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(15 Posts)
forestfern Sat 28-Jun-08 23:06:03

My child wants to go to bed at 10pm.

She is happy to get up then at 8am. She will get up at 6.30am if I am lucky enough to get her to bed by 8.30am. Once a fortnight she will hang at 7pm and sleep through until 8am. 13hours. Her father was sedated as a child and I wonder how much of it is genetic - my brother only needs 6hours of sleep. Me - I like a good 8hours. I think that she has got used to 10hours sleep and occasional catch-ups. It happened when I moved to Switzerland for a year when she was only 2years old - before that it was 8.30pm in her home in England. There were a lot of changes and she was only 2years old And an unhappy marriage - we are now separated soon to divorce march 2008 for £1000 only after 2yr separation - the good part.

She has always found a bedtime bath more alerting than relaxing - playing in it. She has always wanted to be alert and sit up and turn the pages of the story book rather than hear the sedating voice of the mother reading through the stories. And has always changed to wanting a new story every week. She has genuinely been distressed and in tears at “not feeling tired”. One hour in the bedroom with screaming and hitting has not been unusual. - doing so to try to break this. She is now bored of all her DVDs and wanting increasing play from me in the evenings when I am exhausted from work and do not feel like being a child in the playroom. She is already bored of the TV. She has lots of input and play from nurseries and other children all week but her only main love input is me. And I am “play”. I do have authority - but I am mostly friend. She sometimes even calls me by me first name - and the nursery staff - something that schools do not allow. Her father visits at the weekend but has just bought a canal barge today because I cannot keep things going with him staying here every weekend. I am just losing myself with it all.

I just cannot seem to change the routine - because whenever I do so - since I am working very hard all week and finish at 6.30pm - and she is now in nursery and with childminders - I strongly suspect that she has power catnaps with these people. I have said not to … it is a disaster with her sleep.

She is 4yr+ and soon to go to school in September and I am told that this will exhaust. I have also been told by the health visitor that if you really have sleep problems school will solve it? That they get so exhausted. I really hope so because I just cannot keep my life going like this. I am staying up too late just to keep my sanity and have a little time to myself - and it is too late to concentrate on anything productive. Out of 30 children at the school intro day she was still the last off the play structure - as with me - though she came down more willingly. She is always the last out of the swimming pool and pretends that she had not heard the whistle.

I am utterly exhausted, cannot keep on top of it all and have absolutely no time for myself - even to find a babysitter! Forget another partner! Whilst my separated other has told me that he has even got two girlfriends with his free time in the week Switzerland!

It is hard to go through the tears with the bedtime when I know she has so much to put up with with Dad not here - and no relatives close-by. Oxford. Yorkshire. Manchester. Switzerland for Dad and my sister. We live in Wiltshire. But I do it . She says that when I shout at her “it breaks her heart”. I was a funny child who took discipline to heart thinking that “mummy did not love me“ because of it - so that is a hard line for me. Out of my mothers 3 children I was the one that sent her to the library for the psychology books after she told me off and I threw a chair at her. I remember now feeling very depressed and unloved by parental discipline. I remember the inner turmoil and it has made it hard to be firm with my own child - especially when I know that she has been through so much and soon to go through more. I have kept things together with a “mummy and daddy” auspiciously and now she has to have her heart broken by knowing it is not the case? Did I do the wrong thing? Or - will she know at some level that there has always been a dysfunction? I think she does know that. I hope that I did the right thing.

Any thoughts about this bedtime thing?

Nighbynight Sat 28-Jun-08 23:55:23

I have constant struggles with my children over bedtime too, and really sympathise. As a lone parent, you really need that winding down time after the chidlren are in bed.

School does do a lot to help, but you may have to accept that she can manage on less sleep. my ds1 hardly ever sleeps before 10 pm, and gets up at 7 am. He is 10 years old. I just try to make sure that he stays in his room.

citylover Sun 29-Jun-08 00:05:58

We have always had late bedtimes here too. My oldest goes about 10pm and gets up at 8am.

The youngest used to ask to go to bed before his time but now likes to stay late and I do try to get him in earlier.

I think alot of our problem like you is that I don't get in at night until 6.30pm at the earliest and then you have to have food, downtime and bath.

It's all very well when people tut tut about late bedtimes but it is not easy if you have naturally owl like children.

