Can't get to sleep (aged 7.4yrs) - what helps when they are still awake at 9.30pm??!

(9 Posts)
SeratoninIsMyFriend Sun 17-Apr-16 22:34:43

DD has always got by on less sleep, dropped nap v early, etc. She's a night owl; usually wakes at 7.30 and although we put her in bed just before 8pm she is taking longer and longer to get to sleep. Currently she is woken for school at 7am (we have to be off early & she's not quick in the morning) and is usually asked to switch her reading light off between 8-8.30 depending on how she seems. Last month has averaged getting to sleep around 9pm. Gets bored, comes down, or stays up playing or faffing in her room.

I wouldn't mind but mornings can be hard work and she seems tired a lot. I was the same as far as I recall, and now suspect that I spent a lot of my childhood & teens very tired and very grumpy. I don't want this for her. We are having almighty trouble over getting up, dressed, fed etc and several mornings a week can be hideous as she is grumpy & overwrought. I really want her asleep by 8.30!!

Any ideas, tips, advice??! We have a fairly consistent routine but it is rushed midweek due to work / activities etc. She has stories with her little brother and they are both ready for bed around 7.30, but he is straight to sleep! Have tried more activity, earlier lights out, letting her sleep late at weekend or trying to keep the routine... Nothing's having much effect.

MattDillonsPants Mon 18-Apr-16 02:44:54

Oh my 11 year old was like this. I never got a handle on it to be honest...she's still a night owl. She's fine though...her getting ready skills improved as she got older.

The one thing we felt impacted her was that she wasn't a very active child...still isn't...never one to run around physically and hated sports so she wasn't physically tired even after a day at school.

Maybe your dd needs more exercise?

MyFriendsCallMeOh Mon 18-Apr-16 03:02:45

My night owl dd1 is the same, she was often awake til 10 or 10.30 aged 10. Been mentioning it to our doc for ages but he put it down to just that, being a night owl. She was always fine during the day i.e. Not falling asleep at school but terrible to wake up in the morning and so frustrated not being able to drop off.

We moved to the USA and our new pediatrician here referred us to a pediatric sleep specialist (yes they do exist!). He told us to switch off all screens at least an hour before bedtime and absolutely no reading or playing in bed, no music, no audiobooks etc after lights out, especially no tv in bedrooms (we don't anyway). Put her to bed 20 minutes before she normally falls asleep and bring that time forwards 10 minutes every few days. Worked a treat for us, try it.

SeratoninIsMyFriend Mon 18-Apr-16 20:16:31

Hmmm, well she's kind of active - swimming/p.e or ballet most days, and enjoys being active, but we can't walk / cycle to school much as I need to work and childminder drives. She has no screen time after school most days, and if she does, none after 5.30pm. I have been letting her read to try and encourage her to stay in bed and also to read independently, but for a short set time, so lights out about 8-8.30. She sometimes has classic fm on very quiet but otherwise is in a dark, quiet room!

So I would keep her up til 8.50pm, say, and then gradually bring it forward? Sounds simple! I do think she's always going to be someone who takes ages to wind their brain down and switch off, I was until I had babies grin... But convincing her that it's necessary to lie quietly and let herself be bored to sleep is soooooo hard!

Thanks for replies, I'm sure she's not the only one but I hate her being so tired she doesn't want to go to school - she used to skip in so eagerly!

MyFriendsCallMeOh Mon 18-Apr-16 22:42:47

Yes I would keep her up til 8.50 and let her read but in a low-ish light (enough to read but not too bright) and definitely not laying down or in her room. Dd1 sat in a quiet corner of the living room (no screens were on at the time) and read for 40 minutes or so to wind down before going up to bed, brushing teeth, lights out. As far as I understood, it's all about training your brain that bed is for sleeping, not reading or listening to music. She can do all her winding down, just not in her bed.

I can remember being awake very late listening to the radio when I was a pre-teen, my mum would always come in to say goodnight on her way to bed! I know how frustrating it can be. Let us know if you try this and whether it works for you.

SeratoninIsMyFriend Tue 19-Apr-16 22:34:52

Oh thanks! Will try that and hopefully remember to let you know...

FranHastings Tue 19-Apr-16 22:39:43

We had success with Relax Kids meditation CDs/downloads. They do various ones, but at that age, DD liked the Fairy Story ones. There are superhero ones too. www.relaxkids.com/store/products/Fairytale-CDs

Wanderingwondering Tue 19-Apr-16 22:48:27

I know it sounds utterly ridiculous but we had success with the 'rabbit who wanted to go to sleep book' or whatever it's called.
It's basically nlp for kids and dd, who is often still up after 9 not being able to sleep dropped off straight away.
She is only 6 though, and an immature 6 at that so I'd imagine a 7 year old would find the book babyish. I wonder if there's a more age appropriate alternative?

SeratoninIsMyFriend Wed 20-Apr-16 22:03:12

Ooh thanks, I'll check those things out, worth a try!

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