Moved 2 months ago, 9 yo won't sleep in her bed

(15 Posts)
marykat2004 Sun 13-Oct-13 10:30:26

We moved house 2 months ago now. I've been googling around for advice and all of the online advice seems to be about the move itself, preparing etc. Not much about this stage.

It took a nearly a year from deciding to sell to actually moving. It was a tough year for all of us. We had only 13 days between exchange and completion. So, really, until almost the last minute it could have fallen through.

We moved over the summer. So it wasn't ideal, DD being away from her old friends. But we did go out around our new town, the beach and also went on 2 camping trips. We had people visiting but not a huge amount of children DD's own age. Her one old friend who lives in the new town was away most of the summer.

DD was unhappy in her old school and wanted to move as much as we did. She seems to like her new school but she is generally a fussy child, so, sometimes gripes about one thing or another. She seems to be making new friends but obviously it takes time to build friendships.

The main thing now is that she is "scared" to sleep in her room. She has to be with mummy all the time. It seems crazy to ask how to get a 9 year old - not 9 month old - to sleep in her own bed. But what to do? She gets so upset when i try to talk her into getting into her bed again. She says she hears "noises". It is an old house, and much bigger than our flat, but I wouldn't say it's a scary house. It's light and in good decorative order from the pervious owners. Really don't know what to do. I try to tell her there is nothing to be afraid of but she is still scared...

Pistillate Sun 13-Oct-13 10:38:04

I would try putting an armchair in her room, and sitting in in while she goes to sleep. That way she has got you there, but she ends up sleeping there on her own, and so will hopefully realise there is nothing to fear eventually.

BrownSauceSandwich Sun 13-Oct-13 12:04:04

Would it help to redecorate her room, maybe the landing too, and get her involved with the whole process? I know you say it's already in good order, but if she feels some pride in her room, she might feel more of an affinity with it.

marykat2004 Sun 13-Oct-13 13:22:52

Her room is the only room we decorated. She had trouble settling at first because we were sleeping downstairs. So we moved our bedroom upstairs next to hers (for other reasons as well as for her). She settled for awhile but has started just wanting to sleep with me. Which puts DH on the sofa and he is not happy.

Also she has started having nightmares and coming in during the night.

landing light on? / nightlight in her room?

Periwinkle007 Sun 13-Oct-13 22:08:33

that is really hard. I think until you know what it is that is unsettling her then it will be almost impossible to solve.

Her room is nicely decorated, check light levels, she might like more nightlight than she previously had as poocatcherchampion suggests, she may want all the doors open compared to previously having them closed, is she nervous about burglars - it could be coincidence it ties in with moving, perhaps the house makes her think of one in a story or something? If you were in a flat before were you upstairs? having a downstairs may, to her, seem a security problem. I was brought up in a house then lived in houses at uni but then moved to a first floor flat, a few flats later (all first floor) and I found it VERY odd having a downstairs again and did find myself waking up to every single noise thinking someone had broken in which in a flat didn't bother me, there I felt some sort of security of having other flats around me.

marykat2004 Mon 14-Oct-13 09:27:34

Thank you for your thoughts.

It's actually upstairs that is bothering her: the floor above her room. She says she hears "noises" and "tapping." She certainly has not watched any horror films where children get possessed but she is behaving like one - nightmares, hearing noises, saying she is scared.

There are no bad vibes in this house. Everyone that has visited says how nice it feels. I think she is just scared because there is a floor above her room as well as below. We used to live in a 3rd floor flat in a block, where you could hear neighbours on all sides. Some of the neighbours were quite disturbing, screaming at each other and kids crying. DH and I are certainly relieved to be away from all that. But DD may find the silence unsettling. Any noises we do hear is probably just age of the house and general creakiness (built in 1890). Or the cat but the cat is young and often scares her anyway.

She says she wants to sleep on the ground floor now but that would be a risk if someone broke in.

littlecrystal Mon 14-Oct-13 10:12:50

Would it help to get in the space above her room (the attic) and show her that there is nothing in there? Perhaps clean the space together and make sure there are no tatty corners?
Or put her bed in your bedroom temporarily?

H2OWoe Mon 14-Oct-13 10:18:42

I was constantly scared of noises in the dark in my room as a child so I really do sympathise. I would suggest (a) an night light, definitely definitely (b) very soft soothing music playing as she goes to sleep that will gradually tail off in volume to nothing (c) reading a happy, soothing story to her as she goes to sleep (d) doing a clear lockup routine at night and emphasising to her how snug and safe the house is (e) I'm sure you've already done this, but explaining how timber expands and contracts and the tapping/creaking is just the house 'settling in' for the night.

