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7 yr old won't/can't get to slerp when alone.

(31 Posts)
KaFayOLay Sun 20-Apr-14 22:43:44

As title.

Child has to be sat with until asleep. When asleep, a stealth like removal of oneself from her bedroom is then necessary. If she wakes, you have to stay with her again.

If left to sleep on her own, she doesn't. She doesn't do anything, she just lies in bed but doesn't drop off.

I go to bed at 10pm. We go to bed about 7:30, I read to her for about 15 mins, we have a cuddle and then we lie there...and lie there....and lie there. More often than not, I go from her bed straight to my own.

We have tried leaving her, she's still lying awake at 11pm. I don't sleep as I need to check her. Tonight I have left her and she's still awake. So mad, told her I wasn't waiting to turn her light off and that I'm fed up of it. She's currently sobbing in dh's bedroom now.

What can I do?
I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Yes, she needs to learn to sleep on her own but to do so means she'll be in her knees tired at school, weepy and grumpy.
But, I can't keep on like this, it's been going on years.

My dh used to put to bed whilst I was out and was quite happy to sit with her. I have been doing bed duty 8 months now. In his defense, she has got worse over time, not better.

Anybody any bright ideas, preferably not just leave her to it ones though.

I'm seriously thinking of taking her to the doctor, surely it's not normal!

KaFayOLay Sun 20-Apr-14 22:45:22

Apologies for spelling....must try harder!

craziedaisy Thu 24-Apr-14 20:50:16

Gosh I came on here tonight as rather desperate for same advice for my ds who is 7 too! i sit with him each night because he just wouldn't get to sleep at a sensible hour otherwise and i worry it will effect schooling etc. I have a 4 year old dd too and so I take it turns to do the same with her too. So bedtime tonight had taken nearly 2 hours tonight and I now have to start doing all my chores. Would love to know some good advice as I am quite desperate!

shakinbakin Fri 25-Apr-14 06:15:38

I have a 5 year old who is like this. Watching with interest. Hope someone had some advice.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 25-Apr-14 06:27:49

I can't see why they would want to go to sleep on their own if they can have all your attention and make sure you don't do anything without them!
I would wear them out, take them on a long walk of several miles- good for you all. Then have a definite routine and don't do things that stimulate them- no screen time. Have a bath, read them a story and leave them to read in bed to themselves for a while.
Just let them go to sleep late of that's what it takes. They can't keep it up night after night, no one can.
At 7 yrs they are old enough to understand. Explain that you have a life, you want an evening and you are not sitting waiting for them to sleep- it is boring! Be very nice about it but tell them that if you are having a horrible time being bored rigid you are not willing to give up the day time doing nice things with them.

makeminea6x Fri 25-Apr-14 06:41:15

If you were worriee about school could you not plan to do what delph said in half-term?

hotcrosshunny Fri 25-Apr-14 07:35:42

Why not have a chat with them as part of the routine to ask about their day. Let them do the talking and you listen. Don't offer an opinion just listen. Basically help them to unwind.

Have a story cd playing and leave that on. Have lights out but leave the door open with hallway light on so it isn't too bright. Then tell her you're going to the toilet and coming back. Make sure you do exactly that. Make sure she stays in bed while you go. Do that every night for a week. Then extend it to, you're going to start dinner (or something dull) but you'll be back in ten mins. Then make sure you are. Basically you're getting her used to being left and she trusts you will go back.

I would also talk to her about bedtime at a different time of day and ask her why she wants you to stay. Don't mention that you don't like staying etc be non judgemental and just listen. Then maybe you can work out what she is bothered about.

Artandco Fri 25-Apr-14 07:41:44

I would first discuss it with them at that age. Does she want a night light? Teddy bear etc

Then I would not put her to bed early yet. You need to break the habit. So I would for a few days give her lots of excercise in day then don't even attempt bed until 10-11pm with her. The more tired she is the less likely she will be able to lay awake for hours

Continue this for a few days until she hopefully settles alone. Once she does you can bring bedtime forward by 30 mins Each day until its at at time that suits ( approx 8/8.30pm maybe)

KaFayOLay Sat 26-Apr-14 12:43:38

These are all good ideas that have been done.

She is allowed ds/tv time between school and tea. Then, it's either walking the dogs, or she comes and does my horse with me. Failing that, weather permitting, out the garden.

Don't think she can't sustain the late nights continually, she has as long as we have dared try, which is 10 days.
She just ends up so miserable and grumpy. She will admit to being tired, will look tired but still cannot sleep.

It's more of a can't sleep rather than won't sleep.
As I said, she will lie there ad infinitum, quietly, causing no bother. The only reason I know she's still awake is because I pop in to turn her main light off.

Whatever I do, will have to wait until the summer holiday's because there isn't a quick fix.

I know piriton is used to induce sleep but I'm not keen to go down that route.

Charlotteamanda1 Sat 26-Apr-14 17:59:54

To go to sleep we need to produce a hormone called melatonin. The dark is a trigger to tell our brains to produce it. We can train our brains to have other triggers to produce it. That's why we have a routine. She may have difficulty having a trigger to produce it. The bed time routine is great that you do. The routine should take no more than 15 mins. What relaxes one person could be a stimulant for another. Eg a bath used to wake mine.
You staying in the room could be a learnt trigger to help her sleep.
When you start a new routine it must be done consistently. She has to learn to self sooth. Hard to learn.
Do not leave her crying for hours but go back stroke her head and leave. No telly for an hour before bed. Preferably light very dim. Put her to bed later than normal so she is very tired. You can then get back to a normal bed time once she gets good at going to sleep.
If you do not fall asleep within 20 mins after routine you are not ready to sleep.
How you go to sleep is how you need to stay asleep. Our sleep goes in a cycle - non rem, rem then partial waking. At partial waking we wake up and check our environment. That's when you notice your partners snoring. If nothing has changed you go back to sleep unaware of waking. With children if light was on then off, parent was there then gone, dummy not in mouth, not being rocked etc etc they will wake up.
There are so many tips I hope these start to help.

