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Noisy toddler next door

(308 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

Sukie272 Mon 16-Feb-15 19:06:39

I live in a small flat and my next-door neighbours have a toddler who is about 2. This child seems to stay up all night as well as most of the day- he screams, cries, yells, bangs toys on the walls and runs around their flat constantly, until around 3am.
The walls are very thin, so he wakes me up repeatedly. After 6 months of being woken 4-5 times a night (the sound of him running on hardwood floors sounds like someone is hamnering nails into the floor) I complained to landlord. He agreed this level of noise at night is unacceptable and spoke to the family. For a few weeks the noise calmed down and they seemed to make an effort to keep him away from the partition wall at night, but now the noise is unbearable again.
I've tried politely talking to the parents (who are Eastern European and don't speak much English), I've also put leaflets under their door about SureStart and other sources of help. At times I bang on the wall in desperation. I just want some peace and quiet!
Is it normal for a 2-year-old to cry for several hours every day, and to run around screaming for hours at a time, several times a night? I'm worried he may be being abused/neglected... should I contact Social Services? The parents rarely take him out of the flat, so maybe he is just bored?
I'm in first trimester of pregnancy and currently off work sick, so I can't escape the noise even in the daytime. I feel so angry that these people let their child cause such a disturbance! Earplugs make little difference, and I can hear him in every room in my flat, even though my bedroom is not next to the partition wall.
What can I do about this? Does anyone have a similar experience?

sillymillyb Mon 16-Feb-15 19:10:25

How long has it been going on for? If you had been my neighbour this week you would have had similar off my ds to be honest, he wakes regularly through the night still (sob) and has been knackered during the day and therefore shouty.

If you genuinely suspect neglect then yes, contact social services, however I think given your about to have a newborn I'd just be glad my neighbours weren't going to be able to complain about the noise they make! Children are noisy confused

Whatabout Mon 16-Feb-15 19:14:14

Perhaps he has additional needs? Can't be much fun for you or his parents. If you are worried that they aren't coping then contact social services, if they don't understand the system they might not know how to access help.

Gen35 Mon 16-Feb-15 19:17:52

Hard to say really, since you've already tried the ll and the direct approach, you could contact SS but otoh, the problem is noise you don't hear sounds as if he's being hit so I'm not sure it's appropriate, hard as it is for you, not being able to get a dc to sleep isn't in itself worthy of a report. Any options for moving? I suspect this is your best option.

KonkeyDong Mon 16-Feb-15 19:23:53

You sound like a pleasant neighbour hmm

It can't be much fun for the parents. I hope that your child never cries near the partition wall or you may find some helpful sure start leaflets through the letterbox in return.

My toddler cries at all times of day and night, without provocation. Several times a night.

If you're worried about abuse ring social services.

Otherwise move, to somewhere children never cry.

happygojo Mon 16-Feb-15 19:38:47

I am not a mum yet but sounds like the terrible 2s to be honest. Your baby will go through the same stages and will scream and scream (just a fact..... All babies do it, even the ones that aren't screamers). The mum is probably too knackered to brush her hair never mind go outside. You are also knackered and hormonal and probably not seeing the 'bigger picture' right now. I hope things improve for you and the little one and his parents

FlyingGoose Mon 16-Feb-15 19:46:22

Honestly, if i had enough energy i would laugh. I have two and a half year old twins. They fight and have tantrums very frequently. Luckily i have great neighbours who are very understanding. I have had such a bad day with them that i feel like crying and if someone put a sure start leaflet under my door i would fight the urge to scream at them. You are pregnant and they have a two year old. Get used to the noise.

Choccywoccydodah Mon 16-Feb-15 19:50:38

You have all this to come.........
Then they will be banging on your walls. Good luck with that!