Reading your post really took me back to my own childhood of wide-awake, bugging-out eyes in the dark, ears straining to hear every noise and imagining monsters under the bed, in the wardrobe, and all sorts waiting to get me. To soothe me and help me go to sleep, my mother used to help me focus on happy thoughts (I used to think of ponies trotting around a summer field - I was a twee child, admittedly - and on many many nights my last thoughts before sleeping were of this.) Years later I realised it was a clever relaxation/visualisation technique that she'd taught me.

Parietal Mon 14-Oct-13 10:21:38

I moved with my parents to a new country when I was 8. I slept in a cupboard for the first 3 weeks because I didn't like the new house. My mum just let me get on with it, and after a while I settled down.

I suspect this kind of fear is not a 'rational' thing that can be sorted out by tidying or looking at the attic. Being told to 'grow up' or not be silly won't help either. It is much more a sign of being nervous and unsettled about life in general. So maybe try to make everything (not just bedtimes) routine and comforting with lots of reassurance. Maybe even let her behave like a 6 year old - bedtime stories, teddy bears etc. And if you can sleep on a camp bed in her room, that might help too.

PeriPathetic Mon 14-Oct-13 10:26:12

Another who's been there - both myself and my DD after several moves.

What I would do is firstly, explain the noises matter of factly - it's the house creaking as it cools, central heating, pipes, whatever. Don't minimise this, but give her 'safe' reasons for each noise.

Perhaps move her bed into a different position? We've just moved again and for the first few nights neither DH nor I could sleep - turned out we'd inadvertently swapped sides in our bed so it was all 'wrong'. confused

Finally, can you get hold of a white noise or sound machine? like this
When I lived alone I could't sleep without music on. DD's friend had a version of this machine and DD loved it so much that we downloaded sounds onto her iPod and she'd drift off to sounds of the sea. The added bonus is that these sounds help block out other noises.

Good luck!

marykat2004 Mon 14-Oct-13 11:44:18

Thank you. The top floor is not an attic but a workspace, which DD will happy play in by herself during the day (computer is up there). So she is familiar with what is above her room.

She is a huge Scooby Doo fan and has known from an early age that ghosts are just people wearing masks. So I'm a little surprised at how afraid she really is. I told her the tapping is probably just me on the computer - a sound that would be very familiar from the old flat!

There is a loft above the top floor, for storage. It has lights and she has seen it, too; though it's not exactly cosy it's not scary either. When I was a child I was terrified of the attic. No one ever went up in our attic because it had no floorboards. There was a hatch that led to this empty forbidden space. So, yeah, I am familiar with childhood fears, too. I grew up in a detached house which was normal as I knew nothing else, and we never moved, but looking back, with all the trees scraping the windows, and with a cellar as well as that attic, it was a pretty scary place.

But my parents were of the generation where children never slept in their room, and certainly not in their bed. If I had a nightmare I just got sent back to my own bed.

Ipod is a good idea. She has an ipad. Maybe we can put some music on it.

littlecrystal Mon 14-Oct-13 12:09:59

You can also buy a radio or alarm clock (I think) which gives you natural sounds - sounds of forest, rain, sea waves etc. I have one and just love it. So relaxing.

mabelbabel Mon 14-Oct-13 12:30:30

When I was around this age (and older) I was terrified of burglars, and frequently ended up in my parents' room. I could very vividly visualise people breaking in based on only the slightest sounds from the house/outside. My parents dealt with it very calmly. They just had a spare mattress set up on the floor of their room for me to climb into so I could feel safe with the minimum of fuss/disruption. This might or might not work for you in the short term - might be better than someone ending up on the sofa anyway. Though I realise in many ways it's not an ideal solution and might ingrain a habit which you'd rather avoid.

I grew out of it, of course.

marykat2004 Mon 14-Oct-13 13:14:22

Well Dd herself suggested setting up the z-bed (like a mattress on the floor) in our room... at certain times not ideal but most nights we just go to sleep so maybe that will work... I spoke with a friend on the phone this morning who said it's a phase, and just let her grow out of it. DD seems to need her mum right now. If I fight this and keep trying to force her into her own room she will just be more stubborn about not wanting to be in her room... we just had 2 nights on the fold out in the spare room (gosh we have a lot of rooms now!) but it's not very comfortable.

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