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HELP! 6 year old sleep problems, I'm at the end of my tether...

(5 Posts)
splishsplosh Fri 07-Nov-14 12:57:47

I had an operation 6 weeks ago - I should have been out of hospital the same day, but it ended up being much more major, and I stayed in hospital almost a week - my dds were looked after at home by their aunt and uncle who they don't know really well. Dd2 (6) has only spent a couple of nights away from me in her life, and I can only assume this is the cause of her current issue...

Ever since I came back from hospital she has woken at least once in the night, shouting out to me again and again. She shouts that she can't get to sleep. If I tuck her back in again she just shouts out again. And again. If I ignore her she will go and shake her sister's bed or get in with her, waking her up too - then dd1 will start shouting for me too.

I've been in a lot of pain, and exhausted, and I'm ashamed to say in the end I shout back at her. She can stay awake for a couple of hours, refusing to sleep. Or wake a second time and go through it all again.

After a week, I was so desperate I slept on a mattress in their room and then she was fine - she still woke, but would get out of bed, kiss me, get back into her bed and fall asleep. I was very uncomfortable but did manage at least some sleep. 2 weeks later the kitten punctured the mattress and I returned to my bed. I've ended up letting her get in my bed if she wakes in the middle of the night as then she will sleep easily - but I find it hard to sleep.

But sometimes she wakes when I go up to bed, and I can't face having her in my bed all night. I'm so so tired, and still not feeling great after the op. I have no patience any more, and feel so cross, and then so awful that I can't be patient.

She has no interest in any rewards, doesn't care about any consequences - all she wants is my physical proximity... but I feel so cross and tearful with lack of sleep I don't know what to do. She's slept properly only once in the last 5 weeks, and that's the only decent sleep I've had since I had the op (no chance of sleep in hospital either!)

I'm at the end of my tether, seriously just feel like rocking in a corner sobbing with the sleep deprivation and can't see how to resolve this.

So just hoping someone might have ideas on what I can do?

Eva50 Fri 07-Nov-14 13:06:20

Could you move her bed into your room or even the mattress. Hopefully you will both get sleep. Once you have recovered a bit you will be able to deal with her more patiently.

PourquoiTuGachesTaVie Fri 07-Nov-14 13:06:40

While you're recovering I would go for the path of least resistance. It sounds like she has been unsettled by your recent op and 6 is still quite little really so I'd indulge her need to be with you until you're both feeling better and can work on returning to normality.

So firstly, I would explain that if she wakes in the night she must not shout for you, but she can come.into your room herself. Then, as you've said having her in the bed isn't working for you, I wonder if you could set up a temporary bed for her next to yours? I'm thinking a camp bed/futon or an array of cushions and sleeping bags? Then if she wakes, she can get herself into your room and settle down to sleep without disturbing anyone. She gets the reassurance she needs and you get the rest you need.

I'm currently having to do similar with my 4 year old as its not currently comfortable for him to sleep in my bed so I have set up a little "side car" bed for him next to me.

Pigmella Fri 07-Nov-14 13:07:27

I'm sorry, hope you're feeling better soon.
Please try not to get impatient with her.
I went through something very similar when I was small. My best friends dad died and I was suddenly terrified something might happen to my parents and I became EXACTLY like your daughter - wouldn't let them out of my sight and became very clingy.
It did pass, it took a couple of years, and it just took lots of patience on my parents part to make me understand that they weren't leaving me or planning on dying. I think your daughter may have been quite scared by you being away and not knowing when you'd be back (however much it was all explained to her, she's still very young).
She obviously loves you very much and was probably frightened about you being away (though she'd probably not be able to put this into words)... does this make sense?
Try being there for her as much as possible, and see if that works (I know it drove my mum crazy for a while!), but I am sure it will work. Good luck.

splishsplosh Fri 07-Nov-14 13:14:49

Thank you - those are some really good ideas. I know it must have been scary for her, thinking I'd be home, then suddenly everything happening differently from how I'd explained it.

I feel awful for getting cross - I end up crying because I'm not coping and hate the fact that I've reacted like that.

I'll try the temporary bed in my room, so hopefully if she needs to come in she'll be OK in that and we can both get more sleep. Then if I've actually slept better I'll have more patience too!

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