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DD age 9 vv upset at bedtime - can't sleep for worrying

(36 Posts)
CocktailQueen Mon 15-Apr-13 18:25:30

Help please! DD has always gone through periods of worrying about bedtime and not being able to fall asleep. Thought we'd cracked it but the last two nights she's been terrible.

She found a field vole on Saturday and brought it home to nurse. But it died on Sat eve and she has been inconsolable ever since. She had to sleep in our bed on Sat night and last night wanted to sleep in the spare room (it's nearer the top of the stairs and therefore nearer us) but she woke at 11 and came into our bed for the night again. She woke at 6.30 and immediately started worrying about going to bed tonight!!

We bought her a worries book ages ago, and one suggestion in it is to have a 15-min worry time where she can talk to us, and for her to imagine locking her worries away in a box till then. But she's been tearful today as well.

Has anyone any helpful suggestions for dealing with her/helping her?? I don't want to be agreeing with her worries but need this to be sorted out as she needs her sleep! And so do we... and I'd also like her to be able to manage her worries.

She's in Yea 4 and transferring to middle school in Sept so is a little apprehensive about that.


Have you tried kinesiology or Reiki?

I take my dd every couple of months and she feels far better for it. She would be very anxious, worry a lot about things beyond her (or my) control.

I take her seriously, as you do too, but also speak very bluntly to her too, let her know the (realistic) outcomes, talk her through scenarios and possible outcomes- pros and cons of some sleep V no sleep.

When dd sees our 'therapist' she sprays her and gives her 'magic water' to help her fears. (water with Bach remedies in it for her to sip)

GooseyLoosey Thu 25-Apr-13 18:25:26

Ds (5) has bouts of this and gets obsessed with the thought that burglars might kill us in our beds.

Several things help. He listens to audio books in bed. They are on very quietly so he can only just hear them and after a while he loses the thread and drifts off to sleep.

I give him things to distract his thoughts. So he has to think of 5 names starting with every letter of the alphabet or something to make a burglar trap with starting with each letter of the alphabet. (This helps with my anxiety too).

Finally, if he is really, really bad, I lie on his bed and hug him until he falls asleep. Usually takes about 30 mins.

He does know that we take it seriously and if he is really scared, we are there for him.

Good luck - it's hard watching your child be scared!

ohmeohmyforgotlogin Thu 25-Apr-13 18:15:48

Sorry auto correct messed that up....

ohmeohmyforgotlogin Thu 25-Apr-13 18:14:57

Smudging Thu 25-Apr-13 17:59:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

superfluouscurves Thu 25-Apr-13 17:53:09

Another recommendation for Bedtime Meditations CD!

Oopla Mon 22-Apr-13 14:34:21

Please don't flame me for the woo suggestion I am about to make smile

Would you consider smudging your home perhaps? Something you can do together as part of a 'spring clean' tell DD that you are clearing the house of all her & your old worries that perhaps they got a bit stuck in places and that's by they keep coming back at night.

I don't think you have to be a lentil weaver to do this smile clearing old energies from your home space done with a firm verbal intent can be hugely reassuring.

CocktailQueen Wed 17-Apr-13 19:27:51

Thanks all. We are discussing her fears and tonight she said she's not frightened of dying when she's asleep, she's just scared to go to sleep. She was able to go to sleep with no problems in our holiday home over Easter=- she says because lots more people were there. She thought she'd be better now she's back at school but she's not. She dreads the summer hols (she says) because those nights are the worst, but she likes going to sleep when we're on holiday. How odd is that? That she prefers a strange/unfamiliar home to her own home??

She has also said the last couple of days that her back has been really sore - shooting pains up her spine, like pins and needles, lasting for half an hour each time. What could this be?

Am happy to try sprays and so on. Thanks for the links smile

elfycat Wed 17-Apr-13 15:10:37

Would you condiser complementary therapies?

One I have is an Indigo remedy Sleep Easy (in lavendar spray) for DDs rooms link I also use 'Chill' from the spray range and 'confidence' drops on the DDs (and myself - easpecially chill)

Or there is a Bach Flower remedy - rescue remedy with extra White Chestnut. White Chestnut helps to change revolving thoughts, like those people have at night. Boots and Holland and Barrett will do night remedy.

shewhowines Wed 17-Apr-13 15:00:58

Although if it is relatively new, you should discuss the fears. We are now not engaging because the discussing it all the time was getting us nowhere.

shewhowines Wed 17-Apr-13 14:58:28

I have a DS exactly the same - his worry is burglars and it only affects him at night. He's 10 and has always had this fear but the periods of coming in to our room didn't last long and he could be bribed out of it.

Since Christmas it's got worse. No amount of bribery will work and he now needs sitting with, to fall asleep and then he will come in to our room during the night, where he then stays. I was tying myself in knots trying to help him with loads of different strategies. We are now seeing a psychologist and whilst he hasn't "been cured," I have been advised to not "engage". That has taken the pressure of me, which is a relief. When he starts talking about being worried i have to say "Yes I know you are worried and we also know there is no real reason for you to be worried".

I too, am hoping that he won't still be doing it when he is 15.

OldBeanbagz Wed 17-Apr-13 07:21:13

My 11 year old DD is very anxious at the moment and we've just returned to her using her bedtime meditations cd as she's been having trouble getting to sleep.

We've just returned from a long haul holiday so between her being in the wrong time zone and all her Y6 worries, it was 1am before she got to sleep on Monday. Yesterday i convinced her to put the cd on around 10pm and she was asleep by the time i went to bed half an hour later.

