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DD will not settle down at night, never has, she's nearly 9 now...

(19 Posts)
TheMoistWorldOfSeptimusQuench Tue 28-Jun-11 09:27:41

And I so want to break this cycle.
Always had a very sturdy bedtime routine, but she was 5 before she slept through the night, and she still seems to have major problems staying in bed, winding down and settling for the night.

At the moment, she goes to bed around 8pm, I read to her for about 20 minutes, then she can read with her light on til about 9 - 9.30, when I tell her to switch the light off and say goodnight. She then listens to a story cd until she drifts off - well, that's the theory, anyway.
What actually happens is that she'll find any excuse to get out of bed, multiple toilet visits, I find her drawing, surreptitiously playing on the bedroom floor, chatting to herself and generally farting about. I spend the whole evening on edge, listening out for her, repeatedly going upstairs to ask her to settle down... its exhausting and very stressful. It's often 11.30 before she finally sleeps.

Recently cut out a bedtime drink, but hasn't made any difference to the number of toilet trips.

There has been other more bizarre behaviour but this is already very long, and that's probably another thread anyway.

We are single parent / only child, but very supported by family and she's close to her dads 2nd family (2 younger sisters). She has some SEN (particularly around memory and concentration). I'm meeting her teacher this afternoon and will discuss this with her too, but just wondered whether you lovely helpful people can help?
Thanks smile

TheMoistWorldOfSeptimusQuench Tue 28-Jun-11 10:54:21


suzikettles Tue 28-Jun-11 11:04:51

How is she during the day? Is it very hard to get her up in the morning?

I was similar to your dd when I was her age. I've never found it easy to get to sleep and my mum was very strict with bedtimes and bedtime routines but it made no difference. Even as a tiny child apparently I would be lying awake when my mum came to check on me hours after she'd put me to bed (didn't stop her putting me to bed early - she was a great believer in post 6.30pm being adult time!). When I was older I would read or play with my toys by the hall light, and sometimes put my bedroom light back on once my parents had gone to bed.

Ds has also never been a 7-7er despite my attempts (he's 4). I've now compromised with a 8.30pm bedtime and have stopped worrying too much about when he actually goes to sleep as long as he stays in his room (the up and down is a nightmare I agree).

Anyway, I suppose the important thing is that both ds & I don't suffer any daytime problems from this reduced sleep - ds does sleep slightly later than possibly most children his age but bounces up with no problems and is on the go all day, I do find it hard to get up in the morning but again, no daytime sleepiness/lack of concentration.

I think we're all different and some of us do genuinely need less sleep. However I'll be watching this thread because of course I do feel guilty that ds isn't getting 12-14 hours a night like most of his friends and that I'm a bad mother because of that...

StayingDavidTennantsGirl Tue 28-Jun-11 11:12:22

Might it be worth letting her settle in her own time for a while, to see what happens - during the summer holidays, so she's not having to get up for school the next day. Lay some ground rules - she has to be quiet, especially if you have gone to bed - and can't do any messy activities (bit of colouring/drawing - fine, painting, not fine).

If she copes well with this, plus a relatively normal getting-up time, then maybe she just doesn't need as much sleep as most children. But if she finds herself getting tired the next day, and not enjoying her holiday, maybe she will realise that going to bed a bit earlier will help her enjoy her daytimes more. Plus maybe you will be able to relax a bit, if it is a planned thing, and that will reduce your stress about it all, which will be good for you, even if it doesn't have a direct effect on the situation. You might also find that if she's getting no response from you, she'll stop.

Obviously this is all just supposition, and I realise I don't have your experience of this situation, so I'll absolutely understand if you dismiss all of this as total tosh, and will just send you positive thoughts and your dd sleepy ones. smile

TheMoistWorldOfSeptimusQuench Tue 28-Jun-11 11:23:37

Thank you both. That's a good suggestion, Staying.
She is quite difficult to wake in the morning, and I wonder whether tiredness contributes to the problems she experiences at school.

Thing is, I'm very similar to her, and can really empathise. I can be exhausted all day, but tend to go "boing!" around 9.30pm, so end up doing a lot of (quiet) faffing about of my own, in between dealing with her, going to bed too late, and so the cycle continues... maybe we both need sleep

StayingDavidTennantsGirl Tue 28-Jun-11 13:45:07

I'm right there with you, getting a second wind at 9.30, faffing into the small hours, and tired the next day, TMWOSQ!

