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To want to just walk away(72 Posts)
I have a ds who is 7, he's not slept for more than 4 hours straight since lockdown, literally tried everything. His reasons vary each night, too hot/cold, finger itches, covers come off, scared etc etc. GP has referred to community paed but been rejected and referred to school nurse who just sent me leaflets about nightmares/nigt terrors. I also have a dd whose 2, she is constantly being waken by ds all night too. I have had to stop working from home as deal with large sums of money and just cannot concentrate. DH is a farmer so works all hours.
This all has an impact on our mood in the day, both dcs are generally just a nightmare all day, groggy, crying, fighting, arguing, we are all just miserable.
Its now causing me and dh to argue too, I just feel like I've had enough, I have no idea how to make any of this better, I've done zero homeschooling for the last 8 weeks. My once happy smiley dd is now turning in to a terror and my ds just wont sleep and having tantrums all day. I just want a break.
My dh just keeps telling me there are people worse off, which i know but doesn't help, I feel like I've failed and guilty that i could even contemplate walking away.
Are they both in the same room? If so is there an option to separate them? Would ds benefit from having you or dh bunk in with them?
There are in seperate rooms, when ds wakes he starts screaming and crying because we wont keep putting him back in his room and then this is what wakes dd. So dd comes in with us as wont go back to sleep in her own room once woken. We've both tried sleeping in his room or him in our room but he will just lie there talking all night so still doesnt get much more sleep really.
Gosh this sounds awful. What was he like before the lockdown happened?
He wasn't too bad, we did have a phase of this not sleeping when dd was born and lasted for around 2 to 3 months but this seems another level.
He has told me quite a few times over lockdown he doesnt like his sister and she's the reason he's naughty
Does he get some solo time with you or dh? Could he get out and help dh with the farm for a good chunk of each day?
This is awful, you poor things. This is hellish. There are sleep consultants, I don’t have any experience of them. Could you afford to spend some money on this?
This sounds extremely tiring and upsetting for you all, so sorry. You sound exhausted and like you’ve tried what most people would suggest.
This might sound totally obvious but some things to try and reset sleep - massive long walk together, fresh air and make it fun by giving the kids a challenge that make 7 year old interact with 2 year old maybe? Obstacle course? Something to totally wear them out fingers crossed.
Massive long drive to get them to just sleep - it may help reset their lack of sleep (I’ve done this sometimes when desperate to make them less over tired)
It sounds like the relationship between your children may be making your son unhappy from what he’s said, did he say why? I bought a book called Emotionary when my then 4/5 year old wasn’t coping well emotionally and it’s great for all ages. It’s meant for older children but frankly I was desperate and it really helped me too to understand what my daughter was actually feeling. The big feelings your son has spoken about (fear, disliking his sister) are in there along with so many others and it gives a starting point for a really good conversation but it beautifully and calmly illustrated so helps break the current strong emotion too.
He will go to work with dh sometimes all day, just so we can try and wear him out but it doesnt make a difference.
He loves off road biking which we do 2 to 3 times a week in the hope that this tires him out but doesnt.
I've been thinking about sending dd back to the childminders twice a week in the hope that more alone time with me and ds might help him.
We used a sleep consultant for ds when dd was born, helped a little but not that much I'd go racing back to her.
Thanks @fourandnomore will look for that book, i will literally try anything at this point.
I think seven is old enough to understand the impact this is having on others. I'd tell him he doesn't have to sleep but he does have to stay in bed and rest.
I saw something months where parents went to great lengths to create a ‘safety spray‘ and even got delivered to them at home. It was fragrant water In a bottle with a label which they sprayed in the room at night and said that would keep the child safe.
My 7YO has also had trouble sleeping since lock down started. He was waking up about 3/4 times in the night and coming into our room. To be fair, I don't have a 2YO, but I do have a 5YO at home as well.
I've tried to see it from his point of view. His entire world has changed completely. There is no school. He doesn't go to the childminder anymore. He hasn't seen his friends in months and only fleetingly seen his cousins who he usually sees frequently. He probably can't understand that eventually those things will return. His routine has gone to shit and he is a child who thrives on routine. He is quite an anxious child anyway.
I'm also working from home so am present at home more. My kids genuinely cannot fathom that I can be both working and at home. They do not understand why I am not available to play etc when I am working. They get upset that I can't come and play or spend time with them. Even though daddy is sitting right there with them. I also struggle with the transition and I feel so guilty I'm not able to be 'at home' while I'm at home. He's clingy with his dad as well though because he goes out to work and is all over him when he comes back.