I think it's easier to get them to bed earlier if you have been with them all day and can give them an early tea.

I still feel as though I am wanting as a parent for their late bedtimes even though they seem alert and functioning very well at school.

Then I wonder about the Meditteranean countries where they keep their kids up late!!

redpyjamas Sun 29-Jun-08 00:14:08

My daughters also need a little less sleep than most. They are still awake as I type, tho getting drowsy.
Personally, I just let them stay up until they are tired, but make a rule that after a certain time they are not to require me.
Then we all sleep later in the morning.
I'm also a single parent, and this is how it has worked the least stressful for me.
I used to do 'bedtime at 7pm' when they were younger, but found that more stressful, especially if we were out.
I also have no car, so I need them to cycle everywhere we go, and so I find it useful that they are not tired in the evening when they are cycling home from swimming or Brownies.
They are 5 and 7.

gillybean2 Sun 29-Jun-08 00:35:10

I think perhaps you are worrying too much and she is playing on your own fears, especially about your own childhood.

There's nothing wrong with playing in the bath and enjoying the story when you read it to her. I don't know any child that falls asleep midway through a story (other than in films). My son plays in the bath and is interested and excited by the stories I read. He still goes to sleep (getting later now but he still needs 10 hours).

I found the best way when he was refusing to sleep and having a tantrum was to put a nursery rhyme CD on and leave him too it. Yes he did get up and switch it on again sometimes, but he eventually went off to sleep, and with less tantrums than before. I also leave a nightlight on so he can see around his room, but not enough to read by.

Now he's 9 and his CD at bedtime is a story such as horrid henry or charlie and the cholcoate factory. I also let him read his books in bed for half an hour before I come up and switch the main light off and tuck him in. He then listens to his CD and falls asleep.

If your daughter doesn't want to go straight to sleep leave her to 'read' her books.

My son is meant to go to bed at 7.30pm and lights out at 8pm. Then he's up around 7am. However I do let him play out in the garden a bit later in the summer. I would rather he was doing that than watching tv. But he needs the same amount of sleep so the later he goes to bed the later he gets up.

We've had our fair share of tantrums and getting up all the time for any excuse; still hungry, glass of water, can i sleep in your bed, not tired, who's on the phone... You just have to be firm and say it's bed time now.

Yes your daughter will be very tired when she starts school. Some reception year children fall asleep at their desk even! But you can do things now to wear her out physically as well as mentally.

Do you have an indoor play center near you? She's old enough now that you can let her run round on her own and chill out with a cup of coffee. Do you take her out to the park or for a long walk? Even a 20 minute walk when you get home can be enough to tire her out and will hopefully reap rewards by cutting down the tantrums at bed time.

Don't carry her when she says she is tired. Don't leave her to sit watching tv while you cook dinner. Do you have an outdoor area with some play equipment? Send her out to play on that if you can see her while you cook dinner.

And ask the staff at nursery to let you know if and when she has a nap. And if she falls asleep after 2pm ask that they wake her after 15 minutes as you want her to sleep in the evening, but also because she won't be able to sleep at school and needs to get out of an afternoon nap.

My last boyfriend's daughter wouldn't settle at night when she stayed with him. However one day at mine when we took her to the beach and she walked a long way and run around and climbed the sand dunes and built castles and got lots of fresh air she went to bed and fell almost right to sleep. She was in bed by 7.30, has 3 stories and was fast asleep 10 minutes after we left her! He was amazed. But that was what fresh air, stimulation and exercise did. At his place she was pushed everywhere in the buggy because he was in a rush.

I do know how exhausting lack of sleep and lack of you time can be. Take time to chill and relax and try not to get too stressed about it. Easier said than done I know.

Best wishes

AMAZINWOMAN Sun 29-Jun-08 09:09:41

My youngest son was exactly the same too!

When he was a toddler, he NEVER had a nap. At school, his friends used to be asleep at 7, and he would be awake at 9 and got up easily at 7. I used to ask at parents evening if he was tired in school, and the answer was always no.

My youngest son doesnt need much sleep. And he is always full of energy and enthusiam. If he is quiet and resting, I know he is ill, and when I check he will have a high temperature!

It is such hard work. Other mums have suggested a few comments which I would read-putting your daughter in bed at a certain time, no tv in room etc

But it's the lack of time for me that was the hardest.

as for dicipline. Lots of parents have to dicipline their children, but the children always feel loved. I would imagine when you were growing up, you wern't allowed to answer back or question anything your parents said-that isn't discipline that is control.