Pkam Tue 28-Jun-11 20:15:11

My niece (8) is also exactly like this. Regularly still awake bouncing around her room at 11pm. She has always been the same, seems to need less sleep and finds it very difficult to self-settle. She lives with my PIL and we regularly have her and our nephew to stay with us. I find it very difficult to deal with as she disturbs the other DCs and I find it difficult to relax if I know she's awake and possibly up to all sorts of mischief (which I think she does when she gets bored). She occasionally will say things like 'I can't keep my brain from thinking' and 'my legs won't go to sleep' as an explanation. The best approach for us (& PILs) has always been to tire her out both mentally and physically; just one or the other doesn't work, it has to be both. Also if she plays on her DS or similar in the run up to bedtime she is 100% worse so that is restricted!

TheMoistWorldOfSeptimusQuench Tue 28-Jun-11 21:27:35

Nice to know I'm not alone SDTG smile

Pkum, thank you. Agree, definitely no screen time! God knows I try to wear her out after school - swimming, dancing, roller skating, homework, helping me cook... but it doesn't seem to do any good. I sympathise with your family.

Teacher suggested turning her light off earlier, which I've tried tonight, but have already been up once in response to the tell tale sound of her rifling through the Playmobil box... gah!

TheMoistWorldOfSeptimusQuench Tue 28-Jun-11 21:28:23

Sorry Pkam

Greenwing Tue 28-Jun-11 21:36:01

Try talking to your GP about it. My son was prescribed Circadin, a drug containing melatonin which is a chemical the brain naturally produces when you sleep. It made a huge difference not only in him settling to sleep but also in him staying sound asleep during the night. He was properly rested for the first time and his behaviour in the daytime improved ENORMOUSLY as a result.

isthismadness Tue 28-Jun-11 21:41:35

There is a good book by millpond called teach your child to sleep, I think.

It sounds like your dd has a late sleep phase cycle (ie needs same amount of sleep but naturally goes to bed and wakes later). There is a step by step plan to fix it

I'm sure the lack of sleep is somehow making her concentration problems worse

overmydeadbody Tue 28-Jun-11 21:43:36

Oh I really sympathise with you, my DS is 8 and exactly like this! it drives me to distraction sometimes.

We have a reward token system in place for him anyway, and staying in bed after lights out earns him a triple token (worth 12 minutes on the computer, highly sought after!) and yet he has only ever earnt one of these tokens three times! So even with a big incentive he can't do it.

The best thing I have found is to utterly utterly wear him out, and I mean seriously wear him out, and then have a very calm bedtime, lie with him.

TheMoistWorldOfSeptimusQuench Tue 28-Jun-11 22:22:51

Oh wow Greenwing, really?
In the worst times I've vaguely thought about mild short term sedition, but dismissed the idea as desperate and just, well, wrong... but if it helped her function better during the day and improved her quality of life and school experience I don't think I'd have a moral problem with that. I'm expecting the school nurse to call me this week, after todays meeting, so will sound her prior to Gp.
The book sounds interesting too, isthismadness. Thank you all so much for your help.

TheMoistWorldOfSeptimusQuench Tue 28-Jun-11 22:26:11

That would be sedation and sound her out

Bloody phone

Pkam Wed 29-Jun-11 14:20:52

I've made a note of Circadin too Greenwing and will be passing on to PILs to talk through with niece's GP. Although I too have a small voice saying, 'but that's just wrong', if it improves the quality of her waking day (not to mention the reduction in arguments and general family tension) it's certainly worth getting a GP view on.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Wed 29-Jun-11 16:31:16

I don't think melatonin is classed as a sedative, it's more a case of supplementing a natural chemical that you may be deficient.

happyhuggies Tue 27-Sep-11 22:53:59

HI, my daughter is the same she is now 9, we would settle her for bed at 8.00 pm with everything bath, quiet time and story, it took her 5/6 hours to go to sleep, she constantly said her brain wouldnt stop thinking and would do anything to amuse herself and stay awake, tried sitting with her every night for a week, still took 5 hours to go to sleep and we were totally at our wits end, eventually went to gp, she wasnt understanding but referred us, now with sleep clinic and on melatonin,different child and asleep 15 -30 minutes after in bed. Daughter also has processing information problems (dyslexia) and have been told this is common in these children.

AngelDog Tue 27-Sep-11 22:59:53

This book has been highly recommended by some insomniacs on MN.

Quintessentialist Tue 27-Sep-11 23:09:53

It has been a while since you posted (love your old incarnation), and I wonder what would happen if you got her to bed really early, like 8pm?

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