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7 year old who won't sleep

(19 Posts)
wouldratherbeonthebeach Sun 15-Jul-12 00:16:53

Ds3 is 7 and is really difficult to get to sleep. He's a bright kid but refuses to go to bed before 9 and usually isn't asleep til after 11. Hes up at 6.30. His behaviour is becoming really difficult. Any ideas?

dotty2 Tue 17-Jul-12 08:41:20

I was just looking on the Sleep threads to see if there were any threads about older children, with words of wisdom for my 7 year old DD. So no advice, but someone in the same boat.

She's got a very active mind, and thinks a lot about things. She often can't sleep because she says she's sad, but doesn't know why. Unfortunately, I can remember not sleeping at her age and I think it was a vicious circle of worrying about not being able to get to sleep, then the worry keeping me awake, then worrying more...

It's horrible, though - she is so overtired, and I have lost my evenings as times to work/do admin/clean/iron/occasionally relax. But then I think my getting cross about it is making it worse too.

Sometimes I try getting her into bed early, sometimes letting her stay up later - nothing seems to work. It gets better for a few days and then starts again. Very tired and fed up now.

Sorry - absolutely no help at all there.

Himalaya Tue 17-Jul-12 08:52:57

....have you considered melatonin?

Butterflyface Tue 17-Jul-12 22:29:33

what's melatonin? <goes off to google> We have a 3.4 yr old DS who just won't sleep. Even when he's tired, and dropping off, he's taken to poking himself in the eyes to stay awake. If he drops off downstairs, he wakes up upon being put to bed and gets another wind. We think he might have SEN, as his language is not developing well, but until the tests are done, we're just trying to tackle one night at a time. Difficult to know what to do when we have 3 other dc's, all of whom sleep well.

Himalaya Wed 18-Jul-12 00:02:03

We give melatonin to DS who is 8 and has SEN. If you get to the paed you can ask about it. I just by it OTC, but he is a bit older.

wouldratherbeonthebeach Fri 20-Jul-12 06:03:29

Tried melatonin but it didn't help, last night it was midnight before he went to sleep hmm
Any other suggestions?

JoandMax Fri 20-Jul-12 06:17:00

I get a sedtive from our Paed called Alimenazine - we use it 2/3 times a week when we're getting desperate! DS2 is a lot younger, 2.4 yo, but it works brilliantly, it just relaxes him so much he goes off to sleep easily and calmly and we'll get a good 6 hour stretch.

It's not something a lot of people agree with but when you and they are stressed and knackered and it begins to affect other DCs it's something to consider........

stargirl1701 Mon 23-Jul-12 23:55:34

Have you tried swimming? It really seems to tire children. I am a teacher and I noticed a huge difference in my class during the swimming block. Is there a swim club he could join?

I hope you find something to help.

BadRoly Tue 24-Jul-12 00:02:10

We went to our GP with ds1 when he was struggling to get to sleep. We had tried all the usual suggestions of 'good' bedtime routine but he just couldn't fall asleep. He would have been 7 1/2 or maybe slightly over.

Our GP was very sympathetic and prescribed a low dose of a sedative (that we have since learnt can be bought over the counter) for 1 week. This combined with the bedtime routine broke the habit and he has been good ever since.

If he starts to slip back, we know that 'his medicine' is there as a back up. But I don't think we have used it once in the 18mths since the original prescription. smile

wouldratherbeonthebeach Tue 24-Jul-12 22:54:03

Thanks. Don't think the swimming will help, After school he's been at a friends playing football all afternoon and it's nearly 11 and he's still awake hmm
Think the GP might be the only option....

summersunsomethingsbegun Mon 06-Aug-12 10:58:55

I don't have that seven year old but I WAS that seven year old! This was the routine my mother put in place when I was eight that had me going to sleep at better times, sleeping longer etc within about 2 weeks. This is a routine I still follow, to some extent in adult life.

1. ROUTINE: every late afternoon do something which involves exercise. Brisk walk, run around the park. Swimming. If the weather's bad they can help with cleaning and tidying eg do the vacuuming!. (My mother had a very clean house). This breaks the "overthinking" pattern kids who worry and think a lot can get into, and both refreshes and exhausts them at the same time.

No television/playing with toys/scrapping with siblings in the hour before official bedtime.

Meditation. This is quite a fun one you can do if you put more than one kid to bed at similar times. You can get a relaxation tape on amazon or do it without. For ten minutes, everyone sits cross legged on the floor and tries to empty their minds. Give them each a word and tell them to repeat the word in their heads over and over.

After that is a good time to encourage a worrying child to talk over anything that it is troubling them.

