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Is this normal??? 4.5 yr old always falling asleep immediately after school & massive tantrums still

(18 Posts)
cookiemonstress Tue 16-Jun-09 16:21:05

Hi
As I write this, my dd1 who is 4.5 and in full time pre-school (9-3, 5 days a week) is fast asleep on the sofa. THis is a common event (up to 5 days a week and she will always fall asleep in the car).

Am starting to wonder if I should be concerned about this. She does have a busy week with full time pre-school and wrap around nursery care (8-6) two days a week however she also has a very consistent routine and her younger sister (2.5) has exactly the same routine and seems to cope much better.

There are 2 ongoing issues. One in that she is waiting to have grommets in and adenoids out and she does have hearing issues (although you'd never know it, speech etc v good). The second is that she wakes horrendously early (5ish every day). Always has done and I have tried everything to break the habit.

She is in bed by 7.30pm every day (she can't physically stay awake any later), sleeps ok through the night (we have had issues in the past), eats well and seems to have a lot of energy when she is awake (although does complain when walking that her legs hurt, although this seems to go the minute we get to the park). At least once a week, we will also have a massive, marathon tantrum of monumental proportions where she goes into total meltdown for at least 2 hours and is totally unmanageable. This is alongside several more regular tantrums. At school and nursery she is alledgedly an angel, very quiet and no bother.

For a while now ( this is an ongoing problem) I've rationalised this as a result of her waking early, being very stimulated and just busy plus with her ear problems but I'm just starting to realise that none of her contemporaries do this. Am wondering if I should be getting worried and should book in a visit to the doctors?

sarah293 Tue 16-Jun-09 16:23:21

Message withdrawn

Angeliz Tue 16-Jun-09 16:27:46

I think it's hard for them to be on their very best behaviour all day at school and then they see us and let rip.
They feel secure and tired and are finally allowed to have a moan smile

The very early mornings would probably account for the sleep and tantrums!

WinkyWinkola Tue 16-Jun-09 16:28:33

How long has she been full time for?

I've heard that for the first term of full time school, those kids who've not been full time before are utterly and totally exhausted.

And that they go a bit bonkers at home after a day of having to behave themselves.

But my DS only starts full time in September so I'm no expert. I'm sure it's a good idea to have the quiet times that you're having where she can snooze and recharge her batteries.

Is there any way you could get her to stay in bed at 5am (awful for you too that early rising time!), listen to stories on a CD player, browse through books with the promise of a chocolate button and maybe fall asleep again? Just maybe? I expect you've tried that already.

Angeliz Tue 16-Jun-09 16:28:46

I have a dd 4.5 too and beleive me she still has her tantrums! (and i wonder sometimes should she not have grown out of them but she has always found it hard to control her emotions)

bigchris Tue 16-Jun-09 16:30:26

does she have to go to full time preschool? presumably she starts school in september so you could just take her out of preschool when you're not working, or she could just do mornings?

MojoLost Tue 16-Jun-09 16:34:41

No words of wisdom from me, but just wanted to say that you are not alone. Will follow this thread with interest.

Your DD sounds just like my DS1, he is also 4.5yrs, and also wakes up at 5 every morning. He always go to sleep at 8pm, but for the last week I've tried putting him to bed at 7:30 to see if it helps.

He will NOT take a nap, but if I take him for a drive he will fall in deep sleep.

By 4pm he is a total nightmare, extremely tired and difficult.

He does have special needs, his brother who has no neurological problems doesn't have these sleep problems.

I have no idea if DS1's sleep problems are due to his special needs or just his character. But I have tried everything (even a white noise machine!!!), nothing works.

procrastinatingparent Tue 16-Jun-09 16:36:36

DD was still doing something similar by Yr 1! not just Reception - combination of tiredness and having to concentrate so hard. No one at school could believe what a nightmare she was at home. She misses her sleep at the beginning of the night rather than in the morning. And she is a Dec birthday so not young for her year. It is a bit better now she is Yr 2 but still a problem.

3littlefrogs Tue 16-Jun-09 16:39:56

Sounds normal to me. Actually - I would be putting her to bed at 6.30. She sounds exhausted. She will still wake up at 5, but she will cope better.

3littlefrogs Tue 16-Jun-09 16:41:03

I can remember putting ds1 to bed at 5.30 occasionally at this age - they just get worn out.

sarah293 Tue 16-Jun-09 16:52:43

Message withdrawn

cookiemonstress Tue 16-Jun-09 17:08:27

Hi
Thanks to everyone for responses. She is a real creature of habit and loves pre-school, but any change of routine sends her into a spin. I do work so even if she wasn't in childcare, she would have to be in childcare of some description and she's like it even if we have a few days at home.

My instinct is that the early mornings are mostly to blame. I have tried everything. Blackout, bunny clock, incentives, you name it. It's better in that she does now play quietly in her room for a while but it does affect everyone. I can count on one hand the number of times she's slept past 6am in her life. It doesn't help that her sister would happily sleep past 8am most days! It's miserable really and is clearly starting to affect her 'daytime experience'.

If she goes to bed later she wakes even earlier, same if she goes to bed earlier. Anyway thanks for all your support. Good to know you are not alone!

MojoLost Wed 17-Jun-09 06:47:02

Cookie, if you do ever find a solution to this conundrum, please come back and let me know!!!
ds woke up at 4:50 this morning. I tried (for the first time) putting him in bed with me to get im to sleep a little more, but it didn't work.

Unfortunately he doesn't play quietly in his room, he chats away, singing, pulling down all his clothes, making such a rattle that his poor little brother is waking up with the noise.

PfftTheMagicDragon Wed 17-Jun-09 07:55:26

cookie have you tried wake to sleep in the mornings?

cookiemonstress Thu 18-Jun-09 17:26:16

mojolost =- will do! both my dds awake at half five today. Am knackered and as you say it's the residual chaos they cause when they wake.

Pfft.. what's wake to sleep? I haven't tried it I don't think.

PfftTheMagicDragon Thu 18-Jun-09 20:39:19

It (and this is based on my memory of it, so if there are inaccuracies I apologise) is based on the idea that if she is waking regularly at the same time in the morning, that it might be habit. They are regularly in light sleep at this time and they wake. When you do wake to sleep, you get up a short time before they would normally wake, half hour, 15 minutes, and rouse them slightly. Not enough to wake them, just enough to move them into a lighter sleep.

The idea is that by doing this, as their normal wake time comes around they will be once again in a deeper sleep and will not wake, and this should break the habit.

cookiemonstress Thu 18-Jun-09 22:53:23

Ah, that sounds like interesting idea. Definitely worth a go!

Scrumplet Sun 21-Jun-09 02:49:40

I can't offer much help on the sleep front (other than trying an earlier bedtime, although I think you've done that) - your DD is getting less than 10 hours' sleep a night, which doesn't seem much for a child her age and who is so busy. BUT you know your daughter and how much sleep she needs, and if you're unable to get her to sleep more at either end of the night, I'm not sure there's much you can do (other than MagicDragon's suggestion).

But I can reassure you that the tantrums aren't (as far as I'm aware) a rarity. A friend's DS didn't start having tantrums until he was five, and she took him home from us last week crying, whining, dishing out the 'I hate yous' and kicking. He'll be six next month.

Another friend, whose son is DS's 'best friend', is finding her DS's temper and behaviour really hard work at the moment. And my DS is having a phase of dishing out 'I don't love you' coupled with kicks/hits when he doesn't get what he wants. It's miserable, and I'm not 100% sure how to handle it, but I am taking comfort in the fact that DS doesn't seem at all alone in real life or on here. I expect your DD isn't either.

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