AIBU to want some sleep?(52 Posts)
Hi, am looking for advice and support. I posted in parenting but don't think my sleep deprived brain did it properly so this is an abridged version. I have two DS aged 5 and 4. DS2 has not slept properly for four years, he either won't settle for hours (following quiet time, bath, milk and supper, story in bed and a song) or wakes at 3am and will not go back to sleep. He wakes the whole house running about, going into DS1's room or playing loudly. I feel exhausted I have tried pretty much every technique to help him to sleep better (co sleeping, gradual retreat, reward charts, consequences of not going somewhere the next day etc, lots of positive praise), I have spoken to HV three times - her most recent advice was to go on a parenting course with DH. Also spoken with GP who poo pooed the sleep issues, but did refer DS2 to audiology due to his 'soft speech.' We discussed the situation with his teacher, who said he is good in class but can sometimes be a bit head in the clouds. DS2's behaviour at home is worsening: eating a limited diet, won't sit at table, screaming (his vocabulary is average for 4 year old), and the final straw is hitting me hard/scratching/biting me. He has tantrums which are hard to control. DH is supportive but does not view it as such a big issue and can be inconsistent in his approach with the children. We are working through this and he seems to be starting to understand how bad I feel. I have recently gone full time at work, my job is quite stressful (criminal justice system) and we are currently refurbishing the house which we moved into a year ago. I desperately love my family but wish I could be 'signed off' from family life for a few weeks to get some peace and rest. Any ideas, help or advice would be much appreciated. Thanks S x
I've no advice as sleep deprived too but someone who can actually think straight will be along soon with some helpful advice
Have you tried controlled crying? Or did you mean that by "gradual retreat"?
Thanks for your replies. CIB we have to cling on to planning early morning hoovering outside their bedrooms when they're teens! Yes tried CC but he woke the whole house up running about and didn 't really work. x
Have you tried audio books at bedtime? Better that he is quiet in bed than running around. Or the golden ticket trick - give him 3 tickets to allow being out of bed if he 'needs' something, if he gets up after those are used he has to go to bed 15 mins earlier the next day.
For middle of the night would you consider a mattress on the floor in your room he could come to quietly?
If money allows, consider an experienced night nanny or sleep specialist input.
If you're wondering if he's on the spectrum think about an assessment.
Starting school is hard for them so I let go all I can but would come down hard on biting etc.
I know sleep deprivation well, it's an old familiar friend, so you have my sympathy.
Oh and do get signed off for a weekend. Book a weekend away with a friend and go. DH will cope and you can recharge the batteries. You need that.
It's a nightmare isn't it. Ds is 6 next week and sleep is still a major issue here.
I have been working with a sleep therapist through a local charity which is helping slowly but surely. A projector light and extra blankets to tuck him in tight and helping Ds settle better.
Try "the rabbit who wanted to fall asleep" and ditch the bath - they wake some kids up.
Sorry to ask but have you tried some proper disciplining? I'm not too delighted when I have to raise my voice and remove one of the kids from the room due to vad behaviour but if I didn't, they would take a bloody mile. Kids really push the boundaries but if you don't keep a tight reign on those boundaries they really take advantage and don't learn the difference between good and bad behaviour which leads them to not listen to parents which is frankly dangerous at times but at the least makes a home an unpleasant battlefield for everyone. I think a lot of parents are afraid to discipline these days because of lots if societal judgement and too much bloody blogs on gentle parenting but OP my question is do you discipline your children?
It's an honest question to think about, I really don't mean to be patronising.
Onthepigsback Have you never had a problem sleeping? No insomnia, nerves or anxiety? If you did, how would you respond to being "disciplined" for it?
For a child with sleeping problems - or an adult - all "disciplining" them will do is make them more anxious,more wound up and most likely make it harder for them to sleep.
Realistically the opposite is needed, a calm and consistent approach, as much as inside you may be wanting to shout and scream outside you need to keep that calm pretence.
But disappointed I read it that he is going to bed okay but waking up hyper?
Sorry if I'm wrong there.
Is he getting enough exercise in the day? Mine needs a lot of fresh air to not be bouncing off the walls.
