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7yo DD struggles to fall asleep at night, tho tired - any advice?

(18 Posts)
Honesttodog Thu 07-Jan-16 10:33:14

Looking for advice on a good winding down routine as she is a night owl and quite high energy in the evening. She is not naughty but she writes stories, practices handstands, rearranges doll bed etc.

She was quite emotional over Xmas and I think tiredness rather than being a preteen might be part of why.

I am also a night owl but I always stayed in bed and read when I was younger.

I found I was getting quite frustrated with trying to help DD to fall asleep so she does not have a routine any more, where to start with winding down and how long should I be with her ? My son (4yo) takes about 5 min to fall asleep /tell me to go... I want to calm her but don't want to spend ages reading/discussing story/ saying it's time to sleep/ choosing music etc.

She also loves to chat. I don't read to Her anymore but could go back to a chapter per night I guess.

How long do your DC read for? What time is lights out?

Stuffofawesome Thu 07-Jan-16 10:36:21

Take a look at the relaxkids website. Their meditation stuff is good.

steppemum Thu 07-Jan-16 10:46:14

my sil went to a sleep trainer and they said that you need a max 45 minute wind down time. After that they go into wake up mode again, and then it is a couple of hours before the next wind down in the biological cycle.

So, from the time you go upstairs, 45 mins until lights out.

Bath, teeth, pjs, cuddles in bed and read a story, with low light levels (bedside light). Then lights off, and kiss good night, and leave.

I still read to mine because we both like it, but if you don't want to, then substitute her reading a chapter to herself, and then you come in a turn light out.

You don't need to stay. She is old enough to know that once in bed she stays in bed, the rule is, in bed lying quietly, if you can't sleep, then at least your body is resting.
When mine say they can't sleep, I say tell a story to teddy, but you must be in bed, quiet.

It might be worth looking at how much sleep she needs. Would she sleep better if she goes to bed a bit later and then goes straight off to sleep?

Honesttodog Thu 07-Jan-16 11:01:21


Millpond says 10.5 hrs, so maybe she needs to have playtime on her own after ds goes to sleep then begin wind down/bath time with 8.30 bedtime? Burning off energy then bath/ story/ bed? Just not sure when we will cook dinner and eat....

BendydickCuminsnatch Thu 07-Jan-16 11:14:08

I was an awful sleeper until I was about 10. When I was about 7 my dad taught me to get really comfy in bed, then say 'night night toes', and then you can't move them again. 'Night night feet', and you can't move them again. Work your way up your body and then I'd usually be asleep by the time ingot to my head. Didn't always work though. Sometimes I just laid there til morning!

Doesn't sound like she gets distressed? That's good. I used to cry and cry. I grew out of it though once my teens hit!

steppemum Thu 07-Jan-16 11:26:30

well, bedtime depends on when she wakes up!
dd2 wakes at 6:30, dd1 not til 7:30, so their bedtime takes that into account.

I would not put a 4 year old and a 7 year old to bed at the same time.

As to dinner, well, we eat as a family at 6.

Sleepingbunnies Thu 07-Jan-16 11:29:32

My 7 Yr old DO has done exactly this too even though she was a fantastic sleeper before the break! I'm hoping she breaks the habit. She needs a LOT of sleep so she still goes to bed at the same time as the 4yr old. This is normally no problem!

steppemum Thu 07-Jan-16 11:34:12

every child is different, so if she needs lots of sleep, no problem. dd1 has always needed more sleep than my other 2, to the bedtime gap between her and dd2 has always been small, even though there is a 3 year gap.

Honesttodog Thu 07-Jan-16 11:46:05

Usually when ds goes to sleep, she plays in her room. Then around 830 I tell her it's lights out and she then takes an age to fall asleep. Bathtime is at 6or 6.15 for both of them, and they love to play together, so it will be a pain to do separate baths at diff times if bath needs to be part of the wind down.

Honesttodog Thu 07-Jan-16 11:46:39

They love to Play in the bath together, I mean.

steppemum Thu 07-Jan-16 11:57:02

I think then you need to introduce a wind down element in her routine. At the moment she isn't getting any, she is playing and then goes straight to lights out.

She needs cues to help her switch from active to quiet. So, maybe reading in bed?

StDogolphin Thu 07-Jan-16 12:11:28

We found reading was the answer, half an hour in bed reading really helped. Rainbow Fairies were good for this.

keely79 Thu 07-Jan-16 12:28:05

How about audiobooks? My DD falls asleep listening to one each night on a CD player. It gives her some quiet time in the dark without feeling that she "must" be sleeping. If she doesn't fall asleep during the first, we put the next one on - rule is that she has to be lying down and quiet.

Honesttodog Thu 07-Jan-16 12:33:07

Playing in her room is the current winding down time, she does read but often interspersed with doing other stuff in her room.

I can see now that we will have to have a play period and then a quiet reading time...

Any ideas how to stop her practicing gymnastics until the last possible minute?? When she is at home she practically spends more time upside down than the right way up!!

Honesttodog Thu 07-Jan-16 12:33:34

Just ordered relax kids CDs thanks

steppemum Thu 07-Jan-16 16:06:32

well, at the moment, it seems to me she doesn't have a bedtime routine, she is playing in her room, which is the same as any other time of day, so she has no signals to say bedtime until you turn her light off.

So I would say, right lights out is 8:30 (or whatever), so at 7:50, go in and say NOW it is time to start going to bed. 10 minutes to put away what she has been playing with and chose a book and a CD. (toilet/drink whatever) Then 8:00 - in bed.

This is the message, from 8-8:30, you need to be in your bed, reading. This is now bedtime, no gym/drawing/playing, now it is bedtime, and that means in bed.

I think you will need to sit down with her and explain the new routine, and that your expectation is she stays in her bed.
Then leave her to read (or read to her) until 8:30. At 8:30 go in, kiss and hug, lights out and out the CD on quietly, and leave.

if she gets out of bed, then go back in and repeat the expectation more firmly.
At some point you will need a consequence if she keeps getting out of bed.

steppemum Thu 07-Jan-16 16:27:40

sorry, that first paragraph sounds a bit harsh. I was just trying to unpick what is going on.

Honesttodog Thu 07-Jan-16 22:49:35

Thanks that's helpful. Yr right I do need to focus on quiet time in bed, I was seeing her wind down time as chill in yr room and do what you like as she wasn't sleepy yet. Focus on time in bed should help with creating a sleepier vibe.

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