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What to do with mindee who just will not sleep

(17 Posts)
WinomoreTheFruitbat Wed 05-Aug-09 13:44:42

I've been looking after my friend's little boy (17 months) for the past two weeks. I've looked after him (ad hoc) in the past.
He will not sleep when the others sleep, he never has.
This is fine with me as he is otherwise very easy and just potters about so I can still have a break.
He will sleep in the buggy if we're out but this is not always possible, especially as I can't sleep all mindees in buggy.
His mother (my friend) has said he isn't even sleeping at night now and would like me to try and get him into the same routine I have for my other mindees.
I've been in childcare and been a mother long enough to know that the more sleep a child has, the more he/she needs.
I've no idea what to do though. He is extremely strong willed and will shout and scream until I get him out of the cot sad

He just doesn't seem to need sleep when he's with me but he's so overtired when he gets home in the evenings.
I just can't believe he's not sleeping well at night either. I'm amazed he can keep going!

I have never experienced a child not having an afternoon sleep, or one who is so strong willed!
What would you do? Because his parents are tearing their hair out

WinomoreTheFruitbat Wed 05-Aug-09 13:45:11

Please excuse the name, I'm not a wino! grin

mhmummy Wed 05-Aug-09 13:48:21

Hmmmm - tricky! What happens at the weekend/other days he's not with you?

bigchris Wed 05-Aug-09 13:49:38

I don't see how you can force him to sleep tbh
If he won't drop off when you put him down surely his parents don't want you to use controlled crying in the day?

Seeline Wed 05-Aug-09 13:52:17

Both my DCs flatly refused daytime naps at 18 months, and it had been a major struggle up until that point. Both are very stron willed. DS barely slept at night (still needs very little now at 7) DD always slept well at night and still does. You can't force a child to sleep, some need more than others.

WinomoreTheFruitbat Wed 05-Aug-09 13:53:51

Well, they want me to try to just leave him. Not sure what else to do really. He slept for 15 mins in the buggy yesterday and hardly slept at all last night.
I've always had really good sleepers so I've no idea what to suggest.
I think at the weekend he just drops off in the buggy and tbh I think this is what's always happened.
I'm happy for him not to have a sleep in the day but it seems to be affecting his night time sleep now.

bran Wed 05-Aug-09 13:55:30

Have you tried white noise? It used to work very well with my very active and hard to settle DS. The hoover is good or the washing machine. In fact even though he's 5 now I still sometimes put a load in the washing machine if he's having trouble nodding off at night.

WinomoreTheFruitbat Wed 05-Aug-09 14:02:27

I can't even put him in the buggy as my flast is too small and the buggy stays outside downstairs.

I've actually had the washing machine on while he was in the bedroom, I wonder if sticking the vacuum on in the bedroom would work? It's a really noise vacuum though!
I'm going to leave it for today. I might take him out in a bit in the hope that he'll fall asleep in the buggy (only him today plus my own two). I can't do that everyday though as I normally have another mindee to think of.

bigchris Wed 05-Aug-09 14:05:57

I really wouldnt bother with all that white noise palaver for a 17 month old. Both mine gave up their sleeps at 18 months too, I would tell the parents that you can't get him to sleep in the day and that's it really. I know it sounds harsh but you've doen all you can and surely they just want you to keep their child happy in the day, not stick it in a cot with a hoover going off near it grin
The nighttime really isn't your problem imo
My 2 went to nursery and often were overtired at night and didn't sleep as well but it's just one of those things, I didn't blame the childcare I had chosen to use

mhmummy Wed 05-Aug-09 14:14:24

Agree with bigchris that you just have to accept that there are consequences to different types of childcare and this is one for them. If its absolutely not possible to take him out in the buggy in the afternoon then they'll just have to live with that...

I would ask them how long they want you to leave him to cry for, i.e. get specific direction from them about this and give them feedback on how it went.

mhmummy Wed 05-Aug-09 14:15:31

Sorry I mean that they, the parents have to accept the consequences... blush

thebody Wed 05-Aug-09 17:57:28

I dont think its fair or your job to leavehim to cry for too long.. agreewith Chris the night time sleeps are parents responsibility and not yours though feel for them.

If you leave him to cry you could get a complaint raised agaist you by a neigbour..

Some kids just dont sleep.. luck of the draw and its not really your problem to solve really.. good luck..

allaboutme Wed 05-Aug-09 17:59:48

i'd bring the buggy in and get him to sleep in that tbh
you must be able to make enough space for a buggy just while other mindees are all sleeping

atworknotworking Wed 05-Aug-09 18:27:50

Its a tricky one and every child is different in what they need, I had a similar problem at about 16 - 18 months with one of my mindees, wouldn't sleep at all, you could see how exhausted the poor little mite was as well, used to lay on the floor to play as didn't have the energy to move around, mum said wouldn't sleep at night either, would shout and throw things out of the cot, turns out dad was picking him out taking downstairs and watching cartoons, having snacks, who would want to go to bed if this was the alternative, on the other hand I don't agree with trying to enforce sleep, but if the child is obv tired then I think you should try a routine and make sure parents do exactly the same, so that the little one knows exactly what is happening. Some of the things we did to solve the problem are:

A quiet time/wind down time before sleep, read a story (but not an exciting one)

Some soothing music - we put a brahhms lullaby on loop, not too loud just enough to hear

A quiet room, with no distractions, no toys in cot

Calmy say its nap / rest time now (try not to mention sleep, as the child will get worked up before it even gets into the cot)

As you take the child to the sleep area say something like - that was a nice story would you like to paint, play with whatever after we have had our rest time

If the child kicks off, go over, don't make eye contact, gently lay back down and say, it's rest time now, try not to talk apart from this, keep laying back down but don't make eye contact or speak

This method has worked lots for us, the key is to reward the child for resting, sometimes they may just lie quietly and listen to the music without actually going to sleep, if ths is the case, give them 10min or so then go over and say well done, that was a nice rest shall we go and play now, gradually leave it a lttle longer and usually they will have a sleep eventually, you need the child to associate the rest time with something to look forward to or some form of reward so that it doesn't become a battle of wills or something troumatic, but the parents must do exactly the same if the routine is broken your'e back to square one and it's even harder.

thebody Wed 05-Aug-09 19:19:31

Thats what I did with one of my mindees who was difficult to settle, and it worked a treat, but as you point out all need to be singing from the same hymn sheet and if he is going to cry I would definatly write the plan down as part of his obs just in case some nosy neigbour does report the noise..

You only have to read these threads to see how it happens and people are so bloody awful..

Oligo Wed 05-Aug-09 23:59:31

does he drop off in buggy quickly?
How long are they expecting him to sleep at night?
What time does he wake up in morning?

i.e. is he tired?

familiar nursery rhymes or audio story on loop may bridge the gap between wanting to be stimulated and needing at least a quiet rest if not a sleep.

is he used to being left to go to sleep or do people sit with him/constanly go back in- even though they want YOU to leave him maybe they find it hard to do so themselves?

WinomoreTheFruitbat Thu 06-Aug-09 19:00:51

Sorry, only just managed to respond! He drops off in buggy if tired. In fact today he fell asleep in the buggy on the way back from the park and I transferred him onto my bed - as I know if I'd put him into a travel cot, he would have woken up!. He had a lovely sleep for a whole hour!
Dad very pleased when he picked up, I'm hoping he will sleep well for them tonight smile

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