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4 year old DD won't settle at bedtime... help!

(5 Posts)
nats1818 Wed 26-Nov-14 21:33:37

I am end the end of my tether with my 4 year old DD and bedtime! She started school in September 2 weeks after her baby sister was born, so has been unsettled and exhausted as she only turned 4 in August. She used to be great at self soothing until she turned 2 and has gradually got worse at bedtime. Lately it has peaked as whereas she used to just chat away in her room to her teddies etc, she now keeps coming downstairs with every excuse under the sun (some genuine) and eventually has a meltdown as wants us to come up and stroke her back. Absolutely nothing we have tried has worked... she is very strong minded and stubborn and things like reward charts don't work at all. We've been very cross with her, we've tried giving her lots of reassurance, we've tried bribes and threats but nothing works! I would be happy to sit w her for few minutes and stroke her back but the problem is that she doesn't settle if we are in room either - she keeps talking to us and fidgeting about/trying to get out of bed. I am now in such a muddle about the right thing to do as want to try tough love and do rapid return or put stairgate on her door, but then worry that she is feeling insecure with all the changes in her life and that it would do more harm than good. I don't know if there is any advise people can give as I feel we have tried everything, but I would love to know if others have experienced the same and if it got better/any tips.

We do all the right things, i.e no tv within hour of bed, bath, warm milk, 2 stories etc and have tried earlier and later bedtime.


strawberryshoes Wed 26-Nov-14 21:40:41

I can only tell you what works here...

I stay with my 4 year old as she falls asleep. After stories the night light goes on for 10 minutes and she is allowed to chat and fidget in this time. As soon as the nightlight goes off its still and quiet time. If she is still and quiet I will stroke her back, if she talks or fidgets, I leave and if she follows she is led back to bed silently until she stays. She gets a warning or 2 that it is still and quiet time before I go of course and actually its really rare now that she tries to talk or jump about. I only have to sit with her for about 3 minutes.

Previously, it was lights out after stories and she was up every 5 minutes.

nats1818 Wed 26-Nov-14 21:47:01

Thanks strawberry shoes... that sounds a really good idea. I know I am guilty of not being consistent enough and keep changing the method too quickly, so perhaps I will give this a try and stick to it. I just agonise over whether I should be teaching her to settle herself but deep down I do feel she is only little still really and it won't be forever!

firstposts Wed 26-Nov-14 21:51:54

We had success with the sweetie fairy. A party bag with a sweetie / chocolate in if he stayed in his bed until the morning. Obviously not great seeing them eat chocolate at 7am but the sweetie fairy was phased out after a couple of months but the staying in bed remained !

IDontWantToBuildASnowman Thu 27-Nov-14 14:50:52

How about music? Or story CD's? We had this with DD who was also an august baby when she started school - just too much going on in her head for her to switch off, so we had to give her something to distract her thoughts rather than leaving her on her own with them.

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