds who mucked around for nearly 3 years at bed time and then when I changed he suddenly turned into the world's best sleeper hmm

Oh and a gro clock is good!

lolalotta Thu 15-Nov-12 16:30:48

I wouldn't lock your bedroom door, that might frighten her and make the problem much worse, she might not trust you will be there for her if she needs you. I saw something on Super nanny years ago where repeatedly a parent returned the child to bed very calmly and just repeated the same phrase each time with no other interaction. I think they did this about 100 times the first night or something crazy like that but it did work! They need to know you mean business while giving them no attention at the time, kids even love negative attention! Do this when you both have some time off so it's easier to deal with!

lolalotta Thu 15-Nov-12 16:32:54

Do you work OP?

valiumredhead Thu 15-Nov-12 16:34:53

I think lola's super nanny method is the best way. I'd still lock myself in

juneau Thu 15-Nov-12 16:36:20

- potty in her room for night-time wees
- glass of water by the bed
- gro-clock set to an appropriate getting up time
- punishments for getting up in the night and waking you/her sibling
- be firm, be consistent
- get cross if necessary

lolalotta Thu 15-Nov-12 16:45:58

Ha ha Valium, your strike-out made me laugh!

bankofbigland Thu 15-Nov-12 16:46:04

Not sure if the relevance but I don't work, does that mean that i get to stop in bed for the day to recover (or even for an hour), no I don't.
She has a potty in her room, she has a drink, we now get her to sit on the toilet and have a wee before bed. That has helped.
I understand the super nanny advice but this is once every night or almost every night. Not often at 1am but anywhere between 4 am and 5.30 am is not uncommon.
I know locking the door is the wrong answer, I just in my desperation get so pi&ed off.

Sent her upstairs to play for a bit at 5 pm and 10 mins later she is asleep in bed.

The gro clocks are not cheap I think but maybe it will be worth it, I have my doubts.

fryingpanalley Thu 15-Nov-12 16:47:24

DD1 is the same age and we give a sticker for each night she stays in bed all night. When she has seven (or whatever) stickers she gets £1 (£1.50 sometimes) and gets to choose sweets or magazine or save up for something. It's working so far.

We're also going to get her a new big girl bed with fairy duvet cover to make bed more attractive!

TBH I wouldn't lock the bedroom door because I'm a softy and also because I agree with lolalotta.

bankofbigland Thu 15-Nov-12 16:49:35

ok by the magic of amazon, i have bought the gro clock.

bankofbigland Thu 15-Nov-12 16:50:41

i won't lock the door, just my fed up, tired, bl8dy hell what can i do voice.

lolalotta Thu 15-Nov-12 16:51:33

Just been thinking and wondering is it an attention thing? I know it must be incredibly hard with two but is there anyway you can carve out 15 mins/ half an hour each day or a few times a week where you spend it exclusively with her? It seems like she is seeking one on one time with you while sibling is sleeping? Sorry, probably terribly impractical solution, you can probably tell I have only one DD at the mo! grin

bankofbigland Thu 15-Nov-12 16:51:54

maybe the stickers are a good idea.

bankofbigland Thu 15-Nov-12 16:53:36

yes i should have more time alone with her, yes you are right for me at any rate bl8dy hard with two 15 months apart, in a foreign country spending a lot of time on my own (weeps in pity for myself)

lolalotta Thu 15-Nov-12 16:56:55

Sorry didn't mean to offend by asking if you worked just trying to figure out if it was your attention she is craving or wether it's just a habit thing. You being a SAHM doesn't mean I think you deserve less sleep at all!!!! I'm one too and remember clearly how awful broken nights are and my DD us nearly 3!

lolalotta Thu 15-Nov-12 16:57:24

PLUS I only have one to look after!

bankofbigland Thu 15-Nov-12 17:41:09

sorry, the way i feel today i could take offense at anything smile

i just don't understand why she would want to do something that pi8es me and my husband off so much if she wants attention? why do something you know your parents don't like?

if she comes through after 6 am we cuddle her in bed, she is away from little sister who is still fast asleep, she is welcome at that time, just not earlier.

i think i have to try the stickers

bankofbigland Thu 15-Nov-12 17:41:40

i think it is habit

MrsB74 Thu 15-Nov-12 17:55:56

It will be habit, one of my twin girls was like this for a bit. Be firm and consistent, always putting her back in her own bed with as little interaction as possible. She will stop when she realises you really mean it - it may take a few nights. I never let them stay with us before 6.30, sometimes I have even put one of them back at 7 (at the weekend) and it can work if it's a dark morning! We also have the gro clock. Good luck

lolalotta Thu 15-Nov-12 18:07:50

I think it probably IS habit, though I have read that if a child feels like she/he isn't get enough one on one attention they will do whatever it takes to get that attention, wether it be of the negative or positive variety!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now