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3 yr old sleeps with my husband and my mum but not with me (mum)

(32 Posts)
Shaluk Sun 24-Feb-13 22:02:56

I have not posted on mumsnet before....but am going out of my mind with sleep deprivation. My son is 3 yrs and 3 mths old - he is controlling me at night wanting me to stay with him until he falls asleep (I either sit on the floor or on the chair next to his bed) and then will wake 3-4 times a night, obviously checking if I am still there. I have tried everything under the sun (night light is on...., stickers, thomas books, chocolates etc) but nothing works. A typical night would be he falls asleep at 7.45pm, then wakes at 12am, 4am, 5am and then 6am when he is awake for the day. So here is my frustration - when my husband or my mum puts him to sleep, they tuck him in and walk out of the room and he goes to sleep on his own - waking up only once in the night and then at 6.30am or 7am!!! So he knows I am too soft!!! I have an 8 yrs old who is special needs and also a 5 year old - if I let 3 yr old cry it out the other two will wake and the last time I tried this it lasted for 2 hours and everyone woke up!! It is a living nightmare. Some nights I go to his room at 4am and he won't fall asleep and I sit there freezing and praying it won't take ages....but then as I creep out he starts to cry again....
please please, can anyone help?
Thank you.

exoticfruits Sun 24-Feb-13 22:11:43

You poor thing- you can't go on like that. Can't DH do it every night until he gets into a habit?

Shaluk Sun 24-Feb-13 22:15:11

Unfortunately he's not always back for bed time....

Uppermid Sun 24-Feb-13 22:18:01

What about when he does get home he takes over the settling in?

Shaluk Sun 24-Feb-13 22:23:13

It depends, often he is too tired and wants to eat and feels that our son should learn to sleep with me putting him to sleep and thinks I should be stronger.

mercibucket Sun 24-Feb-13 22:57:14

can you cosleep or is that not possible? at that age mine just got out of bed themselves and came in with us. no help at bedtime tho, i know sad

Uppermid Sun 24-Feb-13 23:00:27

Tell him that you can't be stronger because you've had no sleep!!

Goldmandra Sun 24-Feb-13 23:05:27

How does you being stronger stop him waking up his siblings?

BlackSwan Sun 24-Feb-13 23:59:05

My 3 year old has just started demanding I stay for longer and longer until he goes to sleep and then gets into our bed around 11 anyway! I have given up, as the alternative is waking up to settle him constantly. It's like having a baby again. Feel your pain.

BreadForMyBREADGUN Mon 25-Feb-13 00:02:05

I think this is the age that I gave up with the bribery and the begging and started shouting.

Sorry, that's not massively helpful

FannyBazaar Mon 25-Feb-13 00:04:45

Would everyone get a better rest i he just came into your bed when he wakes? Would he/could he do that?

exoticfruits Mon 25-Feb-13 08:32:19

I think that I would explain to the 3yr old that you are tired and you are not sitting with him. If he cries I would tell him that he will have to go to bed earlier so that his crying doesn't keep the others awake. Just let him cry, keep going back and saying in a calm way, 'night, night, sleep time'. Once DH gets home he can take over and you can get the others to bed. DH gets up if he cries in the night. You could try letting him look at books before the light goes off. I can't see that co sleeping is any help because you don't want to go to bed with him.
Tell DH that you want to be stronger but the pattern is now so entrenched you need his help to change it.

Iggly Mon 25-Feb-13 08:36:05

What about trying to go back in after 5 mins. Leave then back in five minutes instead of leaving him to sleep alone? So he learns that you will be back but he sleeps alone? Be confident in dealing with him, tuck him in and say goodnight, that you're going out of the room and will be outside but he has to stay in bed. Tell him firmly you'll be back in five minutes". Leave, wait outside for 5 mins then go back in, tuck in bed - do not engage in conversation - anything he says just say "night night DS time to sleep, I'm going outside and will be back in 5 minutes", then go and back in after 5 mins. main thing is to tell him you'll be back. Keep going until he gets the idea. Might take a while but at leat you're not sat there stewing.
Also can you give him a dim night light?

Finally does he get enough special attention from you? A bedtime story and cuddle with just you, 10-15 mins of play in the day with just you but led by him?

Shaluk Mon 25-Feb-13 10:32:12

Thank you all so much for your messages. Firstly I have tried putting DS in my bed but he still won't sleep, after 15 mins he asks to go back to his own bed. Once he did fall asleep but still woke up after a while, it's like he can't switch off at night and is obsessed with my presence. He has a night light on all night and loads of teddies around him to make him feel safe. He also has a story on his own with just me before he sleeps and one to one time when older ones are at school.
DH won't wake during the night, he has v stressful job and is in spare room as needs to function. I am willing to try the 5 minute returning method at bed time or DH can put DS to sleep but my issue is what do I do when he wakes up 4 times during the night? He just cries but as soon as I put my hand on him or sit on his bed he stops. I know this is just a phase, maybe I just need to ride it out....I just feel so bad for my older two kids as I'm always shouting and lacking in enthusiasm / energy.

