Advanced search discipline dd for waking in the night ??

(75 Posts)
Tillyscoutsmum Mon 18-Jul-11 09:53:44

DD is 4.2 years. She slept through the night from about 12 months - no problems.

About 6-7 months ago, she started waking in the night. Sometimes its 4 or 5 times a night.

Initially, she called for us, we went in and asked what was wrong and she said nothing. More recently, she has given us "excuses" i.e. my duvet has fallen off (usually she has kicked it off) or she can't reach her drink (she could if she leant slightly out of bed).

We've tried talking to her about it. She's said that she's worried we've left her alone and she just wants to check we're there. We've tried to reassure her. We've tried reward charts with a treat for a certain number of nights sleeping through and they have worked periodically (so she can sleep through when she wants to) but they now seemed to have stopped working. We've given her night lights because she said it was too dark. We've left the door open because she decided she didn't want it closed any more. We're tried going in to give her a cuddle before we go to bed so she knows we haven't gone anywhere. We've tried everything.

She's exhausted and tired in the day and its affecting her behaviour. We're knackered (and its affecting our patience sad). She starts school in September and I'm concerned she won't cope with a full day if she's so tired.

This morning, after waking us up 3 times in the night and then appearing in our bedroom at 5am ready to start the day, I told her if she doesn't stop waking us up we will start taking away treats/toys as a punishment.


Bogeyface Mon 18-Jul-11 10:00:03

You will probably be told that you are but at 5am I dont know many people that would be reasonable!

There are 2 possibilities. Either she is getting something out of this and thats why she is doing it. It could be fuss or attention, and when she wakes she makes sure you come into her because she likes the attention. If that is the case then rather than engaging with her, simply go in tell her its sleep time, tuck her in a leave. No cuddles or kisses, just do what needs to be done and if she kicks off just keep saying its sleep time (or whatever phrase you use). When she realises that you are not talking to her and making it a fun thing to do then she may well stop as there is nothing in it for her.

Or, there is something going on in her life that is worrying her and stopping her from sleeping properly. From the fact that the reward chart worked I suspect that this isnt the case but it may be worth trying to find out if there is. Have you had another baby recently? Has she started pre-school? Is she worried about starting school, even if she says she isnt and appears excited, it can still be worrying.

FilthyDirtyHeathen Mon 18-Jul-11 10:06:54

YANBU for losing it slightly after being waken in the early hours but I think it would be unreasonable to punish her. I think it is probably a stage you will have to ride out. How you achieve that, I dunno, but I think what bogeyface says sounds reasonable (settle her back down, no talking, no negotitaing etc) and it always seems to work for SuperNanny!

Best of luck in AIBU - you may find some very 'black and white' responses coming your way. Next time try Parenting or Behaviour and Development.

FilthyDirtyHeathen Mon 18-Jul-11 10:07:54


worldgonecrazy Mon 18-Jul-11 10:08:00

You are asking if it is okay to punish your child for feeling insecure, and you really need mumsnetters to tell you whether that is reasonable or not?

I am sure there are mumsnetters on here who will tell you that you are being entirely reasonable. I'm not one of them.

mumblechum1 Mon 18-Jul-11 10:10:43

I'm afraid I would be very firm on this one.

It is doing no one any good to lose sleep every night and she needs to know that there will be consequences for her behaviour.

Only exception would be if she has a bad dream or something in which case she is allowed to get into your bed quietly, but no yelling in the night.

itisnearlysummer Mon 18-Jul-11 10:10:44

You might find that at the moment it's caused by anxiety around starting school.

Our DD was very excited about starting school and very much looking forward to it. But in the 3 or 4 months running up to it, she had a lot of disturbed sleep and bad dreams because as much as they are looking forward to it, it's a big step for them and can cause a bit of worry.

Talk to her about starting school. We asked DD and she was mostly worried about what she should do if she saw someone crying and we talked about that which did seem to help settle her somewhat.

robingood19 Mon 18-Jul-11 10:11:48

Instinct says it chinese mum type daftness. What will you be doing when the child is older. Junior Alcatraz?

yoshilunk Mon 18-Jul-11 10:12:00

It's not exactly bad behaviour but it is a bad habit, and she shouldn't be allowed to think it's okay to be waking you during the night or deciding that 5am is wake-up-morning time grin .

She is old enough to understand that if she happens to wake up (which could now be a habit) and it's dark or everyone else is asleep, that she puts herself back to bed until morning.

Have you tried a sleep time clock ? I had a sleeptime bunny clock for DS and if he came in to us to early we would simply say "erm, is bunny awake? No? then you shouldn't be, back to bed!" and after a while he would just check bunny and not bother us.

You could introduce the clock, tell her how it works i.e. what it means, and list and eliminate the other things that bother her before bed:-

if my duvet's off - then pull it back on,
if I can't get my drink - just reach for it
if it's dark - it's supposed to be it's nighttime you have a nightlight
i'm all alone - no you're not, we're not going anywhere
etc etc

Good Luck

iphonedrone Mon 18-Jul-11 10:12:01

You sound like a loon, you want to punish your daughter because she is inconveniencing you by being scared in the night?

She sounds horrible, lock her under the stairs

Mitmoo Mon 18-Jul-11 10:12:40

The child is clearly anxious about something as she is waking after she's fallen asleep. Don't punish the child unless you want to make it worse.

As others have said back to bed no fuss and maybe a word with a health visitor or doctor might be worth it just to rule things out.

