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Getting desperate: 4 year old won't stay in bed!

(36 Posts)
CountingSparrows Thu 06-Dec-12 12:31:39

Ds has always been a good sleeper but occasionally gets unsettled (birth of sib; starting school; illness for eg). He gets into a habit of coming into our room or just shouting 'mummeeeeee' from his bed. It can be for a wee, drink, tuck in, anything really. Up to 10 times p/night shock

If I leave him he screams and shouts a d wakes others up. He knows he needs to stay in bed all night, quietly but seems unable to manage. He loses opening his advent calendar, various treats and rewards which have been offered. He seems unable to help it.

Can anyone advise, getting so desperate.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 06-Dec-12 13:09:17

Put a lidded cup of water where he can reach it and a potty in his room for wees. If he wakes tell him its night and to go to sleep, second time tell him you aren't coming in again and then leave him. Sounds harsh but we've done it at this age and dd cried, more of a shout, for a couple of minutes and then went back to sleep.

Think you have to decide though if you want to continue or risk the others waking a couple of times.

CountingSparrows Thu 06-Dec-12 14:51:51

Thanks, he has never had a drink/wee alone, he has anxiety issues. He had water and a potty by his bed but won't do any of it alone. He gets very stressed, it is genuine. He'd wet the bed before he'd sit on his potty alone in the night. He had a night light. I am firm re. This is the last time etc etc but he actually decides that, not me!


JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 06-Dec-12 20:00:02

Have you spoken to your HV about the anxiety and sleep?

fryingpanalley Thu 06-Dec-12 20:30:55

Sticker chart works here 4/5 nights. Stay in bed for x nights= £1 to spend in pocket money shop.
I got myself in a total pickle about her anxiety etc. but strangely enough the reminder of a plastic toy or whatnot at 3am seems to keep her in her bed.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 06-Dec-12 21:12:27

Oh yeah had forgotten we used sticker charts. Netmums do some free printable ones.

<scuttles away at mention of netmums>

CountingSparrows Fri 07-Dec-12 00:39:26

Not spoken about his anxiety, no. His teacher knows a bit. Does it sound extreme? I'm worried about making an issue of it and not had anything to do with hvs since they were babies. Why do you suggest talking to them?

Thanks, in the meantime ill try sticker reward charts. Can't see anything working right now though.

What's the point anyway? Been up with ds2 since 11pm <gives up>

sashh Fri 07-Dec-12 04:50:04

I think rooms can be quite frightening when they are dark or just dim, not the same as the day.

What about having a pretend night, close curtains / blinds and have a few mins with him in bed and then using the potty.

COuld you use a baby monitor / walki talki? So you don't actually have to be there but can talk to him.

notcitrus Fri 07-Dec-12 07:04:01

What about leaving the big light on for him? Ds is 4 and has wanted it on for about a year. Sometimes he wants it off at bedtime but it's always on later.

And a fair few nights sitting reading outside his door, asking if he needs the loo and telling him to go back to bed if not.

Maybe telling him a certian toy is going to look after him all night as mummy needs sleep? Or getting him to look after a toy - might tell you what he's worrying about.

CountingSparrows Fri 07-Dec-12 15:07:00

Pretend night is a great idea, will do that later. Only up (with him anyway) once last night so that was a relief.

I'll also try the toy thing, though I'm sure I've done that before. He doesn't hold much weight in the protection offered by toys from monsters smile

CountingSparrows Fri 07-Dec-12 15:07:38

Big light left on always causes lots of wakings, meant to add.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 07-Dec-12 15:19:59

Suggested talking to the HV because they can sometimes refer you to a free sleep clinic, she should also be better equipped to judge whether the anxiety is normal or not. Mine weren't that anxious at that age but I've only got a sample of two smile

jenduck Fri 07-Dec-12 19:10:59

I know you say you've tried the toy thing, but it might be worth doing it slightly differently. If DS1 (4 next week) is scared, I get his toys to 'talk' to him (me doing silly voice!) & promise to look after him.

We also leave on a lamp on the landing, which seems to reassure him.

