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10-yr old who won't sleep

(38 Posts)
MrsWhirly Sat 04-Nov-17 05:29:08

My 10yr old DD hasn't slept on her own since she was three. I haven't had one evening to myself for 7-yrs.

She point blank refuses to sleep in her own bed, but will also not go to sleep unless I am lying next to her, which means after working all day, I make dinner/lunches/load dishwasher and in bed with her and DS 4yrs at 8-9pm.

Even when she does sleep in my bed she often wakes in the night saying she had a bad dream, wants the Asthma pump or needs me to take her to the toilet.

Today I have been awake since about 3am with this. I'm ashamed at about 4am I lost the plot and dragged her whilst she screamed into her room and threatened her if she got up. As soon as I dozed off, she was back trying to creep into my bed.

My DH often sleeps on the sofa because of this. We have zero time together and now my 4-yr old who was previously a good sleeper has began to say he is scared of the dark/his own bed etc.

I really am at breaking point with this. I work full time in a demanding job and the lack of sleep is giving me palpitations. Also I am starting to massively resent my