Issues over DSS staying in bed(10 Posts)
Hi all this is my first proper post on mumsnet, bit of background I have been with DP for almost 2 years and moved in with him a few months ago. He has a 5 year old son and his ex left him when DSS was about 2. (Not married so not actually a stepmum but I hope you will forgive the terminology!)
I get on really well with his son so thats not an issue. We have his son every weekend. DP has decided its about time his DS started staying in his own bed all night as he is a real fidget and keeps us awake, this morning for example he woke me up at 6.30 - both of them are still asleep but Im a light sleeper so its probably fair to say this has the biggest effect on me but I havent said anything to DP - he has been the one to decide that DSS needs to stay in his own bed, he has been routinely getting in with DP since he was tiny.
I would have posted this in the sleep topic except that the issue is that his mum freely allows DSS to come into her bed every night. Obviously she is free to do what she wants in her own house, but in the long term DP is concerned that its not best for DSS especially now he has started school. We arent sure how to to go about setting rules and enouraging DSS to follow them where this is concerned when his mum is not doing the same 5 nights out of the week and think he might get confused. This is DPs only child and I dont have children so we just need some ideas really.
Normally if we hear him come in, just saying go back to bed works but one night he came in five times and woke us both up every time. He did go back to his own bed but then came in at 6 am. Ideally he would stay in his own bed all night then come in at say 7 am for cuddles with daddy but we arent sure how to get there. Does anyone have any advice? Do we just go ahead and set rules and never mind what his mum is doing?
My DSS was exactly the same, and was about the same age
I we started as we meant to go on and never allowed him in bed with us, even though he had shared regularly with DP and still does with his mum as far as I know!
Keep consistent, kind and firm and he'll get the message - be kind to each other too - allow yourselves time to catch up on sleep when you can
Try one of the Bunny (or similar) alarm clocks. Set it for 7am or whatever time you feel appropriate. If Bunny's eyes are closed dss has to stay in his own bed but when Bunny opens his eyes, he's free to come in for a cuddle.
I've been through similar issues with my DD recently. It's very easy as a single parent just to let them snuggle in in the night, plenty space. But it's not so easy with 3 in a bed, and no reason at 5 that he shouldn't be in his own bed. I would suggest buying him a new douvet cover or tedddy as part of a break in routine that now he is big enough to stay in his own bed. My DD also likes having an MP3 player and docking station beside her bed and is allowed to listen to music quietly for a while if she finds herself awake in the night. You can't teach a child not to wake in the night, but you can teach them to put themselves back to sleep quietly without waking you.
Your DP (or you?) may have to be prepared to take DSS back to his bed quite a bit at first whilst he gets used to not coming in with you, and possibly lie down with him to settle him. This is pretty knackering if you have to do it every night (I did it almost every night for a fortnight when I first moved in with DP) but it does get them where you want them to be in the long term. The Bunny clocks that PTA mentions are good - my sister uses them with her two early risers.
Unlikely you can do much about what DSS's mum does in her house, unless she's also looking to get him out of her bed, and would be up for a combined approach across two houses, but if she's single she may be quite happy with it as it is. But I think you can teach DSS different rules in yoru house.
Agree with purpleroses - I think it's fine to have different rules for your house. To a certain extent, same thing happens even if your parents are together - sometimes mum has a different idea about something to dad. When DSCs say 'but we do that at mummy's' we just explain that we do it a different way at our house, and explain why that particular way is important to us.
We found discussing plans for the morning helped youngest DSS - he would identify a couple of toys or books that he'd want to play with before we got up, and we'd leave those out for him. I personally found it really hard having the children in the bed - I've been able to accept sharing everything else in my life with them, so it felt like I needed one place that was just for me and DP and that was it. They've been fine with it, and adapted really quickly to not getting into bed with him.
I'm a single mum and it was hard to get this sorted. Even now one will creep in and I won't notice til the morning do no chance of sending him back!
I found rewards worked with my two. Advent calendars are great for this! Each time they sleep through they get a chocolate. Then you make it a but harder and say it had to be two nights etc. by the time you've forgotten to give the reward the habit is broken
To answer your question - Yes. He is old enough to understand that different houses have different rules.
We had this problem with DSD (she is 8 now).
She would come and wedge herself in between DP and I and I was very very uncomfortable with it (I had a thread about it on here and got a bit flamed for it!!)
I ended up telling her that as she is a big girl there isn't room for her to sleep all night in our bed but she can come in for cuddles with Daddy in the mornings and if she wakes up Daddy would go and look after her in her own bed. It was around the time she got a new cuddly Hello Kitty toy so we let her take that to bed with her and got her a duvet cover to match and after a few broken nights she was OK.
I worried and worried about telling her but she was OK with it.
I had two SS's from the ages of 3 and 6 and I would not have let either of them sleep in with me and DH. For starters it would have been something that ExW would have used against us in some way.
It was never an issue as neither of them tried to come in during the night, but were welcome to come and have a cuddle in the morning (staying outside the duvet).
maybe I was just overly sensitive about the issue.
We had the same issue when she was 5 and even now at 8 dsd is still allowed to sleep in her mums bed and go to bed when she does
Every night we had her (4 nights a week) she would come in, so we did the super nanny trick..It took 1 night of huge tantrums screaming etc but after that she stayed in her own bed. It was exhausting and very hard on DP but it was worth it. Now she comes in at 6am and wakes us up. Can't wait until she's a teenager and won't get out of bed!!!
thanks everyone for your advice, we are going to get him an alarm clock as suggested so we shall see how it goes
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