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Getting desperate: 4 year old won't stay in bed!

(36 Posts)
CountingSparrows Thu 06-Dec-12 12:31:39

Ds has always been a good sleeper but occasionally gets unsettled (birth of sib; starting school; illness for eg). He gets into a habit of coming into our room or just shouting 'mummeeeeee' from his bed. It can be for a wee, drink, tuck in, anything really. Up to 10 times p/night shock

If I leave him he screams and shouts a d wakes others up. He knows he needs to stay in bed all night, quietly but seems unable to manage. He loses opening his advent calendar, various treats and rewards which have been offered. He seems unable to help it.

Can anyone advise, getting so desperate.

Tgger Sat 08-Dec-12 22:54:09

Gah! Why do parents let 4 year olds be in charge like this? Sorry, bug bear of mine. I know it's a different style of parenting, but IMO you are setting yourself up for disaster if you let them decide what happens.

TowMater Sat 08-Dec-12 22:59:44

It does sound like your son is an anxious boy, and what you just mentioned about him being obsessed with being tucked in made me wonder whether he has other sensory issues. My son is a very anxious boy and we had horrendous problems in the past with his sleeping pattern, and we ended up talking to a sleep consultant. Some advice she gave, which might possibly be worth considering, is whether there is any part of his environment that is there when he settles to sleep that isn't when he wakes? For example, is his room darker then when he went to sleep, or is there less noise in the house? A change in environment can trigger anxiety and recurrent night time waking.

I think you should chat to your GP about how anxious your son is, or maybe CAMHs might be a good place to go for advice on how to teach him to regulate himself so that he's not getting overwhelmed?
Also, have you considered a groclock?

Tgger Sat 08-Dec-12 23:03:37

I agree with the pp, but I would also consider that if you give young children too much responsibility re deciding what goes on it makes them more anxious, not less.

BertieBotts Sat 08-Dec-12 23:16:04

Was that aimed at me? I put letting in quotes for a reason, but anyway.

CountingSparrows Sun 09-Dec-12 10:38:20

Really interesting reading, thanks. We all patent differently and all our children are different too so what works for some etc etc. There isn't a right or wrong way, as long as we are being kind, fair and thoughtful about it.

Its a really good point about feeding anxieties by giving them too much control. I am sure I do this do can change that. I ask him too many questions and encourage him to make decisions too much. That's why he has such a good relationship with his dad, fairly strict and inflexible dh I suspect.

He definitely has sensory issues; socks have to be inside out due to seams, no labels, hates wet and dirt etc. very 'fussy' about things like that. Also strong gag relflex and can be put off his dinner by anything (like making eye contact with the dog grin confused)

I gave considered talking to someone about it but worry about making it into a big deal.

He stayed in bed again last night btw! I slept with poorly baby though. Well, I say slept...

thornrose Sun 09-Dec-12 10:57:31

Counting - I had similar problems when my (now 13yo) dd was this age. It's very intereresting that you said if you were a single parent you would have had ds in your bed. That was me and I spent the next 7 years trying to get her out blush so well done for not "giving in".

Regarding the anxieties, I felt instinctively with my dd that they were very real and needed to be acknowledged and in some ways she did need "control."

Your ds may benefit from some support with his sensory issues and anxiety and that can take time to get in place. It might be a good idea to start the ball rolling now.

thornrose Sun 09-Dec-12 11:02:17

Tgger - sticking to my guns and not engaging never made my child "stop fussing". It's great that it worked for you though.

NagooHoHoHo Sun 09-Dec-12 11:07:28

You talking to anyone about how to manage his anxiety need not be making a big deal of it to him. Yes it's acknowledging it, but only between you and the HV.

CountingSparrows Sun 09-Dec-12 13:50:41

Oh yes that would be fine, I just mean if he had to talk to someone about it. I will talk my very good gp I think, as she can refer us if necessary. What would be the likely route, what is done to help anxious children if help is deemed necessary? That is what worries me, him realising he is unusual.

cheekydino Sun 09-Dec-12 15:06:17

Hi OP - we have had similar issues with our ds (4) and he's just been diagnosed with sensory processing issues among other things. He was diagnosed a bit by accident as we had been referred to a paediatrician for something else which turned out not to be anything, and also saw an OT. It has been really useful as he now has an IEP at his preschool and they help him with some of his issues about messy play and dressing. He has no idea that there is anything different about him and the assessment was just playing really. We got a big list of things to do to help him cope with the sensory issues. We have found it hard to know when to give him some control and when to be strict, but bedtime we decided to let him have the sensory issues as he likes them (door open, landing light on, sheet a particular way) but get cross if he does things like call us back for an extra cuddle or acts like he can't reach his water which we leave next to his bed. I'm just glad we have the chance to work on things before he starts school as he wouldn't have coped, I think, starting without them being aware of his issues and would probably have had lots of inexplicable (to them) meltdowns.

Would recommend getting referred to an OT if you can.

CountingSparrows Sun 09-Dec-12 19:26:51

Thanks, really helpful. Might explain why he has been so difficult since starting school. I will phone gp tomorrow and make an appointment. Thanks again.

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