DrinkFeckArseGirls Mon 16-Feb-15 19:55:05

But no, choccy, OP's baby will never be like that cause she will parent it properly wink

NickyEds Mon 16-Feb-15 19:58:49

Today my wonderful toddler, who is expertly (hmm) taken care of by me screamed for 30 minutes solid. It was something to do with the Mothercare catalogue. He wanted it or didn't or it wasn't open at the right page or......i don't bloody know.... he's a toddler and they cry. If you genuinely believe this child is being neglected or abused then call ss. Otherwise wind your neck in. I know it must be hard to cope with the noise but putting Sure Start leaflets under their door?? For a mum who is really struggling that would have been awful.

misskitty1991 Mon 16-Feb-15 20:04:37

Sometimes, toddlers scream. My daughter is 15 months and loves nothing more than a good scream. Unless I tape her mouth, what am I to do?

I get your pregnant and sick but just think, this could be you in two years time. With an inconsolable child who wants to scream.

I think ringing SS is a bit extreme as is the insinuation that this child is neglected. Apart from screaming, what else are you basing that on?

Zsazsabinks Mon 16-Feb-15 20:06:20

Toddlers are hard work, really hard work. The parents have probably got a lot on their plate with this as it is. One day you might find yourself in the same situation.

The landlord should have put carpet down too, with a good underlay so it's him you should be getting on at. Or like Konkey says, you need to move somewhere where children are quiet.

Lunastarfish Mon 16-Feb-15 20:07:43

I know where you are coming from OP, my upstairs neighbours have a toddler who runs around and jumps off furniture (making the entire flat shake)and it is annoying, but I can forgive children making noises, it's normal plus, like you, we'll soon have screaming new borns which no doubt will then annoy the neighbours and we,'ll then become the annoying ones......

Ridingthestorm Mon 16-Feb-15 20:08:19

Actually, not all 2 year olds go through the terrible twos. Mine didn't but one of my friends does have a nearly 2 year old who has an 'amazing' gift at screaming when she wants something. i am surprised her throat isn't raw!!!

It could be a number of things:
1. Walls are just thin and every bit of noise can be heard.
2. Child could have SEN - autism maybe?
3. Child, like you said, isn't being given the chance to run off his/her energy.
4. Lack of parenting/discipline - terrible twos or not, parents should be discouraging screaming and disruptive noise, especially during 'anti-social hours'. This isn't meaning that it doesn't happen, but from the sounds of it, the parents have in the past managed to stop the noise so probably capable of doing it, but maybe lack effort?
5. Neglect - in which case if you have evidence or good reason to suspect it, you are obliged to inform social services.

Personally, I would maybe make contact with the family on a social level first. Does the mum get out and about? Is she isolated herself being of eastern european origin? You being pregnant could go to her for 'advice' and strike up a mum to mum friendship - if it appeals to you! If not, try the landlord again, contact your council or surestart yourself and explain you think there is a family who may need support (too many people ignore others and that is how abuse does happen - neighbours saying "I had no idea" because people are scared to take notice. You don't have to be nosey but a little observant will mean a lot).

Social services should only be contacted if you have evidence that abuse is happening i.e. that the child is being left alone, especially as the nise continues into the night.

IMO, it sounds like the child may have no set routine at home hence the 'up all hours'. Just be cautious with your next steps, but don't hold back - iyswim!

And lastly, I think you are PLEASANT for taking notice and having concern for a toddler!!! Many people would turn a blind eye and make assumptions that it is 'terrible twos' or that it is 'nothing to do with them'. it has everything to do with everyone whose lives are being dipsrupted by others - no matter what their age is.

ThisFenceIsComfy Mon 16-Feb-15 20:09:33

Well, take comfort in the fact that soon it will be your baby screaming at all hours of the day and night.

meglet Mon 16-Feb-15 20:10:39

this will come back to bite you on the bum when your baby cries at night and wakes them up. and you will find that all the parenting techniques in the world still might not work, and you'll be too frazzled to remember them anyway.

I can hear my neighbours, it's what happens in dense housing.

hodgepodgepanda Mon 16-Feb-15 20:13:39

Well I think your going to be in for a surprise when your baby is born & also the toddler stage .
My Ds spent 4 maybe 5 years screaming none stop and never sleeping & it wasn't because he was neglected etc

Toddlers make a lot of noise and they really don't give a dam what time of day it is tbh , just think how the parents must feel having to deal with the child , because trust me it's a hell of a lot easier standing on the outside looking in & judging

deadwitchproject Mon 16-Feb-15 20:17:17

Congratulations on your pregnancy. I'm afraid you will find out soon enough just how noisy children - particularly toddlers - are. Often the noise is relentless and there is precious little you can do about it. Even if you moved, you have no guarantee that a family with children won't move in next door.