We started using it initially in Y5 and it made a huge difference within a few days. It calms her down when she's inconsolable with tiredness and seems to switch her off at the end of a day.

Definately worth a go with your DD though i would probably talk through her death worries (if that's what they are) away from the bedtime routine.

CocktailQueen Wed 17-Apr-13 07:07:58

Gah, she was worse than ever last night. She was in the spare room. I lay with her for an hour and she still wasn't asleep, and got really stroppy when I tried to leave. We're not having any evenings...

VerySmallSqueak Tue 16-Apr-13 15:15:15

I would go back to the book you were using and go through the techniques in there again.Just keep on at it consistently until she moves past this point.

TeenAndTween Tue 16-Apr-13 15:03:32

My Teen used to have real trouble unwinding, relaxing and getting to sleep. These things might be obvious but just in case:
- make sure she is physically tired - easier now the evenings are lighter
- make sure the room is adark enough
- make sure she has wind down time, with light reading not electronics
- keep bedtime the same even at weekends
- discuss the worries well before bedtime
- have you read 'The Big Bag of worries' book (or something similar)
- try the 'I wonder' technique - e.g. 'I wonder if you are really worrying about XXX'

OriginalRoute Mon 15-Apr-13 21:52:11

I had years and years of this as a child. It was awful and I had no one to talk to and even if I could have done I was too scared to talk as that made the fear 'real' It's great your DC has you as a listening ear and it will help so much, but be aware your DC may be offering you a smokescreen. She may have a bigger fear she is unable to speak, but offering you a 'manageable' fear so she can get comfort from you without disclosing her true worry. Mine stemmed from the death of a parent, but strangely weren't related to death. Reassurance is so important but in later life I realised my fears were a symptom of a childhood depressive illness so it may be worth consulting your GP or HV

FancyPuffin Mon 15-Apr-13 21:30:34

*prayer blush

FancyPuffin Mon 15-Apr-13 21:29:35

The problem is that the words death and sleep do get mixed together. Thinking of the expression 'putting pet to 'sleep'' that so and so went to 'sleep and didn't wake up'. It's all meant kindly but to a child is scary. I remember that 'Now I lay me down to sleep' pray it fricking terrified me blush

I do think talking about it would help. For me, I didn't want to talk about it because I was scared that that would make it come true IYSWIM (children don't always have rational thoughts wink )

chicaguapa Mon 15-Apr-13 20:49:54

DD (11) is exactly the same and is currently worried about burglars and nuclear war (I blame Dr Who and Maggie dying). I let her sleep in our bed while I read next to her. It gets her over the anxiety of not being able to sleep and then DH moves her later. She'll snap out of it for a bit and then she'll start worrying about something else. She's always been a worrier and never been a good sleeper, so I fear we're doomed.

Dancergirl Mon 15-Apr-13 20:44:14

I would agree that you can treat the worries with kindness but I think you have to tread carefully. You don't want to end up in a situation where over-concern fuels her worries and no-one gets a good night's sleep!

OP, have you tried talking to her about her worries in the daytime? I don't know if you have other children but could you make some regular time in the week to spend some time just with her? She needs to know that you're there for her and you'll help and listen, but also that bedtime is for sleeping and not playing musical beds!

Ask her (not at bedtime) what would make her feel more comfortable if she wakes in the night. Could you leave a light on? Would she be allowed to read for a few minutes until she's sleepy again?

What are her worries about the school change? Is it a specific thing or just general uncertainty surrounding a new school? Will she be with her friends? Can you visit the school beforehand?

Ledkr Mon 15-Apr-13 20:42:55

If you search you may find my threads about my dd who was exactly the same as yours. It drive me potty and I tried everything but in reality the only thing that worked was sympathy and time.
Lots of reassurance and cuddles.
I can hardly believe we are over it but she seems much better now so I'm guessing she grew out of it.
Good luck

Growlithe Mon 15-Apr-13 20:36:45

DD(9) is a bit of a worrier. Last year we went through a bad time when she couldn't get to sleep. All she was worried about was not getting to sleep!

We suggested reading for a bit in bed, but she said it set her mind racing and made things worse.

Lavender spray helped a bit, but what really cracked it was getting her a new bed. She'd previously had one of those metal framed hi sleepers with a desk and futon underneath. We swapped it to a cosy, wooden framed traditional bed, and things have been much better since.

tigerzzzz Mon 15-Apr-13 20:27:06

My DD is 11 and has had a recurring worry about fire since she was about 4. Around age 8-9 she would struggle to get to sleep several nights a week and she would often sleep in my bed. Now it's rare that she has a problem with it, but funnily enough it did happen in the easter holidays a couple of times.

I think it's when she has late nights. She gets out of routine in the holidays and now she's getting older she has a bit more control over her bedtime which means she gets really late sometimes. It's always when she gets really tired that the anxiety seems to kick in.

I think fears like fire / burglars / death of family members can be harder to deal with than the sort of monsters / ghosts fears because you can't deny they could happen. DD ended up with two smoke alarms in her room at one time and would test them before bed.

She still sleeps in my bed occasionally, but as I'm single and have a king size bed it doesn't bother me and as others have said, she'll grow out of it when she's 20!

CocktailQueen Mon 15-Apr-13 20:03:01

Ajandjmum - sorry to hear about your burglary - must have been terrifying sad

CocktailQueen Mon 15-Apr-13 20:02:21

Hmm, FancyPuffin, you may have a good point - dh's brother died fairly suddenly a few weeks ago and although he barely knew dd, and she says it may not have affected her, it could be. Doh. Of course.

And yes, Swich, I am trying to be really kind about the worrying and not belittle her thoughts, while not enabling them, iyswim?

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