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4 year old awake for hours in the middle of the night

(16 Posts)
dreamylady Thu 06-Aug-09 22:32:15

Our 4 year old often wakes in the night and stays awake for up to a couple of hours. During this time she may come in our room once or twice for a cuddle but will usually happily take herself back to bed, sometimes without asking. But she doesn't then go back to sleep - I hear her getting up to go to the loo, singing to herself, playing - last night i woke cos she was jumping up and down on her bed! This was around 1.30 -2 ish - she didn't go back to sleep til around 4 am.

Any ideas? She has on occasion mentioned a 'helicopter' or a humming noise which i wonder may be something wrong with her ears so am going to get that checked out - but she doesn't always mention it, and when i ask her why she won't sleep she just says she likes to play.

I am becoming really knackered and run down and also worrying about what will happen when she starts school in september.I think she's been doing this on and off for ages. Does anyone think maybe we put her to bed to early/ let her get up too late? Even when she doesn't wake up in the night she sleeps for about 12 hrs. Usual wake up time between 7 and 8 though can be even later.

lucymum2four Thu 06-Aug-09 22:41:16

what time is bedtime?

dreamylady Thu 06-Aug-09 22:42:03

about 7.30-8..

lucymum2four Thu 06-Aug-09 22:48:07

about the same as our dc's.

maybe you will find that when she starts school in september she will be so knackerd you wont hear a peep.

havent much advice in the mean time sorry..

let us know how you get on with her ears grin

dreamylady Thu 06-Aug-09 22:52:15

cheers lucy - i'm kind of hoping that's the case - then biggest problem then will be waking her up in the mornings! She gets her morning temperament from her dad, it ain't pretty!! grin

rimmer Thu 06-Aug-09 22:54:30

dreamy my dd aged 4 does this too. It's frustrating cos she gets ratty during the day cos she's tired. Sometimes it's because of a dream, but then she's usually upset. Otherwise, seems quite happy lying there in the dark!

lucymum2four Thu 06-Aug-09 22:54:35

Ha! How Funny we usually blame dad too

3littlefrogs Thu 06-Aug-09 23:03:57

Story tapes/cds plus head phones used to work a treat with all of my dc. They were allowed to read or listen. Not allowed to talk, sing, shout or get up except for one very quiet trip to the loo. A 4 year old is perfectly well able to understand this IMO.

dreamylady Thu 06-Aug-09 23:05:03

thanks rimmer, good to know it's not completely wierd! Suppose its a sign of very busy imaginations, probably a good thing hmm

dreamylady Thu 06-Aug-09 23:09:29

how do you 'enforce' the no talking thing though frogs? have told her not to but not sure what consequences should be if she does. Normal rules don't seem to apply at 3 in the morning, and when you're half asleep in the room next door. would seem weird dragging her to naughty step when all she's doing is chatting to her toys. (and i might fall asleep during the 4 mins and leave her there all night - tho she wouldn't do it again would she! wink)

3littlefrogs Thu 06-Aug-09 23:17:29

I suppose it depends on the individual, but at 4 she should be able to understand that it disturbs you if she is noisy at night. You need to have the conversation with her at a sensible time during the day though.

If you need other means of enforcement though, you might consider the good old star chart or pasta jar - a star or piece of pasta for quiet nights, and the removal of same for a disturbed night. This would be quite age appropriate, I think. At the end of the week she gets a small reward or treat based on the number of quiet nights.

I certainly wouldn't use any kind of punishment in this situation. She isn't being deliberately naughty, she just needs to understand that there are acceptable ways of entertaining herself if she can't sleep, and that making a noise and disturbing the household is not one of them.

DidEinsteinsMum Thu 06-Aug-09 23:19:09

Ok i have had this for years and now i balance between ds going to sleep late and sleeping through and going to bed early and getting up for night. You have the benefit that you have a child who is happy to be on own and peaceful. I have a little manaic who is up to mischeif so whilst he is happy to let me sleep i darent. Ds just doesnt need the sleep. Be gratefull you have a fairly trust worthy child and if you find a better solution i am all ears.

Just so you know the last time i slept through ds being up in the night he lovely took apart my alarm clock. I cant trust him to be on his own during the day so definetly not during night (especially as he has now learnt to open the front door from dead bolt).

We have a fixed up time with a no nap rules and lots and lots of physical and mental activities shoved into everyday which helps. Ds is rather bright and his brain never stops. He is also very activity and tiring him out takes at least 6miles (pita when wet) love him to bits but could murder for a bit more sleep when he is bad not brain and body tired (either 1.30am-6am sleep or 7pm-10pm and 6am-8am sleep)

you have my sypathies and sorry i cant help but you are not alone. Even GP reckons that LO with sleep issues like this naturally improve when they start school. If that is september for you then you dont have much longer to wait. If not try targeted activities during day (eg learn new song, learn new game such as guess who etc) hope you get some better sleep soon.

dreamylady Thu 06-Aug-09 23:30:39

thanks all better get to bed now myself!
will report back in september if i remember!

DidEinsteinsMum Thu 06-Aug-09 23:38:34

Am thinking about straw poll in sept as not sure i believe gp wink

lizziemun Fri 07-Aug-09 07:52:24

My 5.6yr still does this and i find a quick cuddle the i put her back to bed and put a story cd on and she will drift back to sleep in about 30mins.

She always wakes at 3am which is the same time she would wake as a baby for milk. And she seems to do it more the more tired she is.

Lucky the younger 2 (23mths & 5 mths sleep through)

shootfromthehip Fri 07-Aug-09 08:14:44

Most of the sleep problems in this house come from my 5yr old DD. She has never been the best sleeper- has always been keen to be awake during the night and can be awake for 2-3 hrs. In desperation we put our kids in the same room, hoping that her need for company would be met by having her brother in the room (DS 2.7) and it has worked quite well. She seems to understand that she will wake him up if she starts her carry on in the middle of the night. She also understands that the plans we make are all dependant on Mummy not being knackered and if she wakes the house up she will not get to do certain things the next day.

Having said that holidays and illnesses set the whole thing back. She stayed with my Mum for a couple of nights (slept perfectly) and since she came home she has been up every night and difficult to put to bed.

She starts school in August and I'm hoping that that will knock the night waking on the head and maybe counteract the early moring waking too (5.45 am usual,6.30am being a lie-in). It would be nice to get a sleep before they are teenagers.

Good luck grin

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