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trying to get scared four yo ds2 to stay in his bed all night. HELP!

(23 Posts)
mummymafia Mon 01-Apr-13 09:14:41

Morning & happy Easter one & all. Can anyone help me get my 4 yo ds2 to stay in his bed all night? He shares a room with his older brother & has the bottom bunk. He claims the 'troublemaker' lives down the side of the bed nearest to the wall & every single night wakes up 2 or 3 times absolutely terrified & simply won't go back to bed or if he does he is awake again 20 mins later. He was up for 2 hours last night & I refused to get up anymore so he ended up sleeping on a pile of cushions on the end of my bed. He was awake full of beans at 6am. The tiredness is killing me! It's like having a new born again but I can't use that excuse at work, with ds1, the ironing, etc! We have tried sticker charts, special lavender sprays to get rid of nasties, doors & lights on everywhere, sympathy, firmness, rewards, everything. Nothing is working. He is a very bright bubbly preschooler who is very capable & not afraid of anything else. My hubby & I take it in turns to get up at night & lie in at the w/e but it's sapping the life blood out of us.what haven't I tried? Going to move the bunk beds today to give that a shot but I'm not hopeful. [Busad]

TheOneWithTheHair Mon 01-Apr-13 09:20:42

Strange. My ds2 is four and sleeps in the bottom bunk. He too says the wall by the beds is the bad wall and it scares him.

My only advice is to get him to choose wall stickers. (We have Lightening McQueen). Tell him he can put them where he likes because they will watch out for the 'troublemaker' and keep your ds2 safe at night.

If you believe it then your ds2 should iyswim. It helped my ds2 to have a guardian.

mummymafia Mon 01-Apr-13 09:42:39

Thanks that's a good idea. Not sure where I'm going to get stickers from on an Easter Monday out in the sticks! He has just said cushions in the gap would stop the troublemaker getting out as he is a ghost & they can't get through cushions. Got to be worth a pop!

TheOneWithTheHair Mon 01-Apr-13 10:09:06

I got mine from B&Q.

The cushions are a good idea if it's come from him. Keep reminding him what he's said to reinforce it. Has he got a favourite teddy or character toy that could be a 'guardian' as well? It may take a few days but it worked in the end for us and ds2 has always been a terrible sleeper.

cloudhands Mon 01-Apr-13 10:27:22

sounds like he's inventing a character to express some fears he's got about being seperated from you. This article offers a useful perspective. Basically the most common reason children wake in the night, is because of stress and emotional tension, (just the same as adults actually!). there are some tips to help get your children to sleep better.
A few things that might help are lots of connection and physical play before bed, like fun pillow fights or some play wrestling, this can help kids sleep more deeply and also feeling more connected to you will help him to feel more relaxed when sleeping at night. One way that fear is released from children and adults, is through laughter, so if play involves lots of laughter this will help him be a more confident sleeper.
Also doing some special time during the day where he gets to choose an activity. This also helps build the close connection, that means he's more confident to sleep alone.
Does he cry or tantrum often? These are naturally healing processes that can help a child, express worries and fear, so if you can offer him lots of warmth and affection if he's crying, or stay close when he's tantrumming (not ignoring) it can help him release fears.
Anyway there's more info on all of this on the website I linked to.
hope it helps and you get a good night's sleep soon!

SanityClause Mon 01-Apr-13 10:32:34

When my DC were younger and had nightmares, I would often go and lie down next to them for a while, in their beds, rather than having them in mine.

When they are settled, you can leave, which is easier than booting them out of bed.

Incidentally, I wouldn't do the sticker thing. You are then giving credence to the existence of the troublemaker. You will just make it more real to him, if you appear to believe in it, and perpetuate the fear of it.

TheOneWithTheHair Mon 01-Apr-13 10:35:32

Sanity that makes sense.
cloudhands great link.

I was just saying what worked for me and ds. I didn't want to dismiss his fears iyswim?

seeker Mon 01-Apr-13 10:41:14

Could he swap beds with his brother? Or just let him come in with you until he gets over it?

SanityClause Mon 01-Apr-13 10:51:07

No, you are quite right not to dismiss his fears TheOne. They are real. But the things he is afraid of are not.

But, it's worked, so that's fine!

mummymafia Mon 01-Apr-13 16:23:57

Thanks everyone. I always stay with him & reassure him, he usually climbs into bed with me then when he's settled I take him back to bed & sit on the floor rubbing his foot, next to his bed until he's asleep. I was thinking that staying with him when he first goes to bed until he falls asleep is the wrong thing to do as we are there when he falls asleep so if he wakes we are not there & he frets. Have been trying to leave the room before he initially falls asleep but this is hard as he's so knackered by the end of the day, once he's in bed he can't stay awake long & refuses to even consider a nap anymore. Have tried early to bed but he hates going to bed before his brother & just won't stay in bed. Will try getting into bed with him if it happens tonight but think me moving out of his bed once he's asleep will wake him up again. He has to fall asleep touching me or dh after he's woken so there is no way the chosen one of us can sleep if he comes in with us. There are only so many 2ams you can see before you start losing your sense of humour! I have told him that his fear is real but what he is frightened of isn't real in 4yo speak. I asked him if he wanted stickers to look after him & he said no. But might try them anyway.I can't think what he is stressed or worried about - which doesn't mean that he isn't, just can't imagine what it is. The only thing it could be is that when he is very naughty or has a major hissy fit, which isn't often, he is removed from the situation to where he can't see us until he is prepared to apologise. This is for everyone to calm down. Might try to think around that. But I am a very loving, demonstrative, emotional, listening, patient parent (at least I think I am & am told I am!) & give space & understanding to my kids' 'odd' emotional needs when they arise. We all just need some sleep!!! confused

