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3 yr old long term sleep issues. Am stumped now- any suggestions what to try?

(3 Posts)
minesapintofwine Tue 12-May-15 10:59:13

Hoping for some advice! Will try not to be long winded but will explain situation to create a picture.

My dts are 3.3. They go to nursery 5 afternoons a week and I aim to have them in bed by 7pm, in their own rooms. This is achieved without fuss but dt1 takes a bit longer to settle, about 20 minutes. So far so good!

Ok so I'll describe dt1's personality in the day. He is energetic, obsessional with routine and order (is under investigation for asd due to this but as showing no other traits they are just keeping him on the radar (dt2 also under it, but showing more traits) ), and persistent if he wants something. He can keep on for ages and when he doesn't get his own way, he switches demands and nags and nags and nags about something else!

Coming to sleep issues now. Dt1 was a really good sleeper until he transitioned into a bed at 19 months. Since then there have been various sleep problems,of varying degrees, with me (and Dh, but he works 5 nights a week, every week) trying different things. In that time, to help different issues, with good results each time I have done cc, gradual retreat, rapid return,and co-slept (which led to further issues in the end). I haven't been able to have a consistent approach as different things have worked each time.

This is where we are now, with a new problem. Dt1 will stay in bed all night until about 6am when he comes for a cuddle and a chat. I'm glad he's staying in bed anyway.

Between 11.30pm and 6am he generally wakes at least once. Once a fortnight, like last night (which prompted me to ask for help) he will wake every 1/2hr/1hr until about 5 (from 11.30ish) when we will get about 2 hours sleep. Lucky us brew.

When he wakes he calls me every time to e.g.,pick teddies up off the floor, tidy his blanket etc (all things he is capable of doing). I'm not sure if he's doing this for reassurance I'm there (he never wants Dh) or simply to keep order and things in the right place. Bear in mind he called me about 10 times last night! He is happy for me to leave the room after but will call me again later for something else. If I ignore him he calls for ages 'mammy, mammmee, put my bed right, mammmee'.

I aim to be firmer and remind him what beds are for etc, I think I should gradually remove his 'crutches' also? Does anyone have any other suggestions? The lack of sleep/rest is impacting on our day.


minesapintofwine Wed 13-May-15 09:01:48

Does anybody have the solution? <cries>. After posting yesterday I read about shutting the door, I think off Supernanny, so tried to implement it last night. I told him if he woke me in the night I would close his door (which he hates) obviously intending to open it when he was calm in bed. He did wake at 2am but I gave him a warning, took him back to bed and said the next time he woke me I would close his door. With hindsight perhaps I should have closed it at 2am as his first warning had been at bedtime but he was a bit worked up so I just stuck with explaining what would happen. He didn't wake again until 6.30 but honestly don't know if that's because of the warning or just a one wake up night. Only time will tell I think it will take about a week. If there is any other advice though I would still be grateful?

FATEdestiny Wed 13-May-15 13:09:50


Whatever it is that you decide to do, you have to be consistent and keep doing it. Not just for a couple of days, but for a couple of weeks or even months. I have not heard about shutting the door but if that's the method you have talked about with your DS an agreed, then stick with it.

Some times it will work, sometimes it won't. But if you are consistent and always do the same thing, eventually the times it works will increase and the times it doesn't work will decrease.

I would also say that aged 3 is prime time to first have the emotional development that means being scared of the dark starts to become an issue (when often it wasn't previously). You could try talking to him about how secure he feels in his room. Some children see scared shadows or are frightened of things under the bed/ in the wardrobe etc. Reassurance and light may help.

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