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4YO DD suddenly not wanting to sleep

(9 Posts)
LookMumNoHands Sun 18-Nov-12 20:51:24

First time posting. My DD has always been an angel at bedtime, bath, story, bed from when she was a baby.

We moved house, she was fine. Went into a bed, she was fine. Last few months - awful. She did start school in September so thinking maybe its that but she has settled really well, teacher is happy and has made lots of friends.

I feel like I've tried everything, being positive, being firm, taking away treats, using stickers and nothing is working. I have asked her and she said she doesn't want me and daddy downstairs without her and its not fair she has to sleep and we don't.

If I stay upstairs, she'll sleep but then I'm just giving in to her aren't I? DP and I both work so we look forward to the evenings together and now we don't even have that with the constant running up and down the stairs, the tears, the shouting.

Help mumsnet! Sorry tis rather long!

Bewildermum Mon 19-Nov-12 20:44:28

LookMum, I feel your pain - sorry I can't offer any advice though as I was just about to post the same thing about my 5.5yo DD. :-(

She's never exactly been an angel about going to bed, but the last few weeks have been so much worse - and like you we've tried ever approach we can think of.

We started a reward chart this week specifically to try to avoid the bit where she refuses to let me go downstairs - clinging and crying her eyes out. For the promise of stars/a reward she went to sleep easily for 2 nights (making me think she can do it if she wants!) but tonight was back to normal service (she's currently listening to a story CD... I'm expecting "Muuuummmyy" any minute once it's finished.)

The worst thing is that she is soooo tired. She really needs to get to sleep.

Unlike you, I think in our case this is a long-standing thing and we've let her get into this terrible habit where she thinks she can't get to sleep without us... but what to do to fix it?

Oh dear, sorry for so emphatically not offering any help, but hoping someone can offer some tips.

I can hear her at the top of the stairs... here we go again... :-(

LookMumNoHands Tue 20-Nov-12 11:52:35

At least it's not just me and that is always good to know.

Last night we tried just ignoring her, I said - it's bedtime now, if you aren't going to sleep then that's fine but you will not come in the front room. Cue two hours of emotional blackmail through the door...sad voice, then cross voice, fake tears, then I want a drink, I want a cuddle, I don't like you mummy I want nanny etc etc

Eventually fell asleep in the hallway and I put her back upstairs.

I'm hoping not giving in to her attention will help but I feel terrible and I'm still not sure if its even the right thing to do..

And she was always exhausted this morning as well. Stubborn girlies!

Pyrrah Tue 20-Nov-12 14:42:04

Does she fall asleep if you sit with her?

We have always read DD a story and then sat in bed with her till she falls asleep - it's quite nice really, we have a snuggle and I get to read my book. I've never read more than a chapter before she's asleep and then I sneak out.

Find it much easier than trying to leave her awake. It's quick and painless.

LookMumNoHands Tue 20-Nov-12 18:29:53

Pyrrah she does fall asleep if I sit with her but that's kind of the problem, she used to sleep on her own and now she is playing up and I think it is the attention thing. But then I feel mean and think maybe I should just stay with her for an easier's so tricky to know what to do when you've never had a child before!

Bewildermum Tue 20-Nov-12 19:23:23

LookMum, I had an exhausted little girl on my hands this morning as well.

Have you tried that "rapid return" technique? I tried it last night - just kept putting her back to bed time after time without saying much at all - only "It's bedtime darlin" - being very calm - gentle but no cuddles - the idea being that you don't reward their crying with attention, and that after a while (loads of times a night over several nights? Eek!) they will learn that they're not gaining anything by playing up.

Well that's the theory (!). It was pretty horrible - she was screaming and crying. Eventually she stopped the screaming and just said "so-or-ry" in that hiccupy, sobbing little voice whereupon I crumbled and gave her a cuddle! I'm so so soft :-)

Sat beside her bed for a few minutes and she was soon about 10pm. Sigh!!

Hope you have a good night tonight. I cancelled DD's Rainbows club and put her to bed extra early.. cross fingers.

Pyrrah, your method does sound so lovely but I really want DD to be able to go to sleep by herself like she used to....actually I think she'd just want to chat if I tried it anyway :-)

(arg, sorry my posts are always so long!)

BertieBotts Tue 20-Nov-12 19:27:18

I don't think there's anything wrong with sitting with them while they fall asleep if they need that, and if it doesn't take too long. I still sit with my four year old although recently he's been asking for story CDs instead and the deal we made with these is that if he has the CD on then I go downstairs, or I can sit with him, but no CD.

If you're sitting with them and they don't fall asleep in 5-10 minutes then they're either not tired, or not relaxing.

BertieBotts Tue 20-Nov-12 19:28:54

Also, it's probably just a phase. Go with it and you might find she grows out of it soon enough (even if you have to use gentle persuasion such as pretending you need to go to the toilet or do something else after a while and telling her you'll check on her in 10 minutes)

LookMumNoHands Tue 20-Nov-12 19:44:48

Thanks everyone. Great advice, especially it being a phase. It seems to be as soon I get one issue sorted there is something else. Does this keep happening until they leave home?

This evening have heard a few movements up and down the stairs but hasn't tried to talk to us or any crying or anything. Although I think this is partly due to how incredibly tired she is.

Bewild - that hiccupy crying voice is the worst! I think our daughters could teach manipulation techniques to the secret service to get information out of the enemy!

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