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Non-sleeping 11 year old?

(53 Posts)
nighbynight Sun 11-Oct-09 22:00:47

Ds has never been a good sleeper, and has never slept more than 10 hours per night. But in the last year, he has started taking it to extremes.

Last year, he had an awful teacher who bullied him from the start of teh school year until I managed to get him into another parallel class. During the time he was with this teacher, he was hugely stressed, lost all interest in everything, became depressed, and started going to bed very late, I mean around midnight or later.

This year, he has a very nice teacher, who is aware of his problems, and is giving a lot of support.

But ds is still going to bed much too late. For example, now it's 10.52 here, and it is past my bedtime. Ds has to get up at 7 am tomorrow. I have already switched off his light twice, and I am pretty sure that he has switched it on again, and is not sleeping. We have tried everything - story dvds, checking regularly and switching the light out, reading a book before switching teh light out, etc. But I still keep on hearing the sound of his stupid little heels banging on teh floor as he thinks of yet another reason to jump out of bed and roam around the house, or play with his stuff.
He is the same however much we have done during the day.

I have loads to do in teh evenings, bills to pay, letters to write, the dishwasher to empty, school stuff to prepare etc. - and I havent even started it, becuase I am frazzled from the 2 hour bedtime, that even now, still isn't over. Also, I would like to have some time to myself in the evening, instead of spending all night trying to get him to sleep!

I am convinced that he would do better in the school if he would sleep more, as he must be in a permanently sleep-deprived state.
does anyone have any helpful suggestions?

(and please dont bother if it is "its your fault because you dont take him to the park enough" which was the helpful contribution last time I asked for advice on mn. Like an 11 year old wants to go to the flaming park, even if it were possible.)

mimsum Sun 11-Oct-09 22:06:22

ok, maybe he doesn't want to go to the park, but I'd have a good look at his activity levels - some very active kids need absolutely loads of physical activity in order to tire themselves out. My ds(12) used to be really difficult to get to sleep, but he now does at least 2 hours of sport a day and bedtime is generally much easier

but tbh I'm surprised your ds doesn't want to go to the park - round here, that's all most 11 year olds seem to want to do - football, skateboarding, hanging around with their mates ...

nighbynight Sun 11-Oct-09 22:11:03

He doesnt like football or skateboarding, and plays playmobil with his friends. They do play outside a fair bit as well.

The thing is, we do have fairly active weekends, eg go skiing, or up a mountain sometimes. If he would come back from a day in the open air, and drop off at 9pm, I would think "Aha!" and sign him up for daily sport. But he doesn't. I just dont notice any difference.

seeker Sun 11-Oct-09 22:12:04

Why would an 11 year old not want to go ot the park? What does he do for exercise?

admylin Sun 11-Oct-09 22:12:10

nighbynight, I sympathise. Had this last year with ds, he couldn't get to sleep and would read for hours after I'd put him to bed at 9pm but then again he wasn't using his energy except for sitting over his books for hours doing homework all afternoon.

This year it's better, he's in tennis club and hopefully soon he'll be able to meet up with friends and go out when we move nearer school. He definately needs mora than just tennis once or twice a week.

nighbynight Sun 11-Oct-09 22:12:52

Also, the homework interferes with sport. He wont even do karate, which my other son does, because he is too scared of not being able to manage his homework.

seeker Sun 11-Oct-09 22:14:22

OK then, can you not just say "OK, lights out, it's time for sleep now. See you in the morning."

Then turn the light out, closer the door, and get on with what you want to do?

nighbynight Sun 11-Oct-09 22:15:14

Why would an 11 year old WANT to go to the park?

It is 25 minutes walk from our house, and has interesting flowerbeds in.

In summer, he goes across teh fields with his friends to swim in the river, or goes to the open air swimming pool, but the sleeping problem is just the same.

nighbynight Sun 11-Oct-09 22:16:46

seeker, thats what I did for ages. I know perfectly well that he was turning the lights on again, and sitting with his playmobil until after midnight.

Eventually, I decided that I was just ducking the problem.

admylin Sun 11-Oct-09 22:17:53

My ds is still awake now too by the way, but it's half term here. Still an 11 year old should be fast asleep at this time - just can't force him though can you.

Some people are night people and some are morning people, maybe that's it?

Can your ds get up early or is he tired out?

nighbynight Sun 11-Oct-09 22:18:09

He is f*g coming down the stairs again nowangry.