cloudhands Tue 02-Apr-13 05:57:09

what a lovely mum he's got! And so good that you're there to listen to him in the night too.
One thing that might get the situation changing, is to go to him in his own bed, or put him back in his own bed, then stay with him, and sit with him, but suggest leaving, and see if it brings up some feelings. He might start crying, and staying close while he expresses his feelings will help him release all those fears that are making him wake in the night.
further ideas in the article I linked to above!

notcitrus Tue 02-Apr-13 09:08:20

My 4yo had a phase of this, and I had a newborn. It wasn't exactly the same fear all the time but generally there was something scary in his room or that might get in. Sometimes just telling him that I didn't allow big bad wolves or whatever in the house worked, or telling off the offending item "you are a very naughty wall! Now go to sleep and let ds sleep too!"
The most successful though was to send in my own cuddly elephant, who doesn't have any truck with monsters and will look after him all night - but she is old and tired so if ds keeps her awake, she'll have to come back to my room to sleep.

Bingo - fears almost all gone, and silly buggers resolved by taking elephant, causing immediate getting into bed nicely so he can have her back.

Some of that may be helpful? He sleeps wonderfully now age 4.8. Including diving back into bed 3 times this morning as didnt want to get up...

notcitrus Tue 02-Apr-13 09:11:25

Just wondering - what is older brother's take on it? Could big brother be telling him there is a nasty there to wind him up? Or have joked about it once? Ds2 might take ds1's opinion more seriously, if ds1 can.assure him there's nothing there.

LittleAbruzzenBear Tue 02-Apr-13 09:13:58

DS1 (4) went through this recently, now he has Buzz Lightyear in the bed to 'protect' him and he also has a little torch that he can put on. This has helped enormously.

steppemum Tue 02-Apr-13 09:41:38

I wonder if it is the bunks?

If you have ever slept on a bottom bunk you will know that the beds do tend to move a bit and make some squeaky noises etc.

When it is your own bed moving or making noises, then it is in synch with your own movements so you don't notice it. When it is caused by the person in the top bunk, it is a bit odd. So I wonder if he is reacting to that?

In which case, you can ditch the bunks (if space) or persist with your reassurance and eventually it will work.
You sound very patient and reassuring

RunningOutOfIdeas Tue 02-Apr-13 12:48:47

DD1 went through a phase of bad dreams and fears about being on her own that started when she was 4. This was mostly resolved by letting her choose some photos of DH and I to have on the wall by her bed. She chose some of our wedding photos and also a photo that she is in. If anything worries her at night, she has a lamp she can turn on and looking at the photos reminds her that we are always there for her.

Beatrixpotty Tue 02-Apr-13 16:13:13

Poor little boy..and poor you.Could you try something like superhero pyjamas so he has magic powers himself?

mummymafia Tue 02-Apr-13 20:23:37

Thanks again every1.last night before bed dh Hoover's down the side of the bed & along the wall much to ds2' s delight. I know it gives his imagination credence but I'm willing to give anything a shot. This apparently got rid of the troublemaker! Harrah I hear you all cry. Ds 1 even offered to share his top bunk with ds 2 which went down well & offer was taken up. Ds 2 did wake up but only once & only for half an hour (only!!). Bedtime tonight & ds1 wouldn't let ds2 sleep in top bunk & troublemaker' s family live in the wall & I'm not strong enough to Hoover them out, only daddy can do that. And he's out for the evening! So ds2 is now asleep in my bed! Groan....did offer him dh' s Ted who is big & strong & takes no nonsense (thanks notcitrus) which might have some impact. Bunkbed is very squeaky when ds1 moves about but haven't got room to split them. Might get some photos out, not a bad idea running. Off to bed soon as have been back at work today so barely keeping eyes open....

elQuintoConyo Tue 02-Apr-13 20:28:52

My friend's 5 year old DS said he couldn't sleep because there was a witch in his room. So, she got out some paper and crayons and he drew the witch; she then drewed it up really tightly do she couldn't escape and they threw her in the kitchen bin and closed the lid tightly.
She stayed.there and never scared him again grin

elQuintoConyo Tue 02-Apr-13 20:30:14

Drewed? = screwed

mazzi2fly Tue 02-Apr-13 20:35:03

My DD had bunk beds and slept in the bottom for a while. She also didn't like the side nearest the wall, so always slept with her dog from IKEA which is HUUUGE and he filled the dark hole.

Welovegrapes Tue 02-Apr-13 20:37:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mummymafia Tue 02-Apr-13 21:20:38

Bunk beds seem like the devil's own work.

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