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4 year old with sleep issues & developement

(9 Posts)
vanessaw200 Wed 26-Aug-09 19:30:52


Since my daughter been born, we have had problems with her sleep. I've seen Health Visitors, private sleep clinics and been to see the community paeditrician and the specialist Health Visitor but none have been off any help. It wasn't until she was 3 and half that she started to sleep through. Whilst it would that she sleeps through, we still can't get to sleep more than 10 hours. But she still seems to be tired, her eyes look tired and she constantly yawning. Her behaviour is quite bad as she is quite hyper, constantly on the move, always fidgeting, runs around in circles, throws herself around. She doesn't maintain eye contact, never or rarely answers questions, hardly any concentration skills ( which was picked up by her playgroup/preschool), constantly flits from activity to activity. Playgroup had to speak to me a few times about her behaviour, (they even asked me to talk to a Health Visitor) they knew she had sleep problems, even her swimming teacher had words. Bedtime can be tortorous, she gets even more hyper to the point you have to hold her down just to get her hair comb,she literally goes mad, arms and legs flinging about, she does self settle but it takes ages and she constantly moves and fidgets about until she falls asleep. We do have a good bedtime routine as we've been told.

A friend has said she thinks that there's something not quite right about my daughter as well.

We've realised that her sleep is cause of some of her behaviour, and need to know how do we get her to sleep more ???? or is there a more underlying problem ??



NightShoe Wed 26-Aug-09 19:50:57


I don't know the complete answer to your problem, but I just wanted to say that my DD is 3.3 and she is a terrible sleeper and always has been. The nights that she does sleep through are always a rare treat and if she slept for more than 10 hours I would think that something had happened to her. Her normal time to wake up is 5.30 in the morning. Even on rare special occasions when she might be up until late she will still wake up at the same time in the morning. I have tried every trick in the book before accepting my fate and working with what we have rather than against it.

However, despite the similarlities in not sleeping, my DD does not act likes you describe yours does. My DD does not look tired/yawn and she is not hyper, the amount of sleep she gets does not affect her behaviour, it is just right for her.

I guess I'm just saying that it may not be the sleep that is the answer to everything and I think that perhaps you need to speak to the health professionals again.

CrackersInBed Wed 26-Aug-09 20:09:46

Um I can't help thinking that you are wrongly fixated on the sleep issue. 10 hours sleeping through sounds pretty good tbh and the other behaviour doesn't automatically make me think that lack of sleep is the issue.

Also imho I am not sure that your bedtime routine is that great if it involves her getting extra hyper, needing to be held down and then fidgeting for ages before finally falling asleep.

Perhaps you need to talk to the HV and playgroup leader to try and define what her issues are in case there is another issue to be addressed.

Scottie22 Wed 26-Aug-09 20:21:19

My 5 year old ds has been a nightmare with his sleep (literally too!). He often stays awake in his room until 10pm after being put to bed after strict bedtime routine at 7.30pm. We think he is affected by his lack of sleep in his behaviour and gets quite hyper and difficult (added to this is his testosterone and being a boy!)
He is hard to talk to when he's really tired and does still have tantrums and my OH has to hold him when he refuses to listen.

However we do have times when he is sleeping better where he has fantastic concentration and his behaviour really calms down so we do think that sleep has a lot to do with it.

Wish I knew how to get children like this to sleep more - sounds like you are doing all the right things but she can't wind down for some reason?

lingle Thu 27-Aug-09 09:12:28

Hi Vanessa

I think you are sensible to think about sleep first as it is so important for everyone. But I agree with you that there might be more to it than sleep.

I'm no expert, but I have a child with some special needs so I've been hanging out on the special needs board of mumsnet for the past 18 months and a lot of what you are describing (the running around, the lack of concentration, the inability to answer questions, the genuine distress when you comb her hair, the trouble sleeping)sounds very familiar from the many many threads I've been on on in the Special Needs board.

