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Wits end with 3yo who still just won't sleep enough

(17 Posts)
minipie Thu 14-Jan-16 10:25:10

I am really at my wits end here and would welcome any advice or experience

DD is 3.2 and has always been a bad sleeper. Basically she seems to want to live on the bare minimum of sleep and as soon as she's had that bare minimum, it's impossible to get her to sleep more.

The actual sleep problem varies - sometimes it's waking in the night, sometimes it's (very) early mornings, sometimes it's taking ages to fall asleep at night. All the variations have the same result, she is getting at least an hour less sleep than she really needs.

The problem is this bare minimum is not enough for her. She is grumpy, argumentative, emotional, has tantrums etc. She is like this about 70% of the time.

The other 30% of the time, when we somehow enter a good sleep phase and she gets that extra hour, she is delightful.

She also has very mild cerebral palsy (she can walk etc but is a bit more wobbly than the average) so this means she gets more tired than the average child and so a missed hour of sleep has a bigger impact for her. I don't know if the CP is related to the sleep issue or not.

Any advice very welcome. I just feel so sad that she is not having the lovely life she could be having if only she slept more.

JustAWeeProblem Tue 19-Jan-16 22:00:05

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minipie Tue 19-Jan-16 22:18:10

Thanks! Does he seem tired in the day?

JustAWeeProblem Tue 19-Jan-16 23:17:43

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AlexTaylor17 Wed 20-Jan-16 11:50:58

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minipie Wed 20-Jan-16 13:44:22

JustaWee, I know what you mean - DD is tired so much of the time that for her, tired is "normal". It's only because of the other 30%, when we get a glimpse of what she is like when not tired, that we know the way she behaves the rest of the time is tiredness and not her actual personality iyswim.

Yep we have falling asleep in the car. She also falls asleep in the buggy, which is how we manage to get her to nap - buggy on the way home from nursery school (luckily it's quite far). But now she often resists that <sigh>. And there is no chance of her napping in her bed.

Why oh why do they resist sleep? I know overtiredness makes them "wired" but DD seems to resist sleeping enough even when she's not overtired. Agh.

LovelyWeatherForDucks Wed 20-Jan-16 19:25:01

Watching as I have a similar 3 year old. If he wakes in the night he takes hours to re-settle, and if he wakes after about 4am there's very little chance he'll go back to sleep, or leave us in peace! Usually asleep around 7 and awake around 5am. Resists proper naps but will often snooze in the car or sometimes on the sofa. And we have some behaviour issues which I'm sure are sleep related. He often wakes up in a strop.

Couple of suggestions I've seen lately are rousing them gently when you go to bed (i.e. tuck in, kiss, etc) just enough to re-set their sleep cycle. Another tip I read is to use only red nightlight, as the usual blue is apparently stimulating. Not had much success with geo-clock or the usual approaches, I just hope he grows out of it!

minipie Wed 20-Jan-16 20:04:23

Some comfort to know it's not just DD!

Lovely that's interesting about the blue night light. We do use a gro clock as it keeps her quiet in the morning till 7am - not asleep, so doesn't solve the tiredness problem, but not yelling. (Most mornings anyway). But it has a blue light. I might investigate switching the blue light off and using a red light instead.

Not sure if I'm brave enough to disturb her at our bedtime! What if she wakes fully shock

We also have a 10 month old who sleeps terribly, though in her case it seems to be down to colds and teeth rather than sleep fighting. Yawn...

JustAWeeProblem Wed 20-Jan-16 20:13:16

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aimees75 Wed 20-Jan-16 20:55:32

My deepest sympathies ladies, I am going through similar with my 3.2 year old DD. She resists going to bed every night and has done for months now, we are often at our wits ends in the evenings.
She is capable of going to sleep beautifully but often it seems she doesn't want to, and jumps out of bed and runs about having a tantrum. Sometimes, like tonight, she tried to go to sleep but fidgeted so much and couldn't seem to relax enough, and then it took quite a bit of cajouling and stern words etc.. Feel so down about it. Am expecting twins in 3 weeks and so worried about how I will cope xx

minipie Wed 20-Jan-16 21:11:15

Bedtimes have been ok here (it's more night waking and early waking) ...but they are getting harder. More and more delaying tactics.