Please dont punish her, she's not being naughty.

robingood19 Mon 18-Jul-11 10:13:21

I just remembered Tiger mum is popular here. If you cant cope with disruption dont have children

mumblechum1 Mon 18-Jul-11 10:14:41

iphonedrone, I don't see anything in the OP to indicate that she's scared in the night.

Lady1nTheRadiator Mon 18-Jul-11 10:16:52

My DS is 3.9 and has gone from being a brilliant sleeper to waking a few times, worrying, saying he doesn't like the light, heard a noise, etc etc. End of term tiredness? I can't imagine punishing him for feeling scared and unsettled. He doesn't 'get' anything out of waking up, he doesn't come into my bed, he gets reassurance and tucked in. We've been here before so IME the best way to deal with it is with love.

PenguinPatter Mon 18-Jul-11 10:17:49

My eldest DC slowly stopped doing this at around 4.5 - reduced with eldest when her siblings were in a room with her - tailing off with second DC who is just past 4 usually happens now when DH is away. Youngest DC tends to get into her siblings beds first.

I would worry less about school - pretty much all the DC are tried when they start - I just put eldest to bed earlier to compensate. On the plus side they sleep tend to sleep better - at least my friends DC do - even the ones who have always been poor sleepers.

I would also say that despite black out blinds our DC are waking early at the minute - and I know alot of other DC are. Work better for us on school days - more time to get ready and DC are brighter and better company in the mornings than after school.

I think you are wrong to punish - I'd work round for a while - going to bed earlier taking it in turns to have a lie in. Check there is nothing disbursing her sleep - perhaps try kipping in the room with her see if that helps - DH and I have done that on occasions.

robingood19 Mon 18-Jul-11 10:20:04

penquin. Get a tiger cub

PenguinPatter Mon 18-Jul-11 10:20:29

There are light clocks out there as well - ones that slowly light up at a set time. We used that when eldest was a baby - starting out at her waking hour and slowly pushing forward to a reasonable hour.

They are expensive though - and as the DC broke last one we haven't got another.

PenguinPatter Mon 18-Jul-11 10:21:58

robingood19 ?

Can't have pets - can't have fur for asthma reasons and hate cuddle toys for same reason. Do have three happy DC though.

RavenVonChaos Mon 18-Jul-11 10:22:00

Put a sleeping bag on floor next to your bed. If she wakes up she can sleep next to you. But gets a star if stays in own bed.

We regularly have one or other child with a nightime issue. ATM my eight year old is being woken up by seagulls and starts to hear strange noises in the house. A couple of nights in a sleeping bag next to me and all is fine.

I don't believe it sets up a pattern but actually reassures them and you all get sleep.

Good luck

reallytired Mon 18-Jul-11 10:23:40

I think childrern need boundaries. As soon as visitor comes in the night return her to her bed with minimal fuss. Don't talk, don't cuddle and don't let her into your bed. Ie. don't give her the attention she craves.

I can understand why you want to punish, but I think you will find it counter productive. Star charts for not disturbing you at night often work better than punishment.

Poweredbypepsi Mon 18-Jul-11 10:29:32

My daughter went through a similar phase we put her to bed in her room and also set up a sleeping bag on the floor at the bottom of the bed (so she was in our room but not snuggled up in our bed taking up all the room!). We told her that if she woke up in the night and couldn't go back to sleep she could come into our room quietly and go to sleep in her sleeping bag. She did it fr weeks coming into our room and we would just wake up to find her at the end of the bed in her sleeping bag, then after a few weeks she started doing it less and less and it's very rare she wakes at night now ( she is 6 now).

Tillyscoutsmum Mon 18-Jul-11 10:33:04

Thank you for your responses - even the slightly batty ones hmm (robingood19 are you on some kind of mission to get the word tiger in to all your posts ?! hmm)

Its not (all) about disrupting me. Its about disrupting her. She also disturbs ds. I honestly don't think I'm a "loon" but the post about punishing her for feeling insecure did resonate sad.

Tbh, one of the reasons I put this in AIBU is because I wanted some more...errrr.. direct replies. My DH and I differ on this. My instincts say any sort of punishment is wrong (albeit, I did genuinely "lose it" with her this morning sad) but DH seems to think she is being naughty and should be punished.

As for the other suggestions - she currently doesn't get any attention. We go in, "fix" whatever she has asked for and tell her to go to sleep. There is a digital clock in her room and she knows she is supposed to stay in her room and play quietly until there is a "7" on the clock.

Assuming she is insecure - what can I do ? She is looking forward to school but does have some concerns which we have tried to address (and she seems happy enough with). Hopefully its just a phase that will pass ....

megapixels Mon 18-Jul-11 10:33:38

I wouldn't take her toys away or anything of the sort. DD2 is a few months older than your DD and if she has a bad dream or is anxious in some way she is welcome to come and hop into bed with us. I have done this with both my children (they are free to come and get in with us at night if they feel like it) and it has worked well for us. The older they grow the more infrequent it gets, DD2 comes in at the rate of once or twice every six months I think! Older one who's 9 practically never. I can't imagine chasing my children off if they wake up anxious in the night.

robingood19 Mon 18-Jul-11 10:34:07

powered. Original idea. Great

3littlefrogs Mon 18-Jul-11 10:41:32

I always had a sleeping bag arrangement on the bedroom floor for small people who got scared in the night. They just needed the reassurance of being close to us. I can remember being scared at night as a small child, waking up in a dark,quiet house.

I think overtiredness, overactive imagination, and anxiety all contribute to night waking. The consequent day time tiredness makes the situation worse.

It is a phase a lot of small children go through, and I think reassurance, not punishment, is the way to go.

I never cease to be amazed at the very high behavioural expectations so many people have of their very small children. sad

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