I think the things you want to be thinking about include sensory issues plus a receptive language problem (that means a problem understanding what people say to her).
Sensory issues: children who are undersensitive to movement sometimes crave it and move constantly to achieve this.
But they can be oversensitive to some touch sensations (so that comb really may be painful to her)
Inability to answer questions: quite possibly not really understanding them - she may be able to speak quite well when expressing her own ideas but still have problems processing things that other people say to her.
If she is experiencing these two things, it might be pretty hard for her to behave well....

sensory issues and receptive language problems often go hand in hand.

Am happy to talk more if you want to reply or otherwise why don't you start a thread in special needs as I promise you will find a dozen or more parents who've experienced each of these issues (and yes lack of sleep too).

bubblagirl Thu 27-Aug-09 09:21:38

i have to agree with lingle what you explain about your dd sounds like more investigating needs to go on first i would go to your gp and explain all what you have written or if still under paed ask them to assess your dd properly

10 hrs is good but the negative bedtime will only ever make her very anxious
if needs to be held down etc tocomb hair this could be sensitivity to her head this is torturous for my ds he has SN and this is horrible for him

washing hair involves using wet flannel not pouring water over head this is terrible for him

i think to get things looked into would be good idea hearing test to rule out any problems there and then can be looked into further in all hionesty from what you describe im surprised it already hasnt been already

my ds started with sleep therapist and then was looked into further fpr lack of speech/understanding and limited eye contact

of course im not trying to diagnose your dd but would be a shame to let this go on further without more investigating as you can be offered more help to help her my ds is like a different boy now and its only since we got a diagnosis and the help came in

good luck

tryingtoleave Thu 27-Aug-09 10:47:12

Hi Vanessa,

We had lots of trouble with ds (I was posting on the sn board about him) and we found that changing his diet made a huge difference. He's not perfect, but I think it's moved his behaviour more into a 'normal' range for a three year old. It also made him sleep an extra hour at night. If you're interested in trying something like that, this book is very helpful

vanessaw200 Thu 27-Aug-09 17:35:28

Hello Ladies,

Many Thanks for your replies.

We actually got 10 hours and 40 mins sleep out of her last night, woohoo! a calmer child today.

Crackersinbed - we've been through the bedtime routine with all the experts, who say that it's ok, after a bit of tweeking i.e low lights, warm bath, warm milk, straight to room and into pyjamas and hair combed and then into bed for stories in low light, we try to keep it quiet and calm. It can be during bathtime if she gets upset for whatever reason, that the behaviour changes and she gets hysterical and whilst trying to do her hair it gets impossiable but thats every night. Unfortunatley she's finished at playgroup but they felt she had some sort of problems on the autistic spectrum, if only mild, due to reactions of hers whilst at playgroup i.e crying when the vacum cleaner was on. She hates handdryers, drills, hairdryers, vacum cleaner, lawnmowers anything like these. I've spoken to the HV several times, sorry the woman daft!lol,

Bubblagirl - The hair combing of a night is like dealing with a wriggling worm gone mad and take your point about being sensitive to her head but sometimes in the morning she comes in the shower with me (oh joy) and after I comb her hair out and she's fine.

Lingle - I maywell come over to the SN thread I think I need help, my hubby is certain there's something not quite right.

I think what also concerns us is that she seems to be in a different world sometimes. I know they have imaginary world but all the time???

Toilet training seems to have regressed lately as she keeps wetting herself and won't go to the toilet and is now getting sore and a rash but that might be typical 4 year old behaviour ?????

I'll have to copy and paste my message from here to the SN thread methinks

Thanks Ladies

bubblagirl Fri 28-Aug-09 09:58:42

sometimes it could be over sensitive for all that has gone on in the day can become more sensitive to touch when tired when too much going on in your mind etc ds is variable for this i just have to watch the signs

pop over to the sn board my ds has ASD and have some great advise from lots over there

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