Goldmandra Mon 25-Feb-13 10:47:27

Have you tried giving him a t-shirt or other top of yours which you have worn to sleep in? It will smell of you and might just be enough to help him feel settled. I am a childminder and this works well for settling babies in my care.

Shaluk Mon 25-Feb-13 11:44:18

That's a good idea, I will try it tonight - thank you.

Iggly Mon 25-Feb-13 11:58:40

Do the same for night wakings. But it might e that because you are there when he sleeps, he doesn't realise you've gone hence waking up wanton you.
Does he have any cuddle toys? Might be worth getting some - ds (3.4) has all of a sudden taken a shine and has loads in his bed for comfort!

sparkleshine Mon 25-Feb-13 12:04:44

I can see how frustrating this must be for you. My 3 yr old DS has similar habits. He manages to sleep through the night at his dads and both grandparents but at home he somehow wakes and comes into my bed. Most of the time I don't know until morning which isn't too bad and it's just me. He also takes longer to settle at home, wants to go to bed later etc. think it's cause he ( and maybe you) know us mummy's are a soft touch.

Antidote Mon 25-Feb-13 12:08:31

I would suggest that you start doing exactly what your DH & mum do at bed time. Shadow them for a couple of goes at the weekend, then replicate what they do. Tell DS that mummy & daddy will be doing bedtime the same way from now on.

Clearly he is capable of self settling, and as you say is treating you differently because it gets a different reaction.

We had something similar with DS (age 2) where I was very routined about bed & DH let him basically do what he wanted till he fell asleep (and then wondered why it took me 15mins and no screaming and took him 2hours with a massive tantrum). We decided that my way was "better" and he copied me for one night, then I supported him while he took the lead for a night, and now we basically have a routine that is the same for both of us.

Good luck.

exoticfruits Mon 25-Feb-13 16:51:09

I kept it very boring if they woke at night- I didn't switch any lights on and spoke in whispers- patted them on the head and said 'shhh night time - everyone's asleep - night- night' and crept out- it seemed enough.

princessx Tue 26-Feb-13 13:12:14

This isn't a long term solution at all but could you either go to bed with him in your bed and just stay there and fall asleep with him? Benefit for you is an early night. Although you would have to pre plan so you had everything organised before you went to bed.

Or you could follow normal bedtime routine and put in his own bed, but when he wakes up, let him come into your bed and stay there all night.

I know the risk is you will set a precedent, and a normal bedtime routine keeps kids happy and settled, rather than not knowing what the rules are . It's just if he is so desperate for your company/ presence it could be worth a try giving it to him.

Not sure if that helps, just a thought. I am co sleeping at mo and all going well. The difficulty will prob come when I decide to stop.

SneezySnatcher Tue 26-Feb-13 13:33:38

I pinched an idea from the 'no cry sleep solution' for DD (3 next month).

We drew our routine out on paper to make a timetable. So I drew bath, PJs, gro-clock, toothbrush, potty, stories, bed. We follow this religiously every night (whoever puts her to bed). We ask her to tell us the next step every time. This has worked like magic for us.

Shaluk Wed 27-Feb-13 10:08:35

Thank you again for your support. Princessx - my DS will not sleep in my bed, after 15 mins he asks me to put him back into his bed which he must prefer! SneezySnatcher, I too bought that book and made a book with my DS but didn't work. I also gave him my t-shirt to sleep with but after the first night he did not want it in his bed anymore!
I had the worst night last night, it seems to get worse when DS goes to nursery, over half term he didn't wake up as many times, last night it was 5 times! I feel like I have an illness, continuous sleep deprivation is like being sick all the time. DS goes to nursery 5 mornings a week, maybe it's too much and he can't switch off at night.
Anyway thanks again.....

BreadForMyBREADGUN Wed 27-Feb-13 10:36:54

Sorry if I've missed this further upthread, but has he always done this or has it got worse since stating nursery? I wonder (and please don't take this the wrong way) if he's just feeling insecure and does this at night because he knows he'll get your attention that way. Was there anything else different about half term that might have helped him sleep better at night - more time with you, or more exercise?


Shaluk Wed 27-Feb-13 12:53:15

He's always been a bad sleeper but now at it's worst.
I think all those things you've said are true - he's insecure, he has more
exercise over half term. But I left him with my mum for
2 nights and he only got up once and then woke at 7am!
I have spoken to nursery and we've agreed he may need one day a week
home with me. It's just speculation isn't it?

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