To want to cry(40 Posts)
I'm a single mum with a 5 year old and a 2 year old and they won't sleep, the 5 year old eggs on the younger and it can be 10 at night before they give in. I've reached breaking point and I have no idea what to do. It doesn't matter what I say or do. Tonight I've taken things away, cancelled a trip out and shouted. A lot! Made no difference. I'm frightened of my feelings tonight, I feel like hitting them to keep them quiet they've just started again with the I want game and I'm feeling so stressed I feel sick and panicky. I adore my children but I don't think I want to be a mum anymore
Hang in there OP. There's a reason that sleep deprivation and mental exhaustion is used as torture. I know it's hard but remember how incredible you are and all the things you do right. As far as they are concerned, you hung the moon and sun and stars, and you're perfect
even if you're losing your shit a bit right now. Take some deep breaths of night air, stare up at the stars for a minute, and try to let everything slow down.
Hanging in there with you.
Aw flowers, breathe and have a moment. I take my hat off to single parents, many a time the thought of DH coming home is the only thing that's stopped me jumping off the roof. Do you have anyone at all you can call so you have a friendly voice?
You poor thing, you're obviously at the end of your rope. Is there anyone at all who can give you a bit of respite, even if just for a night? Your mum, a friend etc. Some people swear by star charts etc. to help their kids get into a sleep routine - I don't have any experience of that but hopefully someone will be along shortly who can give you some proper advice.
Can you put them to bed separately?
Have the older one fake going to bed with the younger one, then once the younger one is settled, you and the 5 year old come down stairs and have some time- about 20 minutes, and then start bedtime?
I have made my overly active children run up and down stairs or done a jaunt to the park after supper to ensure tiredness!
Do they share a room OP? That makes things a bit trickier if so but I think you need to 'divide to conquer'. The 2 yr old is too young to get consequences so there's no point threatening them with removal of treats imo-they live entirely in the moment.
oh and meant to say-poor you, it must be really hard
Are they sharing a room? Mine share and my nearly 2 yr old can really wind up my 4 year old at bed time. I move the 4 year old into my bed if things are really bad, she thinks it's a big treat and will behave really well. I move her back when I go to bed. The toddler shouts her head off if I move her sister but I just ignore her
Thank you. No, no one I can turn to. They finally went quiet 5 minutes ago and I've broken out the spirits. I just hate the dread of knowing tomorrow will be a repeat of tonight.
I think you might need a bit of bribery with the 5 year old-they agree to be helpful in being quiet whilst younger sibling is put to bed with the promise of 30mins one to one time with you if they are perhaps?
They do share a room so I put one in my bed and one in their room, if I don't stay up there the next thing is my 5 year old throwing my bedside table contents down the stairs.
I'm a single mum too and feel your pain.
Can you put 5yo in your bedroom to sleep and 2yo in their own bed. When you are ready for bed move the (hopefully sleeping) 5yo back into their shared bedroom.
If they fall asleep at 10pm today, please try to go to bed at the same time so you are not shattered tomorrow.
good luck, it's horrible when you are tired and don't have any support. I'm thinking of you
Sorry I cross posted and see that you already sleep them separately. Can you try daytime bribes tomorrow?
Why is 5yo throwing things down the stairs? Over tired, not tired enough, behavioural dofficulties?
Really feeling your pain. I also have a 5 year old and a 2 year old and have felt exactly the same as you are now, many a time. I can't imagine how relentless and difficult it is when you're dealing with it all on your own as well.
Agree with others re taking a step back to breathe / cool down. Divide and conquer a good plan if you can logistically manage it.
My 2 can be a nightmare at bedtime, things that help are no screen of any form, sweet food including fruit, and no thrilling or physical games for at least an hour before bed. I agree with trying to put the little one down first and the older one later. Instead of taking things away make them earn having time on things so it incentives them. Sorry if that's nothing new, am trying to think of helpful type stuff. It's truly crap when you feel so close to popping. You're doing great, be kind to yourself
Op you sound as though you are at the end of your tether
Do your dc have separate bed times? I found with mine at that age that they responded well to me putting ds to bed at say 6.30 with my undivided attention whilst dd watched end half hour of cbbees with a mug of milk. So I would help him to wash, brush his teeth and get into pjs and the read to him. Then at 7pm I would do the same for dd.
I found that doing a running commentary in a quiet voice helped them to stay focused and calm. So ds, now sweetie, arms up lets get this top off, on with your pj top, that right arms in..... lets get your bear settled for the story, yes he likes to listen too, now lets get you comfy...... and so on.
By focusing them on my voice I found that they would be almost in a trance whilst I helped them get ready. Then I would read quietly acting out the story line with different voices for different characters.
I do empathise, it is bloody hard sometimes. For tonight though as you are really stressed maybe a calming film for them to watch (in pjs and ready for sleep) whilst you try to relax?
Deep breaths Op, I am sure others will be along to offer some help.
OP. No real advice to offer I'm afraid but feel for you and hope you're ok xx
Indeed there is a very good reason why sleep deprivation is used as a means of torture - guaranteed to drive you nuts!
You have flipped and let off a lot of steam tonight and that is no bad thing - don't beat yourself up about it. There is nothing wrong with you, and you have done nothing wrong. It is how we all feel at times.
We have all been there. And more importantly have survived. Please do what you find easiest and make your own rules. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to do this on your own and I truly take my hat off to you.
I used to start bed time early, put them in their beds after bedtime routine and read to them. I would let them pick a story each and when it was done get them to lie down and turn the lights off.
Use a night light and sit in the room with a cup of tea (travel cup) and a book until they fell asleep.
Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night.
I would sound like a broken record "it's night time, time to sleep"
It took a while but worked for us.
The problem is that at their ages they have little concept of things they haven't had eg a trip. And they will think that if you take something away, it will come back. It's the way they conceptualise. It is better to give them something positive so they can see the benefit of what you want them to do. Sticker charts, 10p a night in a jar for the older one are likely to work better than depriving them of things when they probably have lots of stuff. My daughter has ADHD and would not stay in bed. She fell in love with a friend's stuffed leopard. With 14 stars she could get her own leopard. It took her two weeks, and we never looked back. As others have said, it may be better to tackle them one at a time, get the littlest settled first. Whatever you try good luck, and as my MIL used to say, at least you know where they are at night. Wait till they are 16 and out for the night at a party. Now that is really scary!!! ( not minimising how hard it is for you, I could never have coped as a single mum.)
Put the two year old to bed first. In the run up, no sugary snacks or drinks at all.
Do you have black out blinds? They are a must imo
The five year old should know better. Choices equal consequences so remove his favourite toy or tell him that if he goes to bed and stays there tomorrow you will take him to his fav place? Park etc
If he doesn't stay in bed he doesn't go.
Some really helpful ideas, thank you. Looks like I'm rewriting the bedtime routine and starting much earlier. Bribery may work well with the eldest too
I think I would get heavy with the five year if there was any behaviour like throwing things downstairs-they wouldn't do that at school and are old enough to know that's unacceptable. Easier said than done I know
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