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Oh Mumsnet please help me with dd & ds terrible sleeping issues (long)

(16 Posts)
moodlumthehoodlum Wed 06-Aug-08 21:41:53

Firstly, dd's bedtime has turned into a nightmare. She says she is very scared, and just will not go to sleep. We've tried everything.. We've put her in with ds to help reassure her, but he just goes to sleep leaving her awake and scared. We've tried lights on, lights off etc, and we've tried waiting outside her room and moving a little further away each night, but she just screams until we give in and bring her downstairs.

Secondly, after we have gone through this palava, we go to bed, and every single night, without fail, one or both dc wake up, unable to settle themselves back, race into our bedroom and refuse to go back to bed to sleep. So, DH and i take turns in the guest room, so at least one of us gets som sleep, whilst the other one sleeps with the children in our bed.

Its a nightmare. I'm knackered. And, although I'm sure its only a phase, its a blardy exhuasting one, and its been going on for ages. DD is 4 and DS is 3 btw.

Apologies for the ramblings of a tired demented woman.

33k Wed 06-Aug-08 21:56:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moodlumthehoodlum Wed 06-Aug-08 22:00:19

Oh thanks.

that rings a bell, I'll google it. I'm at the point of actually ringing supernanny and asking her to come to the hoodlum house and sort it out.


33k Wed 06-Aug-08 22:04:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moodlumthehoodlum Wed 06-Aug-08 22:08:39


If DH had his way she would be here now!

33k Wed 06-Aug-08 22:19:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moodlumthehoodlum Wed 06-Aug-08 22:24:18

Thanks. Am googling 'sleep therapist' as we speak!

amidaiwish Wed 06-Aug-08 22:29:45

is she screaming because she is scared or does she know that that gets her downstairs?
is her heart beating fast like she is really scared?

have you tried a reward chart for good behaviour at bedtime?
have you tried a nightlight - my DDs have this lumilove which works well as it is a bit like a lavalamp and kind of hypnotises them as it changes colour.

you need to keep putting them back in their own bed. give them a spoon of calpol if need be!

i know how knackering it is. DD1 went through a phase of this. DD2 (nearly 3) is still up in the night (for a wee, then a drink) but last night was doing the "i don't want to be alone" routine. GRRRRR. A stiff talking to did sort her out though.

moodlumthehoodlum Wed 06-Aug-08 22:35:41

Its hard to tell. I think she is genuinely scared, as she can get very upset, but she's equally chuffed to bits when she gets to come downstairs.

It becomes a vicious circle. I know I should just put them back in their beds when they come in, but I'm just too knackered to do it. And, as I'm losing all my evening to sitting outside dd's room, its all getting a bit ridiculous.

I will try the idea of a lamp type thing, I think she would like that.

Otherwise, I think its time I called the millpond sleep clinic!


33k Wed 06-Aug-08 22:38:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gagarin Wed 06-Aug-08 22:39:21

Try not to be cross with the scared dd. Her imagination is running riot and she's panicking.


story tapes with you reading her favourite stories or just ordinary story cd and play them at bedtime

buying a special toy/light to help her at night

she's too young to tell you what the prob is (remember that if she tells you what it is to her that might make it more real). But you could tell her a story about a little girl called (insert something that rhymes with her name - but say oh no, def not you - if she asks) who is the biggest and bravest girl ever BUT she has one problem - can you guess - yes "nightime nerves"! Then elaborate the story so the amazing girl/mum/dad/teddy defeats all nerves but at the same time ask "do you think she was worried about something in her bedroom?" "I wonder what it was?" blah blah...and you might get to the bottom of it.

I ended up drawing a "monster-shooting-special-magic gun" on several pieces of paper and they went under the bed/in the wardrobe/in the teddy/under the pillow/behind the door/on the window sill etc etc

It worked in the end - but the nightly made up adventures of the little girl got us through - she rescued kittens/helped old ladies/made cakes/played with brothers/went camping/helped daddy - and in every single story in the end she defeated "nighttime nerves"!

Good luck for

moodlumthehoodlum Wed 06-Aug-08 22:44:04

Thanks Ladies. All very helpful tips.

I think I am going to buy a fairy of some description, and start with that as a special night-time toy. Perhaps involve the fairy in the stories.

DH is cynical of this approach, but willing to try anything. wink

amidaiwish Wed 06-Aug-08 22:44:43

personally i would get tough.
talk to her in the day, draw up a reward chart, put it on the fridge and have a goal in mind of something she really wants and distract her with it. i do:
Good bedtimes = 1 star
1 star = chocolate button
3 stars = magazine
10 stars = choice of toy from woolworths. even better if they have already seen it.
it really does work!

Are they sleeping in the day? You may need to completely cut it out if they are awake in the night.

and this sounds really bad but if DD1 is being a nightmare at bedtime then after 3 warnings i tie her door handle with a dressing gown cord so she can open it but not enough to get out (alternative would be a stair gate i guess). I take it off straight away but she knows i am serious and that she has to stay in her room.

So hard to do all this when you're knackered though, i know.

amidaiwish Wed 06-Aug-08 22:47:09

the one thing i do tell them when they have bad dreams is to "blow the baddies away". I tell them they have special powers and can blow them away like princesses pour water over witches to make them dissolve.
it does seem to work to give them some "power" when having bad dreams.

tbh it doesn't sound like your dd is having bad dreams, just doesn't want to go to bed and both in a habit of waking in the night.

moodlumthehoodlum Wed 06-Aug-08 22:54:38

Her bed is also quite old, and I wonder if its quite creaky, and the noise of it upsets her. When I ask her why, she just says "well, I'm just scared of things, that's why.." which isn't hugely helpful.

Right. Off to bed for another fun packed night!

Thanks all.

gagarin Thu 07-Aug-08 07:24:28

She's only 4 - although her speech is advanced I doubt if she's got the concepts to explain an abstract thing like fear!

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