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At my wits end......

(11 Posts)
Minirocky Sat 31-Dec-16 08:43:57

Dd 2years has always been a terrible sleeper. From a few weeks after birth she had severe reflux and cmpa. She appears to have recovered from those now but is still taking medication to help her poo.
So that's the backstory.

She was never a sleepy child, naps have been more by luck than anything else and bedtime is an absolute nightmare still! She has never slept through, doesn't seem to have an off switch.

If she has a nap (1 hour max before 1.30pm) she won't sleep until 9 or 10. With no nap she will fall asleep at 7 but only for an hour and then is up till about 1am. Even then she will wake a few times.
She has an active lifestyle and I offer her a varied diet (but she's not a big eater).
I'm at my wits end I'm so exhausted and dreading bedtime. I love my daughter very much but I'm starting to feel as though I resent her sometimes!!!

Anyone got any ideas????
I need help! I think she needs help to switch off, the other night she got so upset about sleeping and me trying to keep her in bed with no distractions ( I was with her) she puked up!
Neither of us can carry on like this. Any help gratefully accepted.

BikeRunSki Sat 31-Dec-16 09:25:04

No help I'm at wid, just sympathy, as DD was just the same- unfortunately until she was 3.1! I hit through gallons of Red Bull.

Janek Sat 31-Dec-16 09:37:45

This sounds absolutely terrible. I would talk to the health visitor/gp - her not being able to 'switch off' sounds really bad. If she does have a nap, and then doesn't go to bed until late, does she sleep through then? It might be worth sacrificing your evenings for better sleep iyswim. What you describe sounds like she has a 'nap' anyway - either during the afternoon, or at 7pm!

Janek Sat 31-Dec-16 09:40:14

Ah, sorry, didn't read your op properly - i think she needs a nap during the day, and you need to work on strategies with her to deal with it herself!!! Turn over and cuddle a teddy, put on some music quietly. Look at a book for a few minutes and then back to sleep. It sounds like she can manage on very little sleep even though you can't. Groclock she knows when she can call you and when she needs not to disturb you?

Minirocky Sat 31-Dec-16 09:53:54

Thanks for the replys
When she does wake she goes straight to manic crying no chance of cuddling a teddy and rolling over unfortunately. Even if she goes to bed later she still wakes up during the night.
I worry she's not getting enough sleep constantly. She is tired but refuses to let go......

Minirocky Sat 31-Dec-16 09:54:54

Have tried before with health visitor and been laughed out of the doctors but will keep on trying as we both need help.

FATEdestiny Sat 31-Dec-16 10:51:44

She needs more sleep, not less.

Over the last decade public awareness has increased to recognise the health issues due to obsesity, lack of exercise and poor diet. Well new research is suggesting that in the next decade we will come to realise the widespread health implications lack of sleep can cause, especially in children. In Japanese they have a word for it which roughly translates as "death by work". It's the health issues of not being able to switch off and relax, just as you mention.

It's suggested healthy sleep is equally as important as healthy eating and healthy exercise.

So this is important. You will no doubt find people who say "oh, she just doesn't want to sleep". But you really have to override that. Just like you know she needs to eat nutritious food not cheap food, you also know best with regards to get sleep and as a responsible parent, you need to teach her.

My post is getting massive. I might click the POST button now just to break it up a bit.

FATEdestiny Sat 31-Dec-16 11:06:47

I'm going to digress here. Bear with me because there is a point.

doesn't seem to have an off switch

I have a puppy cocker spaniel (along with a toddler and 3 other children). Our dog is bonkers. Not her fault, the breedcjust are bonkers and hyper. Spaniels don't have an off switch. Certainly not spaniel under 12m old.

The usual answer to calm a high-energy dog is walk more, stimulate more, exercise more, make the dog think and work. Tirer the dog out basically.

Only that wont work for a spaniel (this is my 5th from puppy). They have no off switch. Exercise will energise them. Stimulation will make them wired and excitable. Yes, of course they need these things. But they have to be taught to calm down and relax. This often does not come naturally to a spaniel. A dog owner has to actively teach the puppy to sometimes switch off, calm down, relax. Otherwise they just keep going at a milllon-speed-bonkersness until exhausted and then flop.

Your child is like a puppy spaniel.

You need to actively teach her how to relax. Because she appears to have not yet learnt this and she needs to. She needs to know that
- when she is getting tired, she has to sit down and slow down. Don't make this an option.
- when she is sleepy, she has to lie down.
- when she is lying down to sleep, she needs to be still and calm. This may need you to physically cuddle and hold her still. In a nice, gentle way I mean, not brutal or unkind.
- when she is tired and/or sleepy, there will be no stimulation. No playing, no loud noise, no fast movements. You can talk in quiet whispers to get to reiterate the calming time. Slow everything down.

Be a bit pantomime about it initially. This is genuinely something you have to teach and she had has to learn. So praise her development as she slowly grasps the concept.

Minirocky Sat 31-Dec-16 17:40:45

Do you know, I think I agree with the spaniel analogy!
Dd2 defiantly does need sleep! Exhaustion is not good in a 2 year old.
I must try to find a way to get her to quieten down rather than pushing on through.
Thanks all for the answersgrin

boobsaclock Sat 31-Dec-16 18:24:25

My child is an awful sleeper (goes down well but wakes quite a few times in the night) so I can't offer much advice but I have a rule that the last hour before bedtime is books only, no toys, no screens etc. That's before I even start the bedtime routine. Maybe something like that would help?

I also have a spaniel so maybe I've learnt that way grin

Janek Sun 01-Jan-17 09:49:21

That's really interesting fatedestiny, and really good advice, i think.

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