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4 year old sleep and anger problems - help!

(5 Posts)
kitkatsfordinner Sun 25-Oct-15 21:00:50

Hello, hoping for some tips!
Daughter has always been a bit of a rubbish sleeper but she had settled down for the past few years. She's quite highly strung and really sleep is always first thing to go when she is at all unsettled.
Over the past few months we have moved house, she has started preschool and I am pregnant with baby number 3, so I guess there has been a lot of upheaval.
However, for the past month or more she has been in our bed every night, usually from before midnight. She also usually wakes my 2 year old up along the way, so I end up with both of them in bed. Every night, all night long. I'm not totally adverse to cosleeping but I felt we were past this stage. I'm pregnant and so uncomfortable, I'm really struggling. If I try and get her back to bed at all she screams and cries. She screams 'mummy I miss you at night', 'I hate my bed', etc. waking the whole house up.

As a consequence of this, no one is getting much sleep and my daughter is exhausted and has the most out of control anger tantrums almost everyday. The anger is like nothing I've ever seen before, the other day she actually went for me hitting and kicking, which she has never done before. I sit with her and she will gulp for air screaming 'I can't calm down'.

I should say there are no other underlying problems. She doesn't love preschool but she tolerates it (only 2 mornings a week anyway) and generally she is a happy. I really think if she wasn't so tired it would level out, but I just don't know what to do to get her to stay in her bed.... Anyone have any tips?? Help much appreciated!

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 01-Nov-15 11:12:37

You don't say if you have a partner or not. If you do, what do they say? Could you both pick a time when they are off work and tackle her sleep then? I would try to give her some quiet activities every day, thinks like an audio book and a cuddle after lunch, go out for a walk, collect leaves and then make pictures, mix together some dried pasta and something like dried red kidney beans and ask her to separate them into two different bowls etc.

Have a read of foods to help you sleep and this.

You may find this book useful too, if you haven't already read it smile.

Have you ruled out food allergies too?

It does sound like you need her out of your bed though, just for your comfort, and if that means the everyone having a few nights of disturbed sleep, surely it's worth it? smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 01-Nov-15 11:13:45

Sorry about the typos blush

amarmai Sun 01-Nov-15 22:30:39

when she is not upset, can you practice breathing and hold to a count of 2,then breathing out to a count of 2. Continue as and when can and increase gradually the hold in count and breathe out count to 3. This will give her a way to calm herself. Reward her with stars on a chart for every effort - not aiming at perfection-and when she gets 3 stars she can choose a small reward of her choice from what you can offer. Make sure to praise verbally with hugs , as gradually you shd be able to wean her off the small rewards as she begins to rely on the verbal and hugs and eventually on her own feeling of satisfaction that she is able to control her feelings and behaviour. This method is usable for all sorts of behaviour modification and can be used for life as as self soother. Never take away stars for any reason . Your goal is to give them as quickly as poss and show her she can earn rewards.

kitkatsfordinner Fri 06-Nov-15 21:35:52

Hey ladies, thanks for replying. Apologies for delay we have been in holidays. I'll investigate the book and breathing techniques. Thank you.
JiltedJohnsJulie, I do have a partner and most nights he does his best to try and get her to stay in bed (mainly because it takes me 15 minutes to get up) but she just screams at him because she wants me. She told him yesterday that she was so cross with him, she was going to ask Santa for a new daddy for Christmas.
I'm guessing it isn't food allergies because she eats nothing but carbohydrates - literally currently will only eat pasta and bread - it's another problem! I would go as far as to say she is food phobic, so it would be difficult to convince her to eat anything to calm her.
I guess what is so frustrating is that it felt like sleeping in her own bed was one thing that was working but now it's derailed! A new challenge every day!

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