7 yr old won't/can't get to slerp when alone.(31 Posts)
Child has to be sat with until asleep. When asleep, a stealth like removal of oneself from her bedroom is then necessary. If she wakes, you have to stay with her again.
If left to sleep on her own, she doesn't. She doesn't do anything, she just lies in bed but doesn't drop off.
I go to bed at 10pm. We go to bed about 7:30, I read to her for about 15 mins, we have a cuddle and then we lie there...and lie there....and lie there. More often than not, I go from her bed straight to my own.
We have tried leaving her, she's still lying awake at 11pm. I don't sleep as I need to check her. Tonight I have left her and she's still awake. So mad, told her I wasn't waiting to turn her light off and that I'm fed up of it. She's currently sobbing in dh's bedroom now.
What can I do?
I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Yes, she needs to learn to sleep on her own but to do so means she'll be in her knees tired at school, weepy and grumpy.
But, I can't keep on like this, it's been going on years.
My dh used to put to bed whilst I was out and was quite happy to sit with her. I have been doing bed duty 8 months now. In his defense, she has got worse over time, not better.
Anybody any bright ideas, preferably not just leave her to it ones though.
I'm seriously thinking of taking her to the doctor, surely it's not normal!
I bought the recommended 'Sitting like a frog'.
I read to her, we put on track 11, the sleep exercise and listen to that. I have to remind her to shut her eyes but less so now. I then turn the CD back randomly, turn it down and she is asleep within 10 minutes. I leave the CD to play out when I go.
I am still sitting with her at the moment but plan on not doing during the next half term. As it only takes me 30 mins to 'do' bedtime, I don't mind sitting with her for the time being.
She has woken on one occasion but I told her I'd be back, to listen to the CD (I left just as sleep exercise was starting) and try to drop off. Lo and behold, she did. The first time in many years.
So, a good recommendation, thank you .
As an aside, I was listening to R4 this week and they were saying they are considering teaching mindfulness in schools. Having read the book, I can see why they are considering it.
I agree with Delphiniumblues, stuffofawesome and Kafayolay about teaching your DD to relax herself. I taught my DD 3.5yr old to do acupressure on herself in order to self soothe.
We had this idea as my husband also hated falling asleep on his own, but as a very small boy used to rub his tummy to relax himself to sleep, he says it was a form of meditation for him. Anyway, it worked a treat.
Also I agree with the above comments that say to ask your DD what she would like at bedtime, other than your presence or what is the reason she needs you there.
If it is fear - then maybe you could address it with Bach flower remedies (again, not sure your stance on this). But when my daughter suffered from nightmares - they worked really well. I used a product called Sleepeasy by Indigo essence www.indigoessences.com/
Here's my blog post on it - and on the acupressure points to use.
Just one last note which I'm sure you've thought of already - but do make your DD's diet is free from any type of stimulants and chemicals e.g. sweeteners, chemical additives, preservatives, artificial flavourings, colourings and of course caffeine & sugar etc. I've worked with children who could not switch off themselves until these were removed from their diet. Good luck and best wishes.
I know the lamps you mean, eldest dd has one, that might be an idea.
Could she have a lamp? Dd had a touch one with three different brightnesses. It doesn't make a sound and you can just touch it to dim it. I do feel your pain, this is just something that we have learned to live with and do what we can to improve it.
She doesn't sleep with the light on, I switch it off later.
It is an 80 watt bulb, so not Blackpool Illuminations.
If leaving the light on for an hour means the difference between waking and staying asleep, then it will be staying on.
I'm not sweating the small stuff, my main issue is actually getting her to fall asleep.
It's honestly not good for her health to sleep with a light on, and it can't be helping her to get to sleep in the first place. Maybe an automated dimming light would be a possibility.
bunny, yes, she does fall asleep with the main light on and will remain asleep all night with it on. I leave it on until I go to bed as she shoots up if she hears it clicking off. It is a struggle creeping out of the bedroom and shutting the door, without negotiating the light switch.
She does have a night light but that doesn't cut it for going to sleep but it remains on when main light is off.
The only time she has slept in complete darkness is if I've slep all night with her ie. In hotels, visiting grandparents.
Cds didn't work for dd, they just kept her awake longer. I think the main point is that you need to make it so that she can fall asleep in her own time but you still need to get your time to wind down? Let her do whatever in a dimly lit room, you need your time too.
X-post with that last point
I don't quite understand what you're doing with lights - you refer to turning her lights out late at night - are you expecting her to go to sleep in the light?
Anyway, I would strongly recommend story CDs if you haven't tried them.
And also, 7:30 seems a bit early for a 7 year old to go to sleep unless she has to get up very early in the morning. A 7 year old would normally need 10.5 hours, so if she's getting up at, say, 7am, then she'd be falling asleep at 8:30.
stargirl she can't swim 20 lengths and I don't know of any 7 year olds who can.
So with the best will in the world, it ain't going to happen!
buzzard, she has tried reading to 'tire her eyes' but she loves reading, so will read on for ages.
On the plus side, she has fallen asleep within 9 minutes tonight but I did still sit with her.
Maybe she just doesn't need as much sleep as I think she should have and should put her to bed later so she falls asleep quicker.
It is the only thing I've known to work. It does need to be daily though.
stargirl she swims at 7 am on Saturday and Sunday plus a lesson on Saturday.