If your neighbour's son has special needs then that may be a reason why he is noisy....or it may not....he may just be a noisy toddler!

Not helpful for you I know but there is no magic bullet here, however you may want to use industrial earplugs/headphones and possibly look at your sleeping arrangements.

Choccywoccydodah Mon 16-Feb-15 20:18:05

I have a 3.5 year old who was a perfect baby up until 17.5 months. Bed at 7pm, I had to wake him at 10am the next morning! 2 x 2 hour naps a day. Then he turned into a devil child, up in the night screaming, wouldn't go to sleep at bedtime, wouldn't nap in the day which made him knackered. This went on for a good year before he settled again, the Dr even prescribed pheneghan (didn't work).
I used to sit at the top of the stairs outside his room and cry. Some children just go through it even if they ARE in a lovely routine.
As I said before, you have this to come.....

And with regard the LL and the carpet, err not their problem I'm afraid. If one of my neighbours of tenants asked me to put in thicker carpet and expensive underlay because of a screaming child, they'd have notice! This is for the tenant to sort out, not the expense of the LL (which may not even work!) Comical comment!

pixiestix Mon 16-Feb-15 20:23:31

My two are so so noisy. They are happy little souls but at full volume all the time. They rampage about and sound like twenty children instead of two. His behaviour doesn't really sound that unusual, sorry OP.

Zsazsabinks Mon 16-Feb-15 20:27:31

Re: LL and carpet, I live in a Scottish city where lots of people live in tenement flats and it is written into contracts frequently that flats should be carpeted throughout, often as part of an HMO.

AmantesSuntAmentes Mon 16-Feb-15 20:30:34

And lastly, I think you are PLEASANT for taking notice and having concern for a toddler!!!

I think it's clear that she just wants it to STFU grin

Op, young children and particularly babies can be incredibly loud. How do you not know this?! A newborns cry can reach 115 decibels. You might want to hold on to your ear plugs and maybe post a couple of packets of those through your neighbours door, sometime before your edd smile

Sukie272 Mon 16-Feb-15 20:32:34

Thanks for replies...

I first moved here 2 years ago, when he was a newborn and used to cry throughout the night. Sometimes the crying would wake me, but I was always tolerant since all small babies cry at night. I assumed it was a natural phase that would improve with time.
The real problems started 6 months ago when he began running every night, shouting, screeching for hours, banging things on walls, having ear-splitting tantrums etc. For 6 months I put up with this because I assumed it was another 'phase' and that the parents would eventually get him into a proper sleep routine.

KonkeyDong, if it was just crying it would be tolerable. I understand you can't always stop a toddler crying. However, parents CAN prevent toddlers running on hardwood floors at night, and can also stop them hitting partition walls. They can also move toddler to a room further away from the partition wall when they are crying or screaming or shouting for long periods at night.
Most of the flats on our landing are now empty, as several families moved out last month (possibly due to the noise!)

Re social services, I feel I have a duty of care to raise the alarm if it is a case of abuse/neglect, but I'm not sure that it is, and the last thing I want to do is cause more stress to the parents. What are signs of abuse/neglect compared to 'normal' toddler behaviour?

I have wondered if he has special needs or an autistic spectrum disorder.
Or perhaps the parents are just inexperienced, or don't see the need for discipline or a sleep-routine?
I have also wondered whether keeping him active at night is a deliberate choice if they prefer to stay up late themselves.

I think you are right, moving out may be the only reliable solution! I just have to find a way to get through the next few months...

AmantesSuntAmentes Mon 16-Feb-15 20:35:43

However, parents CAN prevent toddlers running on hardwood floors at night, and can also stop them hitting partition walls.

I'm not sure toddler straight jackets are the done thing, tbh.

meglet Mon 16-Feb-15 20:38:39

how do you stop a toddler running at night? duct tape them to the bed, permanently have one parent on watch next to the bed?

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