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Almost 5 year old suddenly hysterical

(25 Posts)
TheLittleMe Mon 17-Apr-17 09:30:35

My daughter has always been a brilliant sleeper. 3 weeks ago she learnt how to open her bedroom door which was fine, she came into our room in the morning (she has ASD).

We then went to Florida for 2 weeks. Her sleep there was awful, not wanting to go to bed, getting up in the night, getting up at 5am.

We got back yesterday and bought her a Gro clock. She was really excited to stay in bed until the sun came out. She has bad jet lag so went to bed at 5.30. From 11.30pm - 1am she screamed and got out of bed. Nothing would stop her, she was in full melt down mode. In the end I gave her some calpol and allowed her to have her door open and the hall light on.

Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with these night meltdowns? I understand that she is unsettled from her holiday, and will implement a sticker chart to reward staying in her bed.

FATEdestiny Mon 17-Apr-17 09:45:01

Given the recent upheaval of the holiday, I'd give her a week or so to settle into being home first.

She needs time to get over the jet lag. She needs time to get over the over-tiredness. She needs time to get used to being home and back to normal.

So for the next week or do, I'd just do everything you can to help her sleep.

Let her sleep with you, or you cudfke her on her bed. Try to get her sleep timings back to normal after the jet lag. Just be gentle and kind with her, without trying to "solve" anything.

Give it until next weekend. Maybe even the following weekend after that. So she has time to be fully back to normal. Then reassess the situation at that point.

TheLittleMe Mon 17-Apr-17 20:47:54

Thanks for the advice.

The trouble is, she just runs out of her room the second we leave her. Tonight she screamed until hoarse for 1.5 hours. She has huge anxiety problems and it seeems that the holiday has caused this to manifest in sleep issues. I'm just at my wits end sad

FATEdestiny Mon 17-Apr-17 21:05:29

Is there a reason you can't stay in her room, cudflibg her next to the bed, until she is fully asleep?

FATEdestiny Mon 17-Apr-17 21:05:42


ButteredCrumpetNow Mon 17-Apr-17 21:11:10

I have ASD dd 7 with sleep issues. Triggers for her are going back to school after holiday (ie tonight) so I got her a double bed and sleep next to her when she's really anxious, its the only way to minimise the melt downs.

user1487947495 Mon 17-Apr-17 21:15:56

Jetlag and lack of sleep makes me almost hysterical. I cannot understand why you would subject a 5 year old with ASD to it.

TheLittleMe Mon 17-Apr-17 21:27:26

Sorry, User, subject her to what?

I am scared that anything I do now may form habits for her, e.g. Having her in my bed/ cuddling her until she is asleep. I have an extremely demanding job and just cannot have her sleeping in my room, it would be a nightmare. I was just looking for some help as this is all new for us

Sittinginthesun Mon 17-Apr-17 21:35:55

When ds1 was younger, I reckon it took 6 weeks to get him back into a sleep routine after a 2 week holiday (and that was in Europe). He always was a bad sleeper. DS2 would take 24 hours!

I used to sit in his room, in the dark until he dropped off. The alternative is to sleep with her.

FATEdestiny Mon 17-Apr-17 21:54:23

I am scared that anything I do now may form habits for her

I think not staying with her for reassurance will cause much greater long term sleep issues, in your doecific situation.

I'd give 2 weeks to doing everything she needs. So sitting on floor by the bed, cuddling until fully asleep and not leaving until unconscious.

Then reassess after 2 weeks, see how she's doing. Maybe sit next to the bed still, but face away from her and go on your phone, staying until asleep.

Then after another week, start standing by the bed, but stay until asleep.

Then busy yourself in her room as she goes to sleep. Put clothes away, tidy up.

Then have a week of busting yourself upstairs, in and out of her room. And so on...

thatorchidmoment Mon 17-Apr-17 22:05:11

I know it's quite likely that the change in routine has triggered this, but I just thought it worth mentioning that my DS at the age of 3 suddenly had disturbed sleep and would become inconsolable for no apparent reason. After a couple of weeks, we realised that he had threadworms, which tend to become bothersome at night. Once treated, he was back to normal sleeping. I have a friend whose daughter would scream inconsolably at bedtime and it was indeed threadworms again.

I realise we both have neurotypical children, so our situations are a little different. It's such a common thing though, I thought it would be worth checking for (peep at the anus during the night if you can manage, as that's when the little white worms come out to lay eggs. They are itchy at night so cause sleep disturbance).