She can't swim 20 lengths, she is 7, although she does swim, not play.
olivio my eldest dd was like that, didn't sleep through till 5 and a half, up 6-8 times a night. I was wrecked!
I think I have the lesser of 2 evils now, at least when she is aslepl, she remains that way until morning.
I feel your pain. My DD has been a poor sleeper for all of her seven and a half years, but recently it has got worse. We have been down just about every route, even the medication didn't work. Recently, it seems to be a fear of being on her own or something. Bizarrely, it is not affecting her school work, just her home behaviour. And of course our lives, disturbed evenings and out of bed or woken up to eight times a night. Lord knows how I function sometimes.
Good luck, it isn't fun.
My DD is like this (7). We have a system where on school nights she goes to bed at 7.30, plays until 8.30 with lights on and then is only allowed to read in bed with book light on after this. This has helped calm her down and can usually get to sleep by 10ish. She just doesn't need more sleep than this, but I do need my sanity which is why she goes to bed at 7.30.
Weekends and holidays I extend this to 8.30/9.00 but playtime/lights out is the same. The advantage is that if there is a party or something on she is quite happy and cheerful still at midnight. It is hard but I was the same at that age and no amount of 'conditioning' changed me.
Plenty of books is the answer. It makes the most of the time.
Swimming. Every evening or up at 6am. Not playing in the pool but proper lengths. At least 20.
I used to waitress and get into bed with active legs.
I'd lie there and imagine the energy flowing out of them and that my legs were getting heavy.
I used to get to about my hips and I couldn't remember getting further, I was asleep.
I have tried getting her to do this, but she says it doesn't work.
The not crying is great on one hand but I think yes, she's gone to sleep, only to go to bed hours later to see her still lying there.
I am going to try the suggestions, even though they're not too far removed from what I already do, but probably over summer when it's only me who has to put up with her grumps.
It is relaxation- she can't do it and needs to learn it somehow.
Teach them meditation, use a cd. Have just started using a book and cd called sitting still like a frog. There is a going to sleep track. If yo ca teach her the skills to settle herself confidently you will get there. I too spent many yrs sitting on the floor waiting for sleep! Also look at relax kids website.
You may not like my suggestion but I was very impressed with a recent talk by a hypnotherapist and I think this is one of the most simplest things to rectify. Either that or she needs to learn relaxation techniques.
To go to sleep we need to produce a hormone called melatonin. The dark is a trigger to tell our brains to produce it. We can train our brains to have other triggers to produce it. That's why we have a routine. She may have difficulty having a trigger to produce it. The bed time routine is great that you do. The routine should take no more than 15 mins. What relaxes one person could be a stimulant for another. Eg a bath used to wake mine.
You staying in the room could be a learnt trigger to help her sleep.
When you start a new routine it must be done consistently. She has to learn to self sooth. Hard to learn.
Do not leave her crying for hours but go back stroke her head and leave. No telly for an hour before bed. Preferably light very dim. Put her to bed later than normal so she is very tired. You can then get back to a normal bed time once she gets good at going to sleep.
If you do not fall asleep within 20 mins after routine you are not ready to sleep.
How you go to sleep is how you need to stay asleep. Our sleep goes in a cycle - non rem, rem then partial waking. At partial waking we wake up and check our environment. That's when you notice your partners snoring. If nothing has changed you go back to sleep unaware of waking. With children if light was on then off, parent was there then gone, dummy not in mouth, not being rocked etc etc they will wake up.
There are so many tips I hope these start to help.
These are all good ideas that have been done.
She is allowed ds/tv time between school and tea. Then, it's either walking the dogs, or she comes and does my horse with me. Failing that, weather permitting, out the garden.
Don't think she can't sustain the late nights continually, she has as long as we have dared try, which is 10 days.
She just ends up so miserable and grumpy. She will admit to being tired, will look tired but still cannot sleep.
It's more of a can't sleep rather than won't sleep.
As I said, she will lie there ad infinitum, quietly, causing no bother. The only reason I know she's still awake is because I pop in to turn her main light off.
Whatever I do, will have to wait until the summer holiday's because there isn't a quick fix.
I know piriton is used to induce sleep but I'm not keen to go down that route.
I would first discuss it with them at that age. Does she want a night light? Teddy bear etc
Then I would not put her to bed early yet. You need to break the habit. So I would for a few days give her lots of excercise in day then don't even attempt bed until 10-11pm with her. The more tired she is the less likely she will be able to lay awake for hours
Continue this for a few days until she hopefully settles alone. Once she does you can bring bedtime forward by 30 mins Each day until its at at time that suits ( approx 8/8.30pm maybe)
Why not have a chat with them as part of the routine to ask about their day. Let them do the talking and you listen. Don't offer an opinion just listen. Basically help them to unwind.
Have a story cd playing and leave that on. Have lights out but leave the door open with hallway light on so it isn't too bright. Then tell her you're going to the toilet and coming back. Make sure you do exactly that. Make sure she stays in bed while you go. Do that every night for a week. Then extend it to, you're going to start dinner (or something dull) but you'll be back in ten mins. Then make sure you are. Basically you're getting her used to being left and she trusts you will go back.
I would also talk to her about bedtime at a different time of day and ask her why she wants you to stay. Don't mention that you don't like staying etc be non judgemental and just listen. Then maybe you can work out what she is bothered about.
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