Delphiniumsblue Sat 26-Apr-14 18:08:48

You may not like my suggestion but I was very impressed with a recent talk by a hypnotherapist and I think this is one of the most simplest things to rectify. Either that or she needs to learn relaxation techniques.

Stuffofawesome Sat 26-Apr-14 18:16:43

Teach them meditation, use a cd. Have just started using a book and cd called sitting still like a frog. There is a going to sleep track. If yo ca teach her the skills to settle herself confidently you will get there. I too spent many yrs sitting on the floor waiting for sleep! Also look at relax kids website.

Delphiniumsblue Sat 26-Apr-14 18:19:59

It is relaxation- she can't do it and needs to learn it somehow.

KaFayOLay Sat 26-Apr-14 20:09:28

I used to waitress and get into bed with active legs.

I'd lie there and imagine the energy flowing out of them and that my legs were getting heavy.

I used to get to about my hips and I couldn't remember getting further, I was asleep.
I have tried getting her to do this, but she says it doesn't work.

The not crying is great on one hand but I think yes, she's gone to sleep, only to go to bed hours later to see her still lying there.

I am going to try the suggestions, even though they're not too far removed from what I already do, but probably over summer when it's only me who has to put up with her grumps.

stargirl1701 Sat 26-Apr-14 20:12:40

Swimming. Every evening or up at 6am. Not playing in the pool but proper lengths. At least 20.

BuzzardBird Sat 26-Apr-14 20:22:48

My DD is like this (7). We have a system where on school nights she goes to bed at 7.30, plays until 8.30 with lights on and then is only allowed to read in bed with book light on after this. This has helped calm her down and can usually get to sleep by 10ish. She just doesn't need more sleep than this, but I do need my sanity which is why she goes to bed at 7.30.
Weekends and holidays I extend this to 8.30/9.00 but playtime/lights out is the same. The advantage is that if there is a party or something on she is quite happy and cheerful still at midnight. It is hard but I was the same at that age and no amount of 'conditioning' changed me.

Plenty of books is the answer. It makes the most of the time.

olivo Sat 26-Apr-14 20:33:11

I feel your pain. My DD has been a poor sleeper for all of her seven and a half years, but recently it has got worse. We have been down just about every route, even the medication didn't work. Recently, it seems to be a fear of being on her own or something. Bizarrely, it is not affecting her school work, just her home behaviour. And of course our lives, disturbed evenings and out of bed or woken up to eight times a night. Lord knows how I function sometimes.

Good luck, it isn't fun.

KaFayOLay Sat 26-Apr-14 21:19:44

stargirl she swims at 7 am on Saturday and Sunday plus a lesson on Saturday.

She can't swim 20 lengths, she is 7, although she does swim, not play.

olivio my eldest dd was like that, didn't sleep through till 5 and a half, up 6-8 times a night. I was wrecked!

I think I have the lesser of 2 evils now, at least when she is aslepl, she remains that way until morning.

stargirl1701 Sat 26-Apr-14 21:20:58

It is the only thing I've known to work. It does need to be daily though.

KaFayOLay Sat 26-Apr-14 21:24:46

buzzard, she has tried reading to 'tire her eyes' but she loves reading, so will read on for ages.

On the plus side, she has fallen asleep within 9 minutes tonight but I did still sit with her.

Maybe she just doesn't need as much sleep as I think she should have and should put her to bed later so she falls asleep quicker.

KaFayOLay Sat 26-Apr-14 21:26:52

stargirl she can't swim 20 lengths and I don't know of any 7 year olds who can.
So with the best will in the world, it ain't going to happen!

ImAThrillseekerBunny Sat 26-Apr-14 21:29:20

I don't quite understand what you're doing with lights - you refer to turning her lights out late at night - are you expecting her to go to sleep in the light? confused

Anyway, I would strongly recommend story CDs if you haven't tried them.

And also, 7:30 seems a bit early for a 7 year old to go to sleep unless she has to get up very early in the morning. A 7 year old would normally need 10.5 hours, so if she's getting up at, say, 7am, then she'd be falling asleep at 8:30.

ImAThrillseekerBunny Sat 26-Apr-14 21:29:51

X-post with that last point

BuzzardBird Sat 26-Apr-14 21:39:25

Cds didn't work for dd, they just kept her awake longer. I think the main point is that you need to make it so that she can fall asleep in her own time but you still need to get your time to wind down? Let her do whatever in a dimly lit room, you need your time too.

KaFayOLay Sat 26-Apr-14 22:17:03

bunny, yes, she does fall asleep with the main light on and will remain asleep all night with it on. I leave it on until I go to bed as she shoots up if she hears it clicking off. It is a struggle creeping out of the bedroom and shutting the door, without negotiating the light switch.

She does have a night light but that doesn't cut it for going to sleep but it remains on when main light is off.

The only time she has slept in complete darkness is if I've slep all night with her ie. In hotels, visiting grandparents.

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