advice on how to stop 9 YO child getting into bed with us and causing lack of sleep!

(8 Posts)
DARREN547 Mon 11-Jan-16 13:28:36

Hello everyone, please be gentle as i have only just signed up and i am in real need for some advice.

i am struggling with the fact that my OH youngest son (9) wants to get into bed beside his mother almost every night. As it is, she lays beside him when he goes to bed until he sleeps - we both read to him (not at the same time!) but she stays and waits for him to sleep. Almost like clockwork - just after 2 am he creeps round the bedroom door and announces that he wants to jump in! She tells him to get back to bed, calmly and without raising her voice, but there is always resistance and it seems to be getting worse. When he does go back - we eventually get back to sleep and then he is back in again around 5 am, this time he almost always stays (on her side) and plays on an Ipad!! sometime with headphones, sometimes without.....

She split with her partner a couple of years ago, but she said that he always slept in with them because the house was being renovated and there was only two bedrooms ready and both were taken by other family members and that until we got together last summer, she just used to let him get in and be done with it because it was easier than trying to get him back and because he liked the contact.

Also.....to compound it he does/did suffer with some night terrors and a bit of sleepwalking - (its not so bad now and I do think that he is growing out of that) so that makes her more acceptable to having him get in with us. My own child has never got into bed with me/her/her mother unless she was ill, so i do find this a little difficult to deal with, especially the 5 am shift - i struggle to get back to sleep as i am up at 6.45 - 7.00 for work.

I understand that he may be thinking that i am taking away his mother and their time because that is what they have always done, but i don't want it to put an unnecessary strain on our relationship. I wouldn't want her to feel like i am asking her to choose between us as that is really not what i am saying. I don't want to resort to sleeping on the sofa and i don't want any resentment to build up because of it, but broken sleep does make you cranky and sometimes you do say some stuff that you wouldn't on a good nights sleep! I am trying very hard to come up with ideas, plans, gold star boards etc. to help out with the interruptions but so far - its not working.
sorry its a long post - and any help /advice would be greatly received!

FATEdestiny Mon 11-Jan-16 21:32:45

Rapid return would work. You have to be quick. As soon as he gets up, you get up and take back to bed, tuck in, say nan night and leave. Deal with any histrionics that are created but the bottom line is always 'straight back to bed' as soon as her leaves his bed. He will eventually give up and stay there, if you are consistent.

SkiptonLass2 Tue 12-Jan-16 09:25:03

Agree with FATE above - rapid return is good and it does work. Be prepared to have a really tough few nights with it though. I helped a friend out doing this and her little boy come down 26 times. You just have to kindly and gently make the point that resistance is futile. Be persistent and consistent.

Perhaps also look at any possible insecurities as well. Does he need a nightlight for example. Practise techniques for dealing with bad dreams so that he doesn't need to come to you every time and can self soothe. I'd also recommend a checkup regarding the sleepwalking and night terrors - there can be some physical causes of these which should be ruled out.

DARREN547 Tue 12-Jan-16 11:49:33

thanks so far!
we are going to have a change around in his bedroom tomorrow, as he says that the layout is what is bothering him - it could be a stalling tactic, but I am willing to have a go. The lamp in the room IS a bit too bright i think, so i will get a new bulb/lamp and see how we go with that - also some nightlights for the hallway instead of having the "big light" on.

Last night he was so tired he slept right through until 5.30 and then got in - and went back to sleep! Not ideal, but better than recent events.
we are still getting used to each other, so hopefully a bit of time bonding with a bedroom move round may also help out and calm his fears.
Was thinking maybe some lavender
will definitely suggest a checkup regarding the sleepwalking / night terrors though, but i will be very diplomatic about it when i bring it up as i don't want to offend the OH smile

CadburysTastesVileNow Tue 12-Jan-16 11:52:00

Is there room to put a camp bed / mattress at the end of your bed? Tell him to come in without waking you and sleep on it. Definitely no iPad!

Poledra Tue 12-Jan-16 12:09:52

I think you're right, that he is coming in for comfort, however, have you checked there is nothing physical waking him? Things like being cold, lights from outside waking him (5am could be someone else's car headlights, for example). Adjusting his physical environment might prevent the waking and hence the creeping along to mum's bed.

DARREN547 Tue 12-Jan-16 14:22:36

there is no room for a camp bed unfortunately, but i doubt that he'd use if if there were! His room is at the back of the house and its on a very quiet road, we are however near a railway line, so maybe an early morning train is disturbing his sleep - i will check the timetables!
i honestly think that it is out of habit and he has conditioned his body clock to wake at that time as it is very rare that he does not interrupt.
I will suggest that there is no Ipad IF he comes in - that way, he may learn that its not actually worth coming in to the room if he cant have that with him - but, to be fair on him, if he wishes to come in when we are actually up and awake and wants to bring it, that shouldn't be a problem, i think its about compromise.

DARREN547 Tue 12-Jan-16 14:22:37

there is no room for a camp bed unfortunately, but i doubt that he'd use if if there were! His room is at the back of the house and its on a very quiet road, we are however near a railway line, so maybe an early morning train is disturbing his sleep - i will check the timetables!
i honestly think that it is out of habit and he has conditioned his body clock to wake at that time as it is very rare that he does not interrupt.
I will suggest that there is no Ipad IF he comes in - that way, he may learn that its not actually worth coming in to the room if he cant have that with him - but, to be fair on him, if he wishes to come in when we are actually up and awake and wants to bring it, that shouldn't be a problem, i think its about compromise.

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