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Screaming 5 year old and night waking - genuine or manipulative?

(3 Posts)
alltalkedout Mon 01-Dec-14 20:43:10

Hi xxx

I would really value some advice.

My daughter is 5 and has never been a great sleeper. For the first 3 years she woke early and had night time tantrums but then it settled down as she got older and after weeks of sleep training.

But in the last 2 to 3 weeks she has started waking every night again- either getting in our bed and keeping us awake fidgeting or staying in her own bed and crying until I go in.

I'll admit it - I have created the problem. I have an older son (7) who was being woken by her screaming so I would go into her room and calm her down and sit with her so he didn't get woken up and sleep deprived like me!!

The trouble is now she is used to me sitting on her bed and holding her hand until she goes back to sleep. My husband has tried helping but she just screams for me and so back to square one.

She also does the same at bedtime. I have to sit with her for 15 mins and then I can leave the room with out her screaming. But I think this makes it worse if she wakes in the night.

But last night was the final straw - I was awake for 2 hours just sitting on the edge of her bed holding her hand whilst she dozed. I was so tired at work (and felt unwell) it made me realise it has to stop.

We tried explaining to her that it makes us tired, we've tried reward charts but they don't work. I've asked her why she does it and she days she misses me and loves me and just wants to be with me - but then is she just manipulating me and saying this so she can get what she wants. She does have tantrums still and can be quite challenging if she doesn't get what she wants. Perhaps this is happening with the sleep thing too? I just don't know of its genuine anxiety and upset or if infact she is just having a tantrum to get what she wants.

I really don't know what to do sad she got her self in such a hysterical state tonight because I read to her brother and my husband tucked her in. It breaks my heart to hear her crying sad but she can't behave like that either for her own sake.

Sorry about the long boring post but I'm desperate! X

GrumbelinaPicklebottom Tue 02-Dec-14 10:34:21

So sorry OP - you must be exhausted. I have no experience of sleep issues in older children (mine are still quite young), but I had two reluctant sleepers 17 months apart, so I most definitely feel your pain.

Just wondering - since she's older, could you perhaps set a timer and tell her you will sit with her for eg 5 minutes, then you have to leave?

Since she says she misses you, maybe you could give her something of yours (not important to you, but which she would like to have, eg a necklace or a t shirt), and tell her that you will be close to her while she holds/wears it? Perhaps if you make a big deal of giving it to her because she's a big girl now she'll feel grown up and responsible?

Or try changing linen etc - let her help choose it and get her big girl room ready?

Sorry if you've tried these sorts of things before, or if they sound a bit naff!

Hoping you both get some rest soon flowers

GrumbelinaPicklebottom Tue 02-Dec-14 10:35:53

Sorry when I said "something not important to you", I meant something which you wouldn't mind giving her.

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