Read books about discipline and you will how you were brought up, that it wasn't discipline it was about control. Correct discipline is about setting and keeping to boundaries-and not about making children feel useless and worthless.

Lots of children have parents that split up. And children are so resilient and adaptable. Lots of studies have taken place where children are happier in one parent families where their carer is happy, than if two parents are together and unhappy, arguing and stressed out. So if you're happier than being in a bad relationship, then your daughter will be too.

colditz Sun 29-Jun-08 21:14:34

Just because she doesn't want to go to sleep until 10pm doesn't mean she can't go to her bedroom at 8.30 with a book and a teddy.

prettyfly1 Sun 29-Jun-08 21:20:31

oh how your post echoed my life. my son has been in full time care since he was eight weeks and i have had running arguments over naps - he will stay up till midnight and i work a twelve hour day - i am permanently knackered. my son tends to respond to a cuddle but sometimes i just have to be strict with him. there is another school of thought - that for every child who took discipline to mean lack of love there is another who took lack of discipline for a lack of love. kids need boundaries whether there are two parents or not and she needs to understand that you need time to yourself to. you dont need to explain yourself over that to a four year old - you are the parent. so take the hardline - tell her you love her and its important that she needs enough sleep to grow big and strong and then put her in bed and dont engage in justifying it!

prettyfly1 Sun 29-Jun-08 21:20:37

oh how your post echoed my life. my son has been in full time care since he was eight weeks and i have had running arguments over naps - he will stay up till midnight and i work a twelve hour day - i am permanently knackered. my son tends to respond to a cuddle but sometimes i just have to be strict with him. there is another school of thought - that for every child who took discipline to mean lack of love there is another who took lack of discipline for a lack of love. kids need boundaries whether there are two parents or not and she needs to understand that you need time to yourself to. you dont need to explain yourself over that to a four year old - you are the parent. so take the hardline - tell her you love her and its important that she needs enough sleep to grow big and strong and then put her in bed and dont engage in justifying it!

dashboardconfessionals Thu 03-Jul-08 11:56:04

Message withdrawn

piratecat Thu 03-Jul-08 13:41:46

my dd who is now 6 is ans was just the same.
never napped, never dropped off in the buggy, pushchiar, car. None of it.

She is a total livewire, and has been since birth imo.

Very tiring, and frustrating.

i think 10 is too late, but for me i have found that 8 is better for my child.

forestfern Sat 12-Jul-08 21:11:40

She is quite bossy and I have never been able to watch "my TV" since she was born. I do think that she is napping in the day because I could mostly manage to get her to bed by 9.30pm before I went to work - I suppose she does also miss my being there since I have gone from pretty much full-time mum to full-time working +. How to break this habit is hard - I have told everybody concerned that she MUST not nap in the day. And even tried the sedation route to get her out of the habit - but she just spits it out and can taste it in the bottle. It is still a big problem for me and the exhaustion of 10hours days and these late bedtimes is making me feel quite ill. I need to keep up the work to take on the mortgage. And I have a lot of study to do since I have taken a few years out now to be a mum. I suppose the first thing to try is putting her upstairs at 8.30pm with the DVD - after trying the bedtime routine - and then not let her come down. I feel that there is nothing left of me at the moment and I am beginning to dislike her for it. I love her and it is not that. It is just that there is nothing left of me anymore.That is not just her. You know, it is the split up of the whole thing that you hoped for. I must get myself some babysitters too. I have no family support here either. And just one friend! " J no mates eh!". I think I am a bit too independent for my own good there though.

Also the "play" thing. How much play should an only child expect from their mum - who is, after all, an adult? Thoughts on this also appreciated. We have been to the circues today and an indoor play strucutre but I am told that "I still have not played". True - and I can understand it. But how much play should I do to be a good mother. I do 1-1 and half hours in the playroom when we get home at 6.45pm in the week.