Then bed. Big light off, side light on and BOOK. BOOK is absolutely crucial. Every night, twenty minutes reading by themselves, minimum.

Make it clear to them that it doesn't matter if they aren't actually asleep so long as they are resting. This is something I still tell myself now to wind down if I am anxious about not getting to sleep.

At lights out time, they turn their light off and try to go to sleep. They should give it fifteen minutes, with their eyes shut. If they are still awake after fifteen minutes they can turn their light back on, but only to read and then have to try to get back to sleep fifteen minutes later. And repeat...

If thoughts or worries are troubling them get them to develop a mantra. "This is a thought for another day. I will shut my eyes and it will go away". Or something like that. Every time they feel troubled by a thought when trying to sleep they repeat it.

EmmaG1986 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:56:06

I have the same problem with other parents on this thread, was just about to start my own thread until I came across this.
Ds is 6 years old, typical worrier and sometimes he takes a lot on his shoulders for his age, he's a deep-thinker and often worries about things that are irrelevant. He too doesn't sleep until 10 sometimes 11 most nights, I have encouraged him to nap through the day during the summer holidays but he refuses to nap, instead he will cry over little things constantly through-out the day but this will last for half an hour sometimes longer and you can see he's tired, Infact very overtired.
I honestly don't know what the best route is to follow at the moment, it's getting me down and it's effecting our lives to some extent.
Anyone with any advice would be most appreciated.

Thanks Emma :-)

wouldratherbeonthebeach Tue 07-Aug-12 05:46:57

Thanks summer will try meditation. The problem that concerns me is that even on days when he plays football all afternoon he still can't wind down. On Sunday he played with his friend in their garden from 10-3 can't home clearly exhausted and finally fell asleep at 10,30. It's as though he won't let himself sleep til then sad.

Thegla Wed 08-Aug-12 13:31:50

I used to have the same problem until I got him an exciting bed.
We got him a pirate bed and added extras (eye patch, fake sword) and he would play with it for half an hour in bed and fall asleep!
He's now asleep before 9.
Try giving them exciting stimuli before bed so they get tired from over-playing

wouldratherbeonthebeach Sat 11-Aug-12 22:41:20

Thanks, we tried that, got a bunk bed he was desperate for but complains every few weeks that he hates it sad.
He's loved the Olympics and been asleep by 10 this week so hopefully getting a bit betterhmm

DeathMetalMum Wed 22-Aug-12 21:12:21

You said its as if he wont fall asleep until 10-10.30 does he have a clock in his room or a way to tell the time when he is trying to get to sleep? If so I would remove anything that tells him the time. It might be that he is trying to stay up until a certain time. Or that checking the time I causing him to worry and therefore not be able to relax and go to sleep.

I suffered with the second quite a lot and still do if I have something important that causes me to be awake at a different time in the morning. Or if I wake in the night sometimes checking the clock can make me worry Im going to be tired the next day.

CBS69 Mon 03-Aug-15 02:33:17

So my 9 year old over the last two years has developed this need for either her mother or me to sit with her to go to sleep (which in its self is an issue), but if she wakes at midnight or other she cannot get back on o sleep on her own and ultimately either wakes us or crawls into our bed!
She is a smart kid and her school work does not suffer and her behavior is pretty good, but our now 4 year old believes that this is common practice and is trying the same - any ideas on how we break the cycle ?

TheBuffyBot Wed 05-Aug-15 22:55:13

CBS69 We are going through the same problem with 8 yr old DD ever since she came back from a 2 night stay at residential with school . We've been sitting with her until she drops off but now it's the school holidays decided we're going to crack it!
We decided to just do it and started tonight explained what was happening and put her to bed, let her read with night light and I came downstairs - she said she couldnt do it she needed one of us, we've been back and to for the past 2.5 hours as she's begged, screamed, cried but we didn't give in just kept taking her back to her room.
its been awful tbh like we've regressed to when she's a baby but......she's now asleep. It's so hard isn't it? we will see tomorrow night brings cant be any worse eh? good luck!

MumOfTwoooo Fri 03-Nov-17 15:31:37

Have you considered doing a course on this? I've just done a course as my DC also had issues, it could be the pressure of school, friendships... it may be a deeper issue especially with older children that is causing them not to sleep or if they have any issues around their sleeping pattern - not them being difficult.

The course I did was one day and was massively helpful. The company I went to was Little Ones run by a sleep specialist with so much experience, she gave me so much advice even after the course which helped us get through a difficult time. I know Baby Em also has great courses.

here are the links if you want to check them out:

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