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4 yr old finding it hard to fall asleep - any advice?

(6 Posts)
whethergirl Wed 21-Oct-09 20:58:21

Hi, my 4.5 year old DS is going to school part time and gets incredibly exhausted. He complains of being tired a lot and mornings can be a nightmare. Sometimes he manages to nod off in good time, but other times, even though he is tired, it can take him up to an hour and a half! I put him to bed around 7.30pm/8pm. I have tried spraying lavender spray in the room.

Does anyone else have the same problem and/or have any ideas of what to do? I feel so sorry for him when he is tossing and turning, trying to sleep.

GreenMonkies Wed 21-Oct-09 21:04:02

I guess if the whole tea-bath-bed thing doesn't wind him down enough, you could try some guided relaxation, my DD1 has trouble dropping off sometimes and I sit with her and talk quietly, telling her that her toes are relaxed, then her feet, then her knees, then her legs, and so on, by the time I get to her eyes she's generally goofed. Or sometimes I rub her feet and back with a lavender hand cream, which helps too.

It's hard when they are overtired and wired, sometimes they need help to switch off.

Good luck.

whethergirl Wed 21-Oct-09 21:33:54

Thanks GreenMonkies, that's a lovely idea and will definitely consider it although what puts me off is that when I've thought about doing something similiar (stroking his head, which he finds relaxing) I wonder if there is a danger he will get too dependant on this when he needs to learn to wind down himself?

Just knowing what he is like as well, I know that he would end up demanding the ritual every night - sorry if it sounds selfish but it had taken me so long to get him to the point of him falling asleep on his own (nightmare sleeper from the start really!) that I loathe to get into any routine where he will start depending on me to sleep again.

GreenMonkies Wed 21-Oct-09 21:48:24

I know what you mean. DD1 has only stopped being nursed to sleep about 6 months ago (she's 6 now!) and now I only have to stay with her and wind her down like this if she's really over-tired. Once they get to about 5 you can reason with them much better, you can set deadlines, say you will do this until half term, or christmas or what ever date you are ok with. DD1 has now learned to wind herself down using the same kind of relaxation, now I can say I am going to do something and will be back in 5 minutes, quite often when I go back she's asleep.

whethergirl Wed 21-Oct-09 23:11:27

Thanks GreenMonkies, I will see if I can teach him the relaxation technique, although that might be expecting a bit too much at this age, I'm not even sure he'll really know what 'relax' really means! I think sometimes the problem is he tries to hard to go to sleep.

I'm also thinking if I've added to the problem by actually getting a bit cross a few times in the past when he hasn't gone to sleep blush and so I don't think it's helped and only added extra pressure and made him feel bad about it sad

I am still co sleeping with him but trying to sort out a bedroom for him, god knows what sleeping problems I am going to have endure when he will have to start sleeping in his own bed!

GreenMonkies Thu 22-Oct-09 10:53:56

DD1 didn't grasp the concept of relaxation at first either, I used to tell her that her toes were going all tired and floppy, and then they went to sleep, and so on, all the way up her body.

DD2 moved from our room (she had/still has a sidecar cot on our bed) into the bottom bunk in with DD1 a few months ago. We made a bit of a fuss, bought her character duvet covers (ebay!! wink) and put Dora posters up for her, and made it clear that she could sleep in her new bed or in with us, it was up to her. The lure of the lovely new bed was too much and she opted to sleep in it. She still joins us first thing in the morning and sometimes in the night, which is how we handled DD1's sleeping arrangements too, and gradually they join us less and less. If you make his new room and bed a nice exciting place that he wants to be in, and don't ban him from your bed it will hopefully be an easy transition. Slow and gentle works best I find, letting them feel their way rather than forcing change on them. It sounds like you are doing this kind of thing any way, which is lovely, he's a lucky boy. smile

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