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Almost 6 year old won't sleep last 4am!

(9 Posts)
mummetie Tue 08-Dec-15 10:46:36

I'm at a total loss, the title pretty much explains it. My almost six year old will not sleep past 4am and I feel like I've tried everything! Of course I can't have so I'm posting for other techniques/advice.

He goes to bed between 7 and 8pm, but wakes around 4am EVERYDAY. He's been the same since day one, as a baby I sort of accepted it, as a toddler I struggled through thinking it'll pass, but now it's affecting his school work and his behaviour. It's also having an impact on his younger brother and sister, let alone exhausting me.

So here's what I've tried:

1. Keeping him up later for a 3 weeks, as the odd night makes no difference. He did start to sleep till 5am around day 4 but by day 9 he was back to 4am. By the end of the third week, his behaviour was horrendous so I dropped the later bedtime, and started to put him to bed earlier until eventually we were back to the 7.30 bedtime we began with. At least he was now getting a couple hours more sleep between 7.30pm and 9.30pm

2. Used a clock. This is still in operation though he totally ignores it. I did digital clock "can get up when this says 6" and covered the minutes. Also used a normal wall clock, background coloured in red other than between 6 and 8, and explained the little hand etc. They've been in action a year, I still remind him before he goes to sleep. He ignores them.

3. Also still do. Take him back to bed and tell him he can only get up when mummy comes in to get him. Problem is he shares a room with his 2yo brother, he sings, shouts, throws things, climbs in and out of bed and wakes his younger brother. AND this is providing I hear him wake up! He's like a ninja, I swear! He creeps downstairs, puts a dvd on and eats his way through the kitchen, without either me or my oh hearing him. It's dangerous! He knows the dangers, I tell him everyday. I even resorted to teaching him how to make his own breakfast (not toast) just so I know he's safe. Terrible mother alert.

4. Removed toys and TV from bedroom. There's literally 2 beds and a set of drawers in there. Nothing to stimulate him.

5. Fed him up before bed. He has tea after school at 4.15pm followed by yoghurt/treat, then couple of biscuits at 5.30pm, followed by toast/cereal/some kind of supper at 6.15pm before bath time. He's not hungry, he's not waking for food though tbf he's just waking to wake up.

6. Exhausting my voice explaining the rules over and over.

7. Reward charts, praise and treats. Each time he stayed in his bed quietly waiting for me he earned a sticker on his chart. Five stickers = a special treat. This chart has been in action a year, it's refreshed every fortnight, and still haven't got five stickers in the fortnight! It started as 7 stickers, but I lowered it to 5. I don't want him reading when he wakes, I want him to sleep

He goes to bed absolutely fine on an evening. But after a 3am battle today, I'm at the end of the line, I need help. I've cried to the school but they said they don't have any resources to help out of school.

So has anybody got any tips? I'm willing to try anything! I just know if I can get on top of this early rising, I'd be able to get his behaviour in check.

FATEdestiny Tue 08-Dec-15 18:50:00

I'd revisit the clock and reward chart, but from a different angle.

His get up time needs to move gradually. You cannot realistically expect his body clock to move from 4am to 5am just like that, let alone 7am which would be the aim.

I would aim for 4.15 for a week, then 4.30 for a week, then 4.45 and then 4.59 (note the time isn't 5.00).

Times like 6.50 are much better than 7.00. If you consider looking at just the hour number, it will seem like it never changes as you watch. But assuming the child can count up to 50, then he will understand seeing the minutes clicking over.

In terms of sticker chart, the proper way if doing things is not to reward with food. But I have found nothing beats the option of a biscuit as soon as you get up if you do this. Works even better if you have siblings who will earn the same biscuit for staying in bed. It'll be heartbreaking that first morning when his brother gets big praise and a biscuit in the morning and you make a very deliberate play of "no biscuit for you today because... But I know you can do it tomorrow"

I had so many genuine smd heart renching tears the first time that happened, he was genuinely so upset that I still gave his siblings a biscuit (even tho they always stay in bed anyway). But it was definitely worth going thro.

Fear of missing out on a treat, instant reward (of something he really, really wanted - something better than just a sticker), and knowing he could count up the minutes to get up time were the key things that worked with my 6 year old. We did this last year with him.

TurnOffTheTv Tue 08-Dec-15 18:57:23

Have you been to the doctor to be referred to a sleep specialist?

mummetie Tue 08-Dec-15 19:24:35

Thank you Fate will definitely give those a go! I actually felt sick reading the biscuit thing but I'll do it because it might just work (though he help himself to the biscuits the odd time I don't hear him getting up angry ) but it'll be very different me actually giving one to his brother and sister and not him, unless he earns it. You've helped me see it through new eyes, it's bloody hard when you're in it day in day out.

TurnOffTheTv, no I've not seen the doctor. I did consider it at one point but didn't want to waste their time (I'm very conscious about the cost to the NHS since my mum works in commissioning and drums it into my head haha)

buffymum Tue 08-Dec-15 19:32:11

Oh dear, sounds exhausting 😁 you could also ask school to refer to the school nurse who may have links with a sleep solutions type service or offer a short term intervention .

mummetie Tue 08-Dec-15 19:38:20

Do all schools have school nurse? As I've been in the office asking for help several times and gotten nowhere. I get reports home from school about his behaviour but that's about it. He's not a nightmare student or anything, but it's definitely impacting his school work and fear it'll only be a matter of time before things get worse.
Will ask about the nurse tomorrow! Think I'd prefer that than seeing the go

mummetie Tue 08-Dec-15 19:38:58

GP even!

SaintEyning Tue 08-Dec-15 19:39:55

I had this - he kept getting ill once he started preschool. So doctor tried everything and finally suggested that he wasn't getting enough sleep as he was overtired. Started leaving work earlier and getting him home, bathed, story read and lights out for 630pm. Worked a treat and the whole 'sleep breeds sleep' thing made sense. Sometimes he will even sleep at 530 if he has had a mad day. Wakes at 545/6 now but we do get the odd 7am day which makes me so happy! Can you try that? Might take a few days to get the routine changed but they do need about 10 hours at that age I think. Totally feel your pain!

TurnOffTheTv Tue 08-Dec-15 19:51:36

Balls to the bloody cost! Your mental health, sleep deprivation, and your Sons health is worth a 10 minute appointment. 4am is not a normal wake up time for anyone.

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