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Please - 5-YEAR old DD won't sleep and is really clingy

(4 Posts)
finnbird Thu 04-Feb-16 13:06:47

Hi all
I know there are countless threads on sleep, but we just don't know what do.
DD is 5,5 years old, and until about Christmas used to sleep in her own bed most nights at least until 3-4am. We used to also be able to just read her bedtime story, cuddle, say goodnight and leave her to go to sleep.
Not anymore, since about Christmas she wants one of us there until she goes to sleep, screams if we leave before she does, then starts getting up during the evening and comes to our bed every night. She's also become really clingy even daytime - she won't go upstairs on her own, and doesn't even want me to leave her to go to the loo! She says she's too scared. I don't know where this is coming from.
We've tried using a star chart, taking her back to her own bed (results in lots of screaming), talking to her, leaving longer gaps before going back to her in the evenings, but nothing seems to make any difference.
The problem is being consistent as we don't always even wake up when she comes to our bed at night.
Any ideas what might have triggered this? Is it normal for the age? Her siblings never went through anything similar at this age.

FATEdestiny Thu 04-Feb-16 14:15:11

Does she have enough light in her room? A night light wasn't enough for my children. We had a dimmer switch so the main light was left on all night, just dimmed down. This meant there were no dark corners of the room - the whole room is covered in ambient light.

Ask her if she can vocalise what she is scared of (she may not be able to). Can she point to what scares her? When I was little, the way that the curtains unfolded when drawn made a shape I felt looked like a witches face. I used to stare at it at bedtime, scared it might come alive. I told my Mum the curtains scared me - I wasn't able to vocalise what the actual problem was so she probably thought I was being ridiculous being scared of the curtains. But she believed me and by just changing the curtains the shadow shape disappeared and I stopped being scared.

Ask her what she could do to help herself be less scared. Empower her rather than telling her. But make some suggestions. A lit torch under the bed. Sprinkle special "baddies spray" (scented water in a spray bottle) around the room to banish the nasties. But she might have some suggestions herself (like changing the curtains for me), see if you can make them work.

finnbird Thu 04-Feb-16 14:25:48

Thanks FATE, I really like your ideas and suggestions - I can see the 'baddies spray' could work with her! She says she's scared of witches and bogeymen, so it could indeed be some shadows making it worse.
Fingers crossed, I'd love to get a proper night's sleep again!

FATEdestiny Thu 04-Feb-16 14:38:21

If you think she would be sensible with it, you could start giving DD her own Baddies Spray at night. Watch were she sprays it at bedtime and see if there are any wet spots where she is spraying in the night. See if there is any consistency. She might always spray into the wardrobe first, or under the bed, or whatever.

Does moving the furniture around change the position of "the baddies", does putting an extra light in that area help? The spray can act as a non-verbal way of her showing you what's wrong, as well as helping her to feel safe.

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