Failing that, at age 4 I woukd actually tell him off and start taking away tv/toys/puddings for getting out of bed and disturbing everyone
He's also experiencing a lot of changes. He's at school, mum's gone back to work full time so that probably means extended childcare either side, the house is being renovated. He's probably quite out of his comfort zone. It's compounded sleep issues he already had.
I'd always try positive reinforcement rather than punishment - and yes, waking everyone else up is something to be addressed - but not being able to switch off and go to sleep is dreadful.
The Rabbit book I recommended has helped so many children I know - especially on audiobook. It helps them put their thoughts and questions to one side to enable sleep.
Have you tried sitting down and talking to him about a solution to this? Maybe if he comes up with it himself he'll be more inclined to stick to it. "How to talk so kids will listen" style.
I'm with onthepigs here. Why is the child running around the house waking everyone up. ? I would never allow this My mother would never had allowed us to do this. One look is enough, no smacking just firm not to be messed with discipline from BOTH of you, along with serious consequences for disobedience. This child has literally been allowed to run riot and run you down until you are too exhausted to be able to deal with it. The consequences have to have an impact though and you must follow through every time.
I agree with the discipline comment - at least to tackle the racing round the house. Get him understanding that he is allowed to leave his bedroom at night? That he wakes the house, and makes you cross.
Different generation I know, all the same I have never heard of any of my contemporaries having 'sleep issues'. Occasional bit of bed wetting if there had been a trauma in the family but that was about it. Bedtime consists of bath, story, bed. Kiss, sleep. And the only reason to get up is the loo or sickness. End of. Otoh we had very few 'parenting' books to tell us how 'wrong' we were being. I was taught that bedtime was Adult time and woe betide any of us children who disturbed that !
Thanks for your responses! We tried 'the rabbit who wants to go to sleep' book, to worked really well the first night. The second night he tantrumed so much it was impossible to read it to him I have talked to him about how sad we feel when he doesn't sleep and the impact on all of us. DS2 will say 'I'll be a good boy and sleep all night goniight,' then we get to the evening and he plays up. Yes tried firm discipline by telling him off, taking away his favourite toys and not being allowed to do something like the cinema (but one of us will take DS1). Marilyn what method do you use? Doesn't seen to have much effect unfortunately. Last night it took an hour and three quarters to get him to sleep, but then he woke up at 5.30am! I feel like he's in charge of the family, emotionally he is quite immature and difficult to reason with. I feel ashamed like I'm letting my family down by not making it better Could it be seperation anxiety because of me going FT? I could reduce my hours in the new year, but would be devastated to leave my job. Sirzy what was your experience like with the sleep therapist? I don't know whether to contact a sleep clinic near us, it's just so expensive. He does get exercise but I 'm wondering if enough, it's a catch 22 because his sleep is limited he's really exhausted when he finishes school. We will go to soft play once a week, but hard to take him to the park after we pick him up from after school club as it's dark early now. Thanks everyone x
So far it has made a big difference, I was lucky as it is provided via a local charity so no cost (although I do donate to them)
He still doesn't sleep perfectly but now he only takes an hour to get to sleep rather than 3 and he is calmer when dropping off to which is the important thing.
Have you tried the Super Nanny approach?Silent return to bed each and every time, and stick with it.
You know, doing the parenting course with your H might not be a bad idea. I think he needs to step up and get fully involved with sorting this out as it seems to me you are carrying the burden of it mostly on your own at the moment.
i would think he is almost definitely chronically overtired <i know you know this>, which is going to really compound things
what time is bedtime? I might be tempted to go for a really late bedtime (say 10pm) to avoid all the dicking about and ensure that when he goes off, he stays in bed for a decent stretch, and then gradually push it forwards by 15mins at a time.
this is going to sound really patronising, but how are you doing your reward charts? they work on positive reinforcement, so the child has to be able to get the first couple of rewards really quickly and easily e.g. a decent reward (much coveted toy) for just one night of going back to bed quietly when asked. once they start getting the positive reinforcement then you can give bigger goals and smaller rewards.
and could you take a week off work while you get started?
Another supporter of Onepig here.
Most kids will try things on. I can't imagine my parents would ever have stood for that running about waking everyone else up lark and I didn't either. Yes, occasionally they did try it on. Propelled firmly back to bed with me stridently reading the riot act and following through was what it took. Hardly any repeat performances.
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