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Serious problem with bedtime(6 Posts)
I'm hoping someone can help me with my 4.5 year old boy. We have had him 2.5 years and he's never been a good at going to bed and sleeping through is hot and miss. However the last 2 weeks is horrendous 😭 he comes down constantly with one excuse after another. He wets the bed on purpose and says now I don't have to sleep in my bed. He generally is doing this til 11pm and when we go to bed he sometimes still carrying on with the silliness. Whether it be singing dancing chucking stuff through bannisters. We have done everything with punishment. Reward charts overly loving too harsh ignoring him the lot and absolutely nothing has worked. He has Had D some changes and I know as we all know in the adoption circles that this is a big thing etc but I really don't believe that it is to do with the changes. We have had chats to him so has nursery and he says I just think it's funny he isn't scared. Hes OK during the day we have the usual listening problems but just like any child just bedtime. He's shattered so r we. He has big black eyes and he just is relentless. I'm really finding it hard as we both work and not getting any evenings to ourselves. I have researched stuff. Spoke to friends and family and I'm doing everything but it's not working. So anyone have any suggestions. I'm desperate 😩😩
My DS is also 4.5. We've always had an incredibly structured and fairly lengthy bedtime routine. It is entirely child focussed but in no way child led. There is no option to deviate from the routine but each part is something that ds wants to do and each thing signposts to the next: one short bedtime TV show, bath, nursery rhyme on my phone if he gets out the bath without making a fuss, plenty of stories in his room, I choose some, he chooses some but we always end on the same story, then i get into bed with him and recount his day in a very slow and sleepy voice, as he's getting older he's starting to chip in with this too and it's helpful to find out what is important to him and if there's anything on his mind. Finally I get up and say goodnight to a few favourite toys and finish with a big hug and kiss for DS and a quick love you as I head out the door. It's time consuming but enjoyable for both and regardless of what kind of day he's had, he's so loved up and sleepy by the end of it he's happy to wave me off. On the very rare occasion he gets up then it's no more warm and lovely mummy, it's a swift return to bed with the briefest kiss on the head.
It sounds like all the behaviours your son is exhibiting are a cry for more attention. Even though he's tired he's not feeling cosy and ready to drift off, he's wired and wants your attention whatever the cost. Since you are spending so much time on bedtime anyway I would really look at how you can make it the most positive, enjoyable and most of all predictable experience possible. And once the bedtime routine is over be unwaiveringly boring in your response to the negative behaviours he shows. If he wets the bed just be very business like about it so he doesn't know he's pushing your buttons. Change the sheets and put a pull up on him, then give him a kiss and remind him you love him.
I remember several years ago listening to Holly van Gulden speak and she talked a lot about constancy and permenance and of a child doesn’t have this (which a lot of children who have been adopted have missed out in early childhood experiences and so may have missed out on key areas of development) can really struggle at bedtime. The thought being that if they close their eyes will things still exist? If they don’t have permenance, that then becomes questionable so do what they can to avoid sleeping for the fear that things might disappear while they sleep. It’s outlined in a book called “Dance of attachment” by Holly van Gulden. I never really thought of it at all until I read your post. I wonder if that has something to play? Might be worth reading about.
My son (adopted) is a really good sleeper but if he has had a happy day, he might delay bedtime. We stick to a very concise routine because dragging it out drags out the separation and abandonment he feels at bedtime. We go through spells of sitting outside his bedroom door, legs extended and door open, so that he can’t make eye contact but see our feet, and read or something so he knows we are there. He feels much more secure knowing we are nearby.
Also, does he have a transitional object that smells of you? A scarf or your pillow? That might make him feel closer to you.
Terms of wetting the bed, I’d just start putting him in a pull up too. I’d also have a spare duvet, made up so it’s a quick change and don’t say too much.
Have you tried audio books? You could even record yourself and play that back when your not in the room? It might be worth a try. When my son is dyaregulated, he sings and dances (which also consists of throwing himself on the floor and stamping. I think it’s sensory with him).
I don’t know if this helps but might be something you’ve not tried.
Our's is only 2 but also a nightmare sometimes. I'm afraid we just stay with her til she falls asleep as we quickly concluded that any alternative would just drive us all crazy. She then ends up in our bed at some point through the night lol. Even when we are right there next to her she can give us a run for our money. I've found that what helps is reminding her what I expect of her just before the lights are turned out and being consistent. I think it's about letting them know that you're there without allowing them to dictate their own terms. For example the bed wetting; just insist that he wears pullups until he can keep his bed dry. Mine still wears pullups but has started constantly saying she needs a wee just after we turned the lights out so we humour her one time and after that I tell her she can do it in her pullup now and don't allow her back out of bed. Your's might be a bit old for this but mine also likes to be wrapped up in her towel after her bath and be rocked and sung to like a baby. On nights we do this she seems to mess about much less. I think having that 'baby time's reasures her a bit. It is hard I know but I think just staying calm and consistent and choosing your battles carefully is the key. Good luck xx
We have 20 minutes of tablet time together when AD4 goes to bed. She loves the CBeebies story app. It's set to automatically turn off at 7.20 and won't switch on again until 6.30. Once it's off she's allowed to use the toilet/potty once then we stay with her until she's asleep. We've tried lots of different ways to fall asleep without us and they've all worked for a few weeks but ultimately staying is the only consistent thing that has worked. She also has nightlights in her room and on the landing and a blackout blind. We've found the gro bulb creates the perfect light for sleeping. We know because we frequently fall asleep with her. We alternate who puts her to bed and if she cries for the other parent they will put in a brief appearance to reassure her before going back down.
Ultimately it's down to consistency of approach. Kids will push against it to check they are safe and we hold on to the fact that if she's done it in the past she'll do it again in the future.
Bed time was really hard here, now if I stick to our routine its okay, but it has taken a long time to get there.
My son turned five in June and he has been with me since he was 18 months. He only started sleeping alone last May/June, he still gets in my bed most nights when he wakes in the night, pretty much 4am on the dot.
My routine is generally no electronics an hour before bed, bath, we read together in his reading chair in his room, talk about one thing we liked/didn’t like that happened in the day then I get in bed with him and he gets a back rub/tickle. It can take anywhere between half an hour to an hour and a half, sometimes he doesn’t want me to leave, when that happens I either stay in his room and read etc until my bed time and sleep there or I take him into the living room and he sleeps on me on the sofa and then comes into my bed with me.
We don’t have bed wetting but he will often get out of bed and wee on the floor in the night, we talk about it, never in an angry way and he has both a potty and a puppy pad on the floor to reduce the clean up the next day.
Would he keep a pull up on? If not you can put tape around them (but not on the skin) that makes it much harder to pull them down.
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