We do stories in her bed last thing, dim lighting, I think that helps a bit as she is already in bed and warm and comfy after stories, so maybe reluctant to get out (especially now it's cold in the evenings). But she doesn't want me to leave, I am ending up going back into her room several times to avoid a screaming fit.

Again overtiredness makes bedtimes worse, she usually goes to bed better on days she's had a nap.

JustaWee ouch, poor you, that's worse than my 10 month old. Can your baby self settle as when we had such regular wakings with DD it was because she couldn't (then we did sleep training and wakings went down to 1 or 2 per night).

DD is definitely at the challenging end too. Judging by my DD I would guess that most of the challenging behaviour is tiredness related. Nursery seem to think so in DD's case and they've seen a lot of 3 year olds.

hello aimees another sufferer! Congratulations on the twins but can imagine you are dreading the nights. Will you have any help?

JustAWeeProblem Wed 20-Jan-16 21:45:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

4kidssteph Thu 21-Jan-16 06:33:03

So happy to see I am not alone!......So my youngest DD is 22 months old.. (I also have a 12 year old, 10 year old and 12 week old who she shares a a room with) ... About a year ago when the clocks changed in spring her normal 6.30 wake up changed to 5.30 and I've never managed to get it back to normal! We've tried all the techniques, but struggle with consistency as her room is part of our room with just a partition wall dividing us with no door , but a gate on. No matter what angle we try she just gets up sees us in bed and screams the house down till one of us gets her up... We're exhausted and it's effecting our marriage ( lots of arguments etc). She also refuses to nap during the day... If I try it's just screaming for hours! I'm seriously at my wits end.. It makes things doubly difficult at the moment as she is waking her 12 week old brother who has just started going through!so worried that she is going to get him into bad habits as well. We've tried letting her crying it out, keep putting her back in bed and leaving then repeating... We've bought a gro clock.. I've tried white noise (helps with my baby sleeping through her noise so have stuck with that for his sake!) we've tried bringing her bedtime forward to help with the sleep deficit and then gradually move it back to normal time... We've tried putting her bedtime back till later.... Nothing works! Holding out for preschool now.. See if that wears her out enough! Only thing I haven't tried is waking to sleep, but like you, so scared to try it incase she wakes and then that's it! Sleep issues suck!

4kidssteph Thu 21-Jan-16 06:35:23

It's also getting progressively earlier.. Been 4.30 wake ups since Christmas and a few 3.30's just to add insult to injury!

Roomba Thu 21-Jan-16 07:35:41

DS2 is 3.5 and I have only just managed (touch wood) to get him to sleep through over the last few weeks - not every night but maybe 4/5 nights out of 7.

The only thing that worked in the end, I'm afraid to say, was bribery. He wanted Father Christmas to bring him what he wanted so much that he finally slept through for 3 nights before Christmas - then of course woke me all night on the 25th! That really annoyed me as then I knew he could do it and was just choosing now to - not sure if this is the case with your DD though, OP?

I can talk to DS about it and explain how tired and grumpy it makes Mummy though, and he knows he is much more likely to get a treat or not miss out on something fun if Mummy isn't tired out. It seems to be working at last!

ChrisBrooks25 Thu 21-Jan-16 08:35:39

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minipie Thu 21-Jan-16 15:42:43

Roomba we had similar success with a star chart and chocolate rewards for enough stars... but it seemed to wear off. Yes we have the "do you want grumpy mummy" conversation too - unfortunately even if DD sleeps well her baby sister doesn't so she gets grumpy me anyway!

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