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Help. 3 year old sleep woes

(14 Posts)
Bizzy2011 Fri 26-Dec-14 23:08:49

I am sitting here with the last of the Christmas port posting in desperation in the hope of some sage mumsnetter advice.
I have a seriously happy 3 year old. He charms the birds off the trees. But.
For various reasons we've ended co-sleeping, and lying with him as he drifts off to sleep. We put him in his bed (which is at the end of ours) and invariably at some point he gets into our bed. DH works away a lot so its really up to me to break this cycle, but I feel utterly clueless as to how to do it.
Any advice would be massively appreciated as I feel a total plonker to have allowed it to get to this stage. We are looking at having number 2 very soon and I just can't face it on the quality of sleep I am getting at the moment.

ANewMe2015 Fri 26-Dec-14 23:10:52

My nearly 3 year old is similar.. The first slept through happily by 2 so I've no idea why this one wont!

Bizzy2011 Fri 26-Dec-14 23:13:12

ah. well maybe both of us might get some useful advice!

ANewMe2015 Fri 26-Dec-14 23:25:29

Ours is sometime between 12 and 2 usually. And any attempt to settle in bed has her looking panicked as if we'd asked her to walk to the shops in the dark on the own with the monsters...

Bizzy2011 Fri 26-Dec-14 23:31:58

so I am not alone..... where are the mumsnet sleep crackers when you need 'em?

FATEdestiny Sat 27-Dec-14 15:29:20

Bizzy, you mention DS's bed being at the end of your bed. Does he have his own room?

You realise that at some point you will just have to bite the bullet and crack on with getting him to sleep in his own room - and that will involve tears and screaming and generally be hard work and unpleasant. But it will solve the problem in about a week. So the question really is when are you ready to do this?

There is no magic answer to have him accept sleeping on his own in his own room happily and with joy. Except perhaps age - since he is unlikely to be sleeping with you aged 16. My friend couldn't handle her DD tears so they coslept until DD was 9 years old and DD decided herself that she wanted her own space. So that is one option.

The other option is move bed into DSs room. Make the room great in some way - redecorate it for a 'big boy' for example. Then tell him that he will be sleeping in there tonight and that every time he comes into your room you will take him back. Then just deal with the inevitable crying and no sleep.

I am a hard woman when I need to be. But I am the grown up with my children so I do know best, even when it isn't very nice. So when I did this with DC1 she screamed for about 3 hours then slept then woke and screamed for another three hours and slept the first night. Screamed for half an hour then slept all night second night. Screamed for 10 minutes and slept all night third night. Then it was sorted.

So, just ask yourself when you are ready to do it. Because sooner or later you will have to.

Bizzy2011 Sat 27-Dec-14 23:06:00

Fatedestiny, thanks. I think I needed to hear that. A friend also suggested something similar to you today and as we are actually away, doing it when we get back makes sense.
Here's to biting the bullet!

ANewMe2015 Sat 27-Dec-14 23:42:23

Hmm ours has her own room.... but still comes into ours at night (between 12 and 2). It didn't solve it. In fact she didnt have any problems when sharing with her sister but when we separated them. That and she might have sleep apnea (which we are waiting for our consultant appointment for). Which may explain the waking multiple times but not the not going back to sleep...

imme Sun 28-Dec-14 00:05:38

Our DS stopped coming into bed with us when we got him a grown up single bed and a gro clock.
Well, we also needed to bribe him.

We bought him a toy, placed it high up on the shelf and told him he will get it if he slept until the clock said up, for x number of nights. We had to tweak the number of nights as we went along. We made a big deal out of the whole thing and reminded him every day until he slept through once. We kept going on and on and he slept through a few more nights. Eventually we didn't need bribes any more but every so often, when he has woken up in the night or early, we repeat that we want him to sleep through and not disturb us until it's time to get up.
He sleeps through now probably 5 nights out of 7, usually 8 til 7, I am happy with that.
I appreciate this may not work with every child but if yours can be easily bribed it's worth a try.
But I agree with pp that you need to move his bed into his room as a first step. Maybe turn it into a really exciting thing with him being able to decorate his sleep space and also choose new bedding.

Btw, He had just turned four when we did this. It took a few weeks iirc.

Bizzy2011 Sun 28-Dec-14 07:37:20

Gro clock. Ok. On the list!

addictedtosugar Sun 28-Dec-14 09:06:19

Bizzy, can I suggest you go for a slightly more expensive clock than than the gro - ours like this is brill now DS1 is learning to tell the time. Bizarrely our early waking child also adored the alarm function......

It may well not work with your child, and we had very different issues, and I would suggest a slightly more gentle approach, but DS1 had asked to go swimming, and we'd said tomorrow, but after a terrible night with multiple disturbances, we both just flipped, and shouted said no way, we were too tired, and spent the day shift sleeping to catch up (it was the weekend!). Next night, DS1 stayed in bed, quietly all night, bounced up in the morning with "DS1 didn't wake Mummy and Daddy, now, Swimming". So, I'd suggest that explaining Mummy and Daddy need lots of sleep to be great parents, and so he needs to be a big boy, and stay in bed, and see what happens.

Good Luck. Sleep deprivation is used as a method of torture for good reason.

ANewMe2015 Fri 02-Jan-15 08:36:11

Any joy? My 3 year old cried twice before 11pm then cameinto bed with me and then woke at least every hour-2hours... I cant cope with it.

Its straight to that high whining/screaming when I leave her.

I think it could be tonsils and have an appointment for it... but what if it isnt?!

Bizzy2011 Wed 07-Jan-15 13:20:25

Arrived home Sunday with shocking jet lag. Cannot even contemplate starting this process until i get some decent sleep!
Was it tonsilitis?

mewkins Wed 07-Jan-15 13:37:23

What is his room like and does he spend much time playing in it? I remember going through a few phases as a child when I only wanted to sleep in my sister's room- I was lonely and didn't really like my room. It was cold and I didn't spend any time playing in there as my sister had the bigger room for us to play in. If you can get his input on what would make his room feel nice and safe he may be more inclined to stay in there. Eg. He may feel too exposed so perhap a bed with a tent/den contraption would make it feel cosier. And make sure he feels nice and toasty. Also have you tried a nightlight/ him having a torch to use if he gets scared? And does he have nice cuddly toys close by to help him feel safer?
I think I would change all this and then move a mattress in for a week to sleep on myself. So when he wakes my first goal would be to keep him in his bed with you in the room for the whole night. Then I would very gradually change it. Eg. I will leave the mattress but if he tries to get up I will come and sleep on the mattress for the rest of the night. Then I will sleep on the mattess for as long as it takes for you to go back to sleep. By this time he shoukd ve very used to staying in his bed fpr the entire night. Replace the matress with a chair so that he knows you won't be staying in there but just sitting and waiting. Make it clear that you will be present but don't engage in conversation.

After a few weeks I would make it a big challenge - can you be a really big boy and stay in your room all night ?

I think if you take baby steps and change things slowly he will start to feel like he can do it. If you change it all at once it may feel too overwhelming for you both.

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