TheLittleMe Mon 17-Apr-17 22:28:55

Thank you all.

She has woken and has been inconsolable since 10. Will check for threadworms. Last resort I suppose will be she sleeps in our bed, but I am so loathed to do this as my bed is my one place where I have relief from the demands of looking after her.

FATEdestiny Mon 17-Apr-17 22:31:52

I wouldn't have her in your bed. That will be difficult to go back from.

I would sit in her room, next to her until she goes to sleep in her bed. I wouldn't stay all night. Just until she was asleep.

TheLittleMe Mon 17-Apr-17 22:34:38

Thanks fate. I will try. She is waking several times a night though, I will have to basically sit on her floor all night sad

TheLittleMe Tue 18-Apr-17 06:00:45

So she woke at 10 and was screaming and hysterical until 11.15. I sat on her floor stroking her arm and she slept until 12.15. Sat on the floor stroking until 1, she woke again at 1.45am. Stroking until 2.30 and after several meltdowns she slept until 5am. That was absolutely awful and the only time I slept was between 2.30 and 5.

FATEdestiny Tue 18-Apr-17 10:17:07

How about putting a mattress for yourself on the floor of her room?

TheLittleMe Tue 18-Apr-17 12:15:51

Thank you. I will try that tonight as I am losing my marbles with tiredness

user1487947495 Tue 18-Apr-17 17:28:42

I suspect you will just have to let the jetlag run its course, which may take 2 weeks or more. Maybe plenty of physical exercise in the afternoon/evening will tire her enough to help her sleep better. Melatonin is sometimes prescribed for children with sleep disorders, may be worth asking GP - if can get an appointment.

TheLittleMe Thu 20-Apr-17 04:40:39

So last night we put her to bed at 8, with me sitting outside her room back to the door and she fell straight asleep. Slept until 12.30 when she woke up crying. My husband put the air bed on the landing and told her he was sleeping there, she went back to sleep. She woke up at 4am screaming and is still getting out of bed and screaming now. She must've been put back into bed 40 times. Does anyone have any advice?

endofthelinefinally Thu 20-Apr-17 05:36:27

We had a nest made from a duvet and pillows on our bedroom floor.
Anyone who had a nightmare or felt a bit lonely could come in and sleep in it as long as they were quiet. It worked well for us. Our Dc are NT though so not sure whether this would work for you.
5 is very young.
I wouldnt worry about bad habits. It is much more important to respond to her distress so that she feels secure. If you dont she is more likely to have ongoing issues.

TheLittleMe Thu 20-Apr-17 08:11:29

If i sit on her floor so she can see me every time she wakes will that not encourage her to cry and wake more as I will have become a cue that she needs to go to sleep?

PenelopeChipShop Mon 24-Apr-17 22:09:21

Crikey she sounds very distressed and you must be knackered. I would lay on the bed and sleep with her until she is no longer upset. Then do a kind of gradual withdrawal programme, from bed to mattress on floor, then outside the door, then your own room. She needs reassurance and you need some sleep until this is sorted!

TheLittleMe Tue 25-Apr-17 06:40:03

Thanks. Yes I am. Our new 'normal' goes like this:
Bedtime routine, nice and calming
Asleep in own bed with me sitting with my back to the door
She wakes up between 10 and 11.30 crying, I settle her and sit on her bed until back asleep
I creep out
Within 10 mins she is back crying and me back sitting on her bed with her taking up to an hour to appear sleepy
I let her sleep on nest on my floor made of duvets and blankets
She sleeps but gets up a couple of random times for reassurance but straight back to bed

I'm hoping that her anxiety will calm over the next few weeks and she may sleep for longer stretches in her bed?

TheLittleMe Tue 02-May-17 20:02:41

So we are still struggling. No improvements, apart from I no longer sit outside her room when she goes to bed, she goes to sleep by herself (after coming out of her room crying a couple of times)

The trouble is, she goes to sleep at 7.30 but has started waking and coming out of her room by 10pm. Last night I put her back to bed and she slept until 11.30, but then was getting up every 20 mins crying until 12.30 when she would not go back in her room so I let her sleep on a nest on the floor of my bedroom.

Does anyone have any advice?

FATEdestiny Tue 02-May-17 21:40:23

She sounds very scared and anxious.

I would sleep with her. Either you in her room or her in your room.

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