6 year old insomnia then tantrums(3 Posts)
We are really struggling with our 6-year-old at the moment. She has always been tricky to get to sleep and has been 'needy' in terms of being 'looked after' at bed time.
Initially she had to have one of us in the room to get her to go to sleep. This was slowly withdrawn as we went to the next door room to 'tidy up' but said we would check on her every ~ 5 minutes.
This worked well until recently. She would get to sleep but then wake up 10 minutes later, after which the '5 minute checks' had ceased as we knew she was asleep. With no 5 minute checks she would then start crying, claiming that we were not checking her!
The waking after 10 minutess then means she is not sleep and after several hours of trying all the usual reading a bit, up for a bit of a change of scene etc, comfortable surroundings, she eventually succumbs and falls asleep exhausted.
The act of going in every 5 minutes tended to wake her up and so we discussed it and said we would not longer do it (it had to happen at some point). This was agreed and we said we would still be upstairs by her room in case of any separation axiety.
This went well for a few nights and she managed to get herself to sleep no problems. Howeverm every no and then, she cant get herself to sleep. WE are refusing to go in and she then starts to scream. She then screams solidly for half an hour and eventually comes downstairs. We are playing the hard ball at the moment but it doesn’t appear to be working. Each time she goes back upstairs, we try and settle her but it doesn’t last long and she is up again.
The screaming is pretty unbearable and we are approaching wits end! We just need to find a way to get her settled and stop her thinking about going to sleep which is what is causing the problem. Any suggestions?!!
Ooh that sounds tiresome! No advice but sympathies til someone helpful comes along!
Could you leave her door open when she goes to bed?
I would go back to the checks but make the checks just a peer in the doorway and look in the room.
She needs to trust you that you will stay upstairs until she is asleep. If she's waking 10 minutes after you are downstairs, she wasn't asleep. She'd just relaxed and trusted you enough to close her eyes. In her mind, she now cannot let herself relax and close her eyes because as soon as she does that, you will go.
So firstly you need to rebuild that trust. You'll get no where if she's anxious about even closing her eyes and relaxing. If she knows you'll stay until she is properly, fully asleep, she will not need to delay relaxing and closing her eyes.
Once that trust is built up, then begin to gradually withdraw the reassurance she needs. For example:
- make the first check after 5 minutes then subsequent checks every 8 minutes.
- Once that is accepted (a week or so) do a 5 min check then checks every 10 minutes. Give that a week.
- then do a week of a 5 minute check and checks every 15 minutes. You'll probably only need 2 or 3 checks.
Gradually over time withdraw how much reassurance she needs.
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