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3.5yr old still waking in the night - exhausting

(7 Posts)
mamof2boys Tue 02-Apr-13 06:56:22

Hi, my little boy who will be 4 in August is STILL not sleeping through the night. He has always been a terror and we have used every 'technique' going and have been tough cop many times. We are going through an awful time as a family and I know that this has contributed to his latest bout of sleeplessness and naughtiness. We moved to Kuwait in September with my husband's work and it has been a disaster. My oldest Son (9) has mild Asperger's and we have basically been faced with total discrimination from the schools here. It has been horrific and 6 months on I'm home-schooling him and exhausted and isolated. I'm certainly not living the loveley 'ex-pat' life I'd envisaged.
Sorry, realise I'm rambling now....anyway back to my youngest. He is waking each and every night and crying and twisting non-stop. He says he's scared of his room, which I don't understand why. It's lovely and he has a night-light. I was putting him in there for time-out but he's petrified of being left alone in there. I've asked him what is scaring him and he just says 'It's scary by myself mamma'.
He will no doubt be picking up on the stress in our house, which I know will be a negative influence on him. He is however a total monkey (always has been), very strong willed and quite a clever little fella in terms of manipulating us. Me and my husband are so tired that we're in that negative cycle of getting into bed with him or putting him in with us.
This can't continue as it's no good for him or us. He has a lovely bedtime routine of bath, cuddles and a story. Any tips please would be welcome. Being so far away from home is awful when things aren't going to plan.
Thanks x

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 02-Apr-13 10:01:55

Well I see why you're stressed! It sounds a nightmare re your older son's schooling. sad

but...I'm not sure why you think letting little DS sleep with you is a negative cycle.

I have a just turned 5 year old DD and an 8 year old DD....little DD gets in with DH and I every single night at around midnight.

She's always woken afraid of being alone...they're very small still and they need human company for some time yet. Why do you think him coming into your bed is no good for him?

mamof2boys Tue 02-Apr-13 17:12:52


Yep I see what you're saying, I probably sound like an uncaring mother. I guess I just feel that when he have our 'visitor' he still doesn't settle and fall back asleep, he whinges and moans and wriggles about so that none of us really sleep well.
I've no problem comforting if one of my boys is scared or unhappy however I really think my little one is now waking through habit.
I'm certain you'll agree that sleep deprivation is a killer and basically that's what we're dealing with on a nightly basis. Then the little rascal wakes bright as a button at around 4.45am ready to start his day!

MrTumblesBavarianFanbase Tue 02-Apr-13 18:00:58

You have my sympathy, as mother of another non sleeper!

I do think the obvious thing that stands out from your post is that you used putting him in his room as a punishment (time out). At that age that might well create a negative association. I know you are stressed and have little 1:1 time, but that maybe makes this more important - could you (or your DH) spend some 1:1 time in his room playing with him, to create nice, non bedtime associations to "overwrite" the scary/ punishment association (even if it hasn't been created by using it for time out, it could make the room feel more like somewhere he wants to be).

Have you tried letting him keep a brighter light on? A bedside light or a lego torch (thy dynamo ones are excellent, all my kids have them, they like them because they are under their control, and as there are no batteries they can keep them on all night if they want. The lantern ones are brighter and not dynamo but also last ages even if left on all night). He is also old enough to be allowed an MP3 player with stories and music to listen to when he wakes up if he wants.... Or to go to sleep listening to a CD player and put it back on if he wakes (if your housing layout allows for that without waking everyone). Also (maybe you have already done this) consult him and make a big deal of him choosing things for a room "makeover" (needen't be proper full on re-decoration, but maybe lampshade, bin, blind or curtains, duvet, rug...)

I assume his brother's aspergers is maybe a reason you don't want to put them in together, as perhaps it would upset his brother? If they get on well and you don't want him to come into bed with you and his brother wouldn't mind I'd try putting them in together, so he's not alone when he wakes.

Mind you I have tried all those things except the MP3 (my non sleeper is too young) with no sucess... Still they are just ideas that come to mind, all of which I have used with my older son. My boys share as the older one wanted to and I really hoped it would help the younger, but it doesn't seem to matter sad

Failing that though if you can sleep with him in your bed I'd go with that for now, given it is a stressful time etc. My youngest insists on sleeping on my head if when I end up sleeping with him at some point around 3am every night when I am past the point where I can drag myself back to my own bed so I know it isn't always the solution for everyone, but sometimes, if it does work, you just have to go with what allows everyone to get some sleep!

Good luck!

MrTumblesBavarianFanbase Tue 02-Apr-13 18:06:16

Oh yes another (slightly bizzare) thing my paediatrician suggested was moving his furniture around, esp the bed to a different place in the room, or even, if possible, changing the room he sleeps in. Its just a breaking associations thing. Moving his bed within the room didn't work for us, but I am working up to trying switching rooms around (big job, too much clutter in the room I want to move him to...)

At nearly 4 "tricks" like dreamcatchers witha big ritual associated with buying and putting up may also help.

A final thing my paediatrician did was proscribe herbal medicine - chamillia globuli, but I don't know if you can get them everywhere, but worth a look on the internet I guess. Basically chamomile based, supposed to be calming - again sadly didn't work for us, but apparently does for a lot of children. You give them throughout the day and at bedtime and at each wake up, but can't keep doing it indefinitely - try for a week, if it works keep going for up to 2 weeks, was what I was told.

MrTumblesBavarianFanbase Tue 02-Apr-13 18:09:50

Sorry I see he doesn't sleep peacefully in your bed. Scrap that bit. But maybe something else is of some use/ worth a try. You could also try varying the bedtime routine, just to break associations.

That said I'd better get off the sofa and start our bedtime routine now! hmm

mamof2boys Wed 03-Apr-13 07:56:28

Hi MrTumblesBavarianFancase, fab advice thank you very much! He has a lovely 'crocodile' torch from Jake and the Neverland Pirates which we could use. I also like the idea of moving his bed around and the dream catcher.

His big brother only just on the Spectrum and is pretty chilled out but definitely needs his rest, therefore I couldn't put them in together.

We've already removed our 'time out' spot to the hallway, although he really takes no notice of 'time out' anyway and never has. Strange that at nursery he stays on 'time out' but at home he doesn't! Rascal!!! I'm going to spend some nice time in his room, as we don't actually ever play in there. We tend to bring the toys out and play in the living room or balcony.

Thanks again, great tips!

Hope a sleepful night awaits us both!

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