Tinkerbel6 Tue 15-Jul-08 12:48:34

forest I think 10pm is too late, when she starts reception she will be so tired she will be falling asleep at 7pm, I think a reasonable bedtime for that age is between 7 and 7.30pm, I know you won't have a lot of time with her at night but if she is tired at school then it will affect her learning, maybe a 7.30 bedtime for lights out at 8pm at the very latest

popcorn123 Tue 15-Jul-08 16:45:33


I suspect you feel guilty for the number of hours you work and the fact you are a single parent (both of these also apply to me) and allow yourself to feel guilty if she doesn't feel satisfied with the amount of attention she receives.

Children of that age (or any age) will try and get as much one to one time with you as they can. My eldest who is 3.8 is exactly like that - the little is not as bad.

Don't feel bad if you only have 3-45 minutes quality time before she goes to bed. Make it nice time and then be firm about bed time and don;t feel guilty about demands for more time. I think when she realsies that you will not change your mind she will accept it more.

She needs her sleep and you need time to yourself.

You are not a bad mum!

forestfern Thu 31-Jul-08 23:43:59

It is a big problem at the moment. She does not seem to accept my boundaries at all re mianly bed. Her dad has just stopped staying here - he works abroad and used to come at the weekend to stay in the spare room - we have been sleeping separately for 4years. We would then spend a day each with her but meet up sometimes for meals. I decided it best to put a stop to all this before she started school and he has now bought a barge where he will be living at the weekends. There is no family time at all anymore and i know this upsets her. There is only really me and her here - relatives rarely seen as they live miles away. I am worried that she is exhausting herself and me and also that I might lose my job because I have no down time and am staying up a bit late just to have some time to myself. I should be in bed now. Somebody should tell me to go to bed! She will just argue back with me and even try to fight me when I put my foot down. We managed 9.15pm for a couple of weeks - then back to 10pm. She starts school in two months. I am totally drained and just cannot give her as much as she needs. I am so worried that she will not learn or fall off a climbing frame. She hardly every seems tired except mid-afternoon - I do worry that she has naps though?? I was almost a full-time mum until she was 4 and then suddenly 10hour days without her 4days per week for the past few months. Needing to get back to work for the skill base and the money for impending divorce next year. No amount of time is ever enough though - as somebody has just said. I am somebody who can give too much of myself. Even 2hours of bath/play/stories. I end up getting cross and shouting and saying silly things like "I need some time just for me, I cannot play with you all the time, I am a grown up ..." stupid things like that trying to reason with her. I dont know what to do anymore. She will stay in her room after 9pm but only with a dvd and I really do not want that. I have only done it twice and I do not like the idea of it since she will just watch it until she is exhausted and it is visually stimulating which is not relaxing - it is just a last resort - I just cant take it any more. It started when we moved abroad for a year and she has had 4 different places to live and had to be in a foreign language environment for a year. She has done a lot - been all over Europe and skiing and has had a fairly stimulating time. Sometimes late night there with the travelling. I am going to get that swing in the garden though - weather permitting - I think this might be a really great route. Thanks for that idea. Anybody else got any other ideas? I am thinking that it might be better just to go swimming for an hour to make sure she is tired - but I am so tired for that idea at 7pm after a 10hr day. It is not as though I would be able to excercise with her also and 7pm would be too late for any swimming lessons - unless I could find a private tutor and just sit there and read. That might be nice. We do not eat together anymore and we are both missing each other now after 4mth of it - work have said that I can cut back a bit in a few months when the workload is less pressured. She is hardly having a home life I think - that does not help - she loves being in the house and her playroom and toys. She seems very confident but I think she has always been a bit insecure about bedtime - I wondered at one point if she thought me and her dad might argue and she stayed awake to stop that. We did save arguments until when she had gone to sleep. I used to have to sleep beside her and generally she has needed to be asleep when I leave her which I thought was the norm until recently when I found out that was not the case. She has never gone off to sleep on her own. She doesn't have nightmares but she has serious tonsillitis for two years and finally obstructed and was admitted to hospital. She did not sleep peacefully for two years and was always moving every 10minutes to get breath and labouring. They are so reluctant to take tonsills out these days. She had them out in the end because she almost obstructed with a quinsy and was on an oxygen sats monitor. This was only 6mth ago. While we waited for the op I hardly slept for worry and listening to her snoring like an old man and having sleep apnoea - stopping breathing for a few seconds. It was really upsetting that she could not sleep peacefully. Like children with eczema scratching or asthma wheezing. A hard thing for mums. I wonder if this might be the cause of the habit?? Sorry for such a long post. Any help really appreciated.

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