Disappeared into the klo saying "Toilet"

nighbynight Sun 11-Oct-09 22:19:25

He is always pretty tired in the mornings, and I do feel he needs more sleep.

admylin Sun 11-Oct-09 22:19:27

What are those herbal 'beruhigung' tablets called? Or tea with relaxing herbs in ...can't remember the name, I've thought of trying those on ds.

seeker Sun 11-Oct-09 22:22:35

Well you can't make him sleep if he can't. But you can make him stay in bed or at least in his room after a certain time,

Niecie Sun 11-Oct-09 22:26:10

I kind understand how you feel - my DS1 is 9 and doesn't got to sleep even though he is in bed by 9pm. He is quite often still awake at 10.30pm and later.

I don't spend my evening worrying about him. Once he is upstairs he stays there. He would come down on pain of death. Our evenings are still our own. Is there any possibility that you are spending too much tme checking up on your DS and he is now doing it for the attention. If that is the case I would give ignoring him a go. Tell him he can do what he likes but he must stay in his room, shut the door and leave him to it.

The other thing is, I know you have tried story CDs but have your tried children's relaxation CDs? Sometimes, if it nudging 11pm my DS starts to get a bit worried about not sleeping, which doesn't help, and the relaxation CDs do help a bit. He puts them on himself now too.

Are we the only ones who finds Sunday night a bad night for getting to sleep anyway?

nighbynight Sun 11-Oct-09 22:27:17

There are various ones labelled "Schlaftee"
Maybe it would be worth trying them, as part of a wind-down routine.

nighbynight Sun 11-Oct-09 22:33:25

posts xed.

I am not sure niecie. The trouble started shortly before 9pm tonight, when he was larking around, and refused to go to the bathroom.
Eventually, after several reminders, I marched him upstairs (we have a quietness rule in the evenings with our neighbours, and it is absolutely not on, that someeon is banging and thumping in our sitting room late at night.)
He refused to brush his teeth, and ran up and down the stairs for around an hour, with me more or less full time on duty sending him back up again.
Sometimes he does just stay quietly in his room, and I have tried not going up. On balance, I think if I go up and turn the light out, he sleeps before midnight, whereas if I dont, he is still awake when I go to sleep.

admylin Sun 11-Oct-09 22:38:46

Baldrian and Johanniskraut in German, they are meant to be calming but don't know about dc, could try asking the chemist.

nighbynight Sun 11-Oct-09 22:43:38

they sound like characters played by Rowan Atkinson.

I just asked ds what he thought about Schlaftee, and his response showed that he thought I meant sleeping tablets!

purpleduck Sun 11-Oct-09 22:45:45

Does your ds have any caffeine? I am really sensitive to it, and even 1 cup of tea would keep my buzzing.

I'm more used to it now thoughwink

admylin Sun 11-Oct-09 22:47:40

Actually you could try the placebo sleeping tablet. Worked wonders on the last school trip. There were 2 hyper boys who couldn't get to sleep so the teacher brought out his magic tablets that would help them get to sleep, they were infact only Traubenzucker, little sugar pills but they worked and the boys fell for it and went to sleep (the mums knew of this trick before by the way)

Legacy Sun 11-Oct-09 22:47:59

Do 11-yr-olds really still play with Playmobil??

(genuinely interested....)

LauraIngallsWilder Sun 11-Oct-09 22:49:15

Hi nighbynight I feel your pain!

My ds has just turned 8 and has a diagnoses of aspergers which means he doesnt get the point of going to sleep - he resents being asleep because that detracts 'from doing something useful'

Recently he has been awake until 10 or 11 or in fact midnight 3+ nights a week.
Friday night he was awake until 3pm shock That was truly terrible

I have no sensible advice to offer though - in ds case exercise during the day makes little difference

nighbynight Sun 11-Oct-09 23:00:28

oh god laura, that is awful, especially the 3 am. I feel that ds also may be staying awake because he has decided to, although afaik, he doesn't fit the profile of aspergers.

I am also very sensitive to caffeine, and my children dont get any, so its not that!

admylin, Id love to try the placebo table trick! Would it be ethical to make ds believe that I had drugged him??

Ds does still play with Playmobil, but he has had rather a stressed childhood (no toys when he was little, violent controlling father who threatens to abduct him and take him to another country regularly, plus various school related stresses and being put down the year), and says he wants to have his childhood before he is too old for it.
Naturally, the more "grown up" ones in his class at school would be very ready to sneer at him.

nighbynight Sun 11-Oct-09 23:02:48

He slept circa 11.30. I am knackered, have to be up at 6.30 today.

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