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clingy, won't go to sleep and sometimes appalling behaviour- nearly 5yo

(6 Posts)
tallskinnylatte Wed 19-Feb-14 16:04:30

My DD will be 5yo next month. bright, happy, very imaginative, articulate and often lots of fun. But I am feeling completely worn down by her unwillingness to go to sleep and dreadful tantrums sometimes. On the sleep, we start the whole bedtime routine at about 7 but it's often 9.30 before she's asleep. We've recently started encouraging her going to sleep on her own which she manages as long as we keep popping back in- however she has always been bad at going to sleep so I'm not sure this recent change has made any difference. She just doesn't want to give in. She does more or less sleep through til morning now though which is progress from almost every night in our bed.
She also has awful tantrums sometimes- today's example: one day a week I collect her and a friend from school and drop them off with a childminder so I can do a bit more work before collecting at 5ish (childminder has longstanding relationship and is great but collects from different school). So the other girl is nearer front of line and therefore gets to me first. DD then has almighty tantrum (not lying on ground so maybe not that bad but fairly 'emphatic') because the other girl was with me first. Refuses to move, stands there screaming, and tells me that she wants me and to leave this other girl there. Other girl stabs there completely bewildered. I feel awful for her because being horrible to your friends- even at 5yo- is unacceptable, I end up shouting at her in street outside school and feeling like crap, and DD just keeps going. Tried hugs, reassuring but tantrum continued for 25 mins while we walked across park to meet childminder.
what is normal? I know you never get to see how other children behave, but I know my DD also behaves badly with other parents, though not to the same extent. I know being picked up, rushed across park then dropped off is difficult for her (we do this 2 days a week and one of the other parents does the other day and not a problem) but I'm self employed and work in the evenings lot as it is- I can't lose this extra hour or 2. She's fine at school but often clingy when I try to leave- recent development. We also have tantrums about eating tea, things being 'wrong'- she often gets a very clear idea about how things should be and struggles when the 'plan' deviates. Exhausting, completely unpredictable and I don't think I'm managing very well. how muxh is this connected with sleeping 9.30-7 only- is this enough?
Sorry- long one. any advice welcome.

Ithinkwerealonenow Wed 19-Feb-14 16:11:43

Reception year? Not going to sleep until 9.30? I reckon she's knackered, and that's the cause of most of the meltdowns. Not your fault if she won't go to sleep earlier though, sounds like you are trying your best - any way of starting the whole routine earlier (e.g. 6.30), so she gets her head down a bit sooner? Re the popping back in - this is totally normal with a more - 'clingy' child - my DD1 at 6.5 still only settles after a few checks from me/DH, and the tireder she is, the more checks she needs before she gives in to sleep. DD2, otoh, couldn't care less, so don't beat yourself up that it is something you are doing/not doing.

Other tips - a snack on meeting her from school might help with the energy levels.

Also, you've already identified the potential issue with you picking her up then dropping her off at a CM. Think that is potentially quite unsettling for a 4/5 year old. Any chance of using a different CM that can do pick up, or after school club? You could then pick her up half an hour earlier as well, as you wouldn't have to interrupt work to do the school run, so that would help with starting bedtime earlier.

tallskinnylatte Wed 19-Feb-14 16:27:13

Thanks- we'll try earlier though as it also takes forever for her to eat the time slips! I have to admit that DH often starts later which doesn't help so we need a chat about that. One day a week, occasionally 2, I do a really long day out of my home town where I leave the house before she's up and get back after she's asleep (or usually asking the millionth question upstairs) and I don't think that helps. The CM thing isn't ideal I realise but we couldn't find anyone we liked who does pick up from her school - and our CM works hols, is lovely etc. Will try- though tonight I am out for work so will be leaving the house as she gets in- DH picking up reins. Am wondering if my irregular work is making the difference- though I don't know what to do about that (work in my area is all pretty much all freelance)

Coolcadbury Wed 19-Feb-14 20:05:25

My DS sleeps only slightly more than your DD. And he finds it hard to switch off and calls me a couple of times (I am strict about attending him to him two times only). But tbh, your DD does sound tired and school is exhausting for them too. My DS would regularly have tantrums after school in reception. Combination of tiredness and hunger. Is your DD a good eater - is she eating enough at school? And what is she like during the holidays?

Its not ideal about you having to pick up DD to drop her off at childminders but not sure what you do about that, especially as good CM are like gold dust smile. I know my DS hates it when I drop him off early at school on the days that I work but he knows that is what happens.

One thing that has helped him to settle down at night is that we always talk about the day and what was the best part of the day - it helps to wind him down and end on a positive note - I always say that my best part of the day is something I did with him. We also talk about what is happening tomorrow so he knows what to expect.

Atbeckandcall Thu 20-Feb-14 02:47:33

Your dd sounds a lot like mine. I'd suggest telling her whats going to happen after school at breakfast time that day.
Also let her know what behaviours you expect from her, and what will happen if she behaves in an unacceptable manner. Although do be very clear what constitutes unacceptable. My dd is 3, so may comes across as too babyish for your dd but this is what I'd say:
"DD, Mummy is coming to collect you after school today, then taking you and ?? to the CM. If, when you come out and see that ?? is already with me, I'd like you to not scream or shout at me and say horrid things about your friend. When you do this it makes ?? feel sad and that you don't like her, and makes Mummy think you are behaving a bit like a baby. If you do scream and shout, I will ask you to calm down, if you don't you will lose???????"
This does work for my dd3, naughty step doesn't btw, just sends her into a rage.
Anyway, might be worth getting bedtime thing sorted first. We have always had a battle to get dd into bed but has gotten easier with a bit of bribery and corruption (or as DH will call it, rewards).
Bedtime for us goes a bit like this:
1. Start telling dd before dinner time exactly what will happen after dinner and in what order (dinner, pudding, upstairs, clothes off, in bath, out bath, brush teeth, pjs on, downstairs, watch ONE episodes of ?????, upstairs for 2 stories, me or daddy will then give you hug and kiss and leave the room).
2. Do exactly as you've said so nothing is too much of a shock.
3. Promise reward in the morning if they do it for the morning. We used to "bribe" by telling dd she can have a chocolate button for sleeping in her own bed all night. It worked. She then had to do 2 nights for 2 buttons (if that wasn't going well, go back a step).
4. Give 3-4 nights for it to work.
Now DD knows exactly whats going to happen and we don't have to remind her anymore. She knows.
Once we cracked that we started working on behaviour. As I said before naughty step and reward charts didn't work. They just made her more frustrated and we all ended up forgetting what she was upset about in the first place. So if she's a pain in the day she gets a warning 'If you continue to choose to get dressed like a naughty girl, you will not get to watch ?????? before bedtime. If you choose to be good, you can watch it.' She now, 19 times out of 20 will make a sensible choice. If she plays up more in the day, she loses a story, then the other if she's naughty again. It has only ever been once that she got nothing before bedtime.
I'm do sorry this is so long winded. And I hope it doesn't come across as preachy, that's the last thing I'd want to do. But we did have some serious issues with dd before she was 3 and I really feel like we've turned a huge corner. Please feel free to PM me if there's too much there or if I haven't made myself clear because I waffle!!!

LastingLight Thu 20-Feb-14 07:20:53

Have you tried anything to help her relax at bedtime? Soft music, chamomile tea, melatonin, massage. I agree with other posters that she sounds overtired, and may be hungry when you pick her up from school.

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