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5 years old sleep problems since DP & I split

(10 Posts)
Penguin82 Wed 17-May-17 01:20:47

My just turned 5 yr old dd has always slept well. Self settled, happy in own bed etc.
Ex dp and I started having problems around Xmas and dd general behaviour and her sleep deteriorated wirh her wanting in our (then mine, after the split) bed.
Tried being firm, removing treats, star charts etc and of course I've been spending lots of time with her to rmeet to make her feel more secure. A couple months ago dd and I moved house and her contact with her dad was in track. Sleeping problems got better.
3 weeks ago ex dp stopped wanting to see dd again. Her sleep regressed and she started coming into my bed again. I tried being firm but just ended up with 1-2 hour battles in the middle of each night.
In desperation I contacted the local mentalent health nurse. She said that dd probably needs to feel secure and that I should let her come into my bed in the night if she wants.
I hate Co sleeping. Only have a double where we rent and I don't sleep well with a wriggly child next to me. Plus in the last week or so she's gone from crawling in during the night, to wanting to just start the night in my bed, and finally wanting me to stay with her while she goes to sleep. Feels like things are getting worse not better.
Selfishly I also feel like I am now not only having to do it all on my own but also have now lost the sanctuary of having my own bed. Is there any other way?

FATEdestiny Wed 17-May-17 10:13:06

Thing is, you can't make her feel secure.
You can't force her not to feel insecure
You can't rush her.
Or stealth sneek her into feeling more secure without her realising.

I know you are probably finding it really hard right now. Just as you selfishly want the bed to yourself, she selfishly doesn't want to be alone at night. So who has more "right" to be selfish? You've gone through a lot of heartache, she is a child and needs you to feel comforted.

Are there any compromises? How about a camp bed for her on your floor? Or a pool noodle under the fitted sheet of your bed down the middle, defining your own space.

I would say that the quickest way to rebuild her security and get her back to feeling confident enough to stay in her own bed all night wiyod be to embrace cosleeping. Give her every bit of comfort and reassurance she needs, from beginning to end of the night. Stop the battle.

Work on getting her into her own bed only when she's feeling more secure.

Penguin82 Wed 17-May-17 12:06:09

Yes I'm not sure I have any choice. Although I'll never 'embrace' cosleeping. I am just concerned that every time I get her back on track and ex picks up and drops contact (he is likely to piss about like this for some time) I'll be back to square 1.
Interestingly, dd loves sleepovers and when she goes on one is fine and seemingly doesn't miss me at all!

FATEdestiny Wed 17-May-17 12:13:49

How about looking at it from another angle? Confidence doesn't only come from parental reassurance (although that is a big part).

Give her more independence day to day, trust her more, give her more of a 'big girl' role. Get her trying new things, challenge her to do something she finds scary (climbing, archery, build a fire). Be uber proud of her achievements, make her feel clever, smart, beautiful, sporty, creative, a winner. Call out her lovely qualities - kind, sensitive, good friend, sensible...

All those other ways to develop confidence and self-assurance.

DorotheaHomeAlone Wed 17-May-17 12:13:52

I agree with FATE. She's had a horrible shock. Her whole world has been turned on it's head. Someone she trusted to always be there has left her. How can she trust you won't leave as well? I'd be giving her whatever she needs to feel secure for now.

Penguin82 Wed 17-May-17 12:32:52

All good ideas fate. She does sone activities and recently too another one up. In a few weeks we go on a long holiday together so she'll try lots of new things there.
I'm just concerned that what is starting out as just needing a bit of reassurance will turn into a bad habit that we can't break. A friend of mine had terrible problems getting her ds to sleep alone and I'm not sure he's much better now (he's 9).

TheLittleMe Wed 17-May-17 21:04:06

Penguin we are going through very similar, although my daughter does have ASD. Always an amazing sleeper, but a holiday long haul at Easter disrupted her everything. We too tried the back to bed all night, but it honestly just made things way worse.

What we do now is she goes to bed in her own bed happily at 7.30, with her door open a crack and the landing light on. When we go to bed we put a little nest on the floor next to our bed, and turn the hall light off. She knows that if she wakes up in the night time and the landing light is off, she is allowed into the nest in our room. If she gets up before the landing light is off she is taken straight back to bed, if she does it again we shut her door (and hold it shut for 10 seconds). She hates this, so is happy to stay in her bed to avoid the door shutting. We also tell her that she has a choice every night if she wakes up and the landing light is off - she can stay in her bed all night and get a present of her choice, or she can sleep in the nest. She chooses the nest every night for the last month.

I too did not want to co sleep as my bed is the one place I have to myself, but this is a happy medium. She gets to feel secure and we still get our space.

refusetobeasheep Wed 17-May-17 21:20:02

When my DD is with her dad, they go to bed at the same time and sleep together (yep, he has no life). With me I have held the line and she has to go to sleep in her own bed ... but I do let her come through in the night (which she always does). I wear ear plugs and have used pillows between us before!
I'd say at least hold the line on going to sleep in own bed but maybe allow her the comfort of joining you?

Penguin82 Wed 17-May-17 22:32:19

I just want the stress and upset to stop for both our sakes. Last night I did as a friend suggested and put her in her own bed after she'd fallen asleep. She woke in night and wandered through really upset. Will keep encouraging her to sleep in own bed but now she's gone to sleep in mine a couple times I think it'll be really hard.

Penguin82 Wed 17-May-17 22:33:25

When we buy a house I'm going to get her bunk beds. Hopefully that'll be a novelty and help change her habits (she really wants bunk beds!). Wouldn't be for a few months though.

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