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My 11 yr old DD is suddenly scared at night

(7 Posts)
Imissmysleep01 Thu 27-Feb-14 16:15:03

Hi there. I'm new to this but thought I would see if anyone had any ideas of how to help my 11 yr old DD who has suddenly become afraid at night. Since Monday night she has called me up urgently at 9.30pm each night, sobbing her heart out that she is too scared to sleep and wants me with her. You can see the terror in her eyes. I have asked her what she is afraid of and she says she thinks that someone is in the room. She is aware that it is her vivid imagination but does not know how to switch it off. She has been in with me as it is the only way she will settle. She won't settle in her own room. She can hear the noises from the airing cupboard which is in her room which heightens her fear. I have been careful to not say she is being silly and that I understand her anxiety and to try not to show my frustration. She has always been a great sleeper with a good bedtime routine. It means that my DH is on the sofa and he is now getting fed up. He is doing his best to be patient with her but thinks this is just attention seeking as she can be a bit of a drama queen at times. I however, think there is something up and desperately want to help her and get her back to her usual sweet, happy self. It is also affecting her sleep. She drops off as soon as I've got into bed with her but sleeps fitfully and is tired and grumpy in the morning. Last night my DD said she thinks her dad hates her which he overheard and now feels hurt. DH is grumpy and insinuating I should be able to sort it out which is frustrating me but I understand he too is tired and not sleeping well. And we are not able to spend any down time together in the evening. Any suggestions?

Nocomet Thu 27-Feb-14 16:21:28

Y6 with SATs coming up or Y7?

I think you need to talk and see if something's bothering her and see if reading or music would help. DD1 has from that sort of age right up to 16 used music and audio books when she wants to unwind at night (as well as reading and rereading Twilight).

AtSea1979 Thu 27-Feb-14 16:26:56

Hormones?

Imissmysleep01 Thu 27-Feb-14 19:31:09

Hi. She is year 6 with SATs coming up and her hormones have definitely kicked in. Up until this week listening to music and audio books helped relax her and she is a prolific reader. She doesn't want her music and will only read a few pages until she decides it's not working. I keep asking if anything is bothering her but she insists all is fine. She has been bullied since last year which has been dealt with by the school and she's happy. At hone she's upbeat, singing and chatty right up until she gets into bed and I've kissed her goodnight. She then says she won't get any sleep. I make sure she is in bed by 8 so she has an hour or so to read and relax. She has said she's worried about being kidnapped. It may be from the book she's reading. The usual reassurances are not working as no matter how much she agrees nothing bad will happen she is convinced it will if I'm not there. She has a nightlight.

Nocomet Thu 27-Feb-14 20:20:09

8 sounds insanely early to me, but I haven't had a child who went to bed by 8 after they were about 7. (And I've never had a child who went to bed before 8)

We have had guides and scouts and things that didn't finish until 8-9 and 30minutes to get home, so bed by 10 wasn't unknown in Y6 and 9.30 was quite normal.

I'm wondering if she's dropping off when she's not quite tired enough to stay asleep at the end of her first period of sleep. Hormones certainly do shift sleep to going to bed late, getting up late teen mode.

This never bothered my night owl, read to midnight and be a slight pain to get up DD1 because she is why we have never had early bedtimes in this house. They don't work she would get massively wound up and do her version of your DDs behaviour only at 2.

It did throw DD2 who likes to get up with hours to spare. At 13 she is just settling into making herself go to bed at 10.30 and absolutely resist the teen hormones saying mess about until gone 11, because she hates being a rushed grump in the morning.

Imissmysleep01 Fri 28-Feb-14 09:48:21

Hi Nocomet. Thanks for this. Although she is in bed by 8 she rarely is asleep much before 10.30pm. I let her read or draw and usually she curls up for sleep when she's ready. That's why this sudden change has thrown us. I may see if letting her go up a bit later may help so she is ready for sleep and more relaxed. I'll see if it works.

LastingLight Fri 28-Feb-14 10:51:51

My 11 year old also recently went through a phase like this. Chamomile tea before bed helped to relax her. Leaving a light on helped. Tbh I don't know what triggered this problem and I don't know why it resolved after a couple of weeks, but it did. Now she still has problems falling asleep but no longer wakes up during the night.

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