What I'm trying to say is cut him some slack. Cut yourself some slack. How much undivided time does he get with you on his own? I've started going out with my eldest for a walk in evening after tea. It's only half an hour or so, but we can talk about things together and it means he gets all my attention and more importantly, he knows he will have it every day. I also set up a time table for the week day. It's something that makes me cringe, but my eldest loves it. It's written out on the fridge door. He knows what order things are going to happen in every day. He also knows that he's got to do his homework. We do an hour a in the morning (we actually do more but I don't tell him the fun crafty things I do in the afternoon with them are from school!).
It's hard. But you can do this.
He can see the impact it has, I explain to him that lack of sleep means we are all going to be grumpy, short tempered and tired the next day. But he is just relentless.
I dont know if its his behaviour affecting his sleep, or his sleep affecting his behaviour if that makes sense.
He is so needy/clingy in the day to me and or dh but its hard to give him all the attention when i have a demanding toddler. Plus the attention he wantsbis excessive.
Thank you @Fatted thats really helpful to know.
Your ds sounds very similar to mine. He has always been quite anxious too and when there is a big change it does affect his sleep. I know the lockdown has triggered this and now possibly brought to light more of his insecurities.
I have no practical advice but just wanted to give you a virtual hug.
Lockdown is so difficult and definitely having an affect on children's behaviour. My 3 year old, who usually cried if she had an accident, began deliberately wetting and soiling herself and seemed to take great pleasure in it. I was beyond stressed and worried. She's back at nursery now and the problems have disappeared overnight. I know that doesn't help you, but things will settle once there's some sort of normality and routine.
How often are they getting out of the house for a change of scenery? How much exercise are they getting to replace normal activity (including at school)? 💐
Your DH is a keyworker OP so in your shoes I would send back to school.
My DD was a nightmare at home.. She wouldn't sleep, wouldnt engage with homeschooling, wanted to be playing her game 24/7. I sent her back to school. She is now doing well, enjoying school, in a great routine and we are much happier as a family.
Thank you @Cam2020
I have thought more and more about sending him back, he was offered a place at the start of lockdown but i was allowed to work from home so didnt want to take advantage.
I've messaged the childminder and asked if its possible to send dd back from next week for her two days but its making me feel so guilty
We do plenty of exercise and walks out and i guess now more things are opening like zoos that will help i guess. But even doing 10 hours working with his daddy on the farm doesn't seem to wear him out
Audio books? Could he have an audio book that he can put on to listen to if he wakes up or is he just irrational and only wants company?
Or one of you sleeping in with him but wearing headphones (and listening to white noise) to try to cancel him out if he talks insistantly?
My truly dreadful sleeping DD1 learned to read at four, so we just used to tell her that as long as she was in her room and quiet she could do as she liked, so she'd put the light on and read piles and piles of books. She still wasn't sleeping, but she didn't wake anyone else (she's since been diagnosed ADD, which was part of the problem although we didn't know it at the time).
I feel you one of my children has autism and ADHD and only sleeps 3-4 hours a night.
Try foods with natural melatonin in before bedtime, porridge, bananas etc.
No screen time at least a hour before bed the blue light destroys the melatonin in the brain. Also a walk or something to tire him out before bed may help too.
Aw, don't feel guilty. All our lives have been turned upside down. I personally think it's less about being tired and more about them trying to impose some sort of control where they have none. Bloody tough times.
Only send dd if ds goes to school or you are rewarding his behaviour - if he claims he doesn't like her sending her to cm is reward...
Does he actually get punished in any way? Like removal of quad /tech /? Screaming and waking others at 7 is wrong.
It could be stress.
I suggest you take him out for 90 minutes in the late afternoon to run around outside. Then, give him melatonin before bedtime. My nephew had trouble sleeping as a child, and the melatonin worked. It had to be the strips that are placed under the tongue until they melt.
I’d consider sending him back to school if possible for a sense of normality and more stimulation. I’d also strongly consider medicating to break the cycle (with your GPs support). This has been months now and he’s clearly not going to suddenly go back to 8-7 sleeping. Even the psychosomatic effect of something like Nytol (not sure if they make a version for kids) could be enough to just flip him into a better sleep cycle. I have night terrors and my private sleep specialist recommended medication for this reason - your brain needs something to kick it back into the right routines. I know it won’t get a lot of support on Mumsnet but a neurotypical seven year old shouldn’t be screaming and up half the night, and modern medicine can help him with that.
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