And now that Christmas is approaching, could you use Father Christmas - eg, he is watching you, he will only come when you're asleep etc. Try Portable North Pole for a personalised video message from the man himself. You can stipulate something the child has been asked to do this year & whether or not they have done it, so this could act as a good incentive (disclaimer: when I did it for DS1 he had done what he was supposed to so had a 'good list' message, don't know what the message is like if they haven't done as they're supposed to)

CountingSparrows Sat 08-Dec-12 03:02:10

He's terrified of FC. We have to state in our letter to him to please leave presents in the garden (not even inside the house) and mummy will bring them in! Oh dear, unusual?

I have worried, on and off, for years about his anxiety. I worry it could make it worse if it becomes a bug deal.

Just up with the toddler again, thanks for your help so far

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 08-Dec-12 19:02:31

It is unusual to be scared of Father Christmas but not totally unheard of Counting.

SecretSantaSquirrels Sat 08-Dec-12 19:11:45

Let him sleep with you? Then you both get sleep. He will be a happier child all day if he gets more sleep.
This was DS2 until he was about 11 8.

ConstantCraving Sat 08-Dec-12 21:00:52

Sleep WITH you!? Noooo! DD 3years was in my bed last night and believe me i got NO sleep. She slept cuddled up to me (very sweet) and woke every time I tried to move. I got awful cramp and had to get up and then spent an hour trying to get her back to sleep. She only came in because has been unwell and I was too tired to protest (big mistake!)

CountingSparrows Sat 08-Dec-12 21:37:52

No chance of sleeping with me. I'd love to in theory and if I was a lone patent I'm sure I'd end up with them in my bed but not practical now!

SecretSantaSquirrels Sat 08-Dec-12 21:50:55

Worked for me. And DH who got peace in Ds's bed!

SoulTrain Sat 08-Dec-12 21:53:10

No, don't take him into bed with you!

Where did the mention of the anxiety come about? I don't think he sounds anxious, he's just testing boundaries with you.

I'd take him out 1-1 and have a chat about his room, what he thins about the bedroom, what he likes what he doesn't like, and what he would in an ideal world want when he wakes up. If its to come in with you, explain why you can't do that and then offer a compromise. Talk about a new light, bed covers, cuddly toy...whatever works.

Also, I don't think it's unusual for a baby to be afraid of Father Christmas. I'd say the idea if you think about it is quite weird, a man they don't know coming in to bed when they are sleeping....I reckon he's a thinker and is bright, that's all.

birthdaypanic Sat 08-Dec-12 21:54:08

We left hall light on, still do even though dd's all grown up.

Alwayshome Sat 08-Dec-12 22:06:58

Maybe not practical for you but this is what works for us and 3.5yr DS.
He goes to sleep in his own room.
Before we go to bed we make up a small bed on the floor next to my side of our bed. If he wakens in the night he can run in and sleep the rest of the night in his special bed.
Started this out of total laziness on my part not wanting to get up in the night and it's worked out great. Prob ends up there a couple of times a week. Just knowing he can come sleep next to me has settled him. All getting good sleep.
Just an idea! Good luck.

CountingSparrows Sat 08-Dec-12 22:37:31

He is anxious generally but definitely testing boundaries right now too. He is obsessive, and that's not too string a word, about being completely tucked in and with his sheet over his head, so no part of gum shows confused, which I always help him with. I have now said, except 1 wee trip per night, I will not be tucking him in again. He stayed in bed all night after that! Let's hope it works tonight too...

Tgger Sat 08-Dec-12 22:43:52

Hmmmmm, I think you can feed their anxieties by being a too responsive parent shock.

I think I did this a bit with DS, and have learnt since with DD that if you manage their expectations from a younger age they are A LOT easier. So... when he is not tucked in you don't pander to it you just say "it doesn't matter, you can get yourself comfortable" or something like that. Of course to start with you will get howls of protest but if you stick to your guns and don't engage he will stop fussing (so says my amateur child psychology smile but worked for us).

The wees in the night bit is trickier- think you have to help him with that whilst he needs help, but perhaps you can minimise your engagement if you haven't done that already?

BertieBotts Sat 08-Dec-12 22:46:56

Oh that's good that you've found something that works smile

I was going to suggest either sitting with him and hoping it's a phase (my 4.2 year old has just started "letting" me go downstairs after tucking him in, it's amazing grin) or trying story CDs? Maybe something to try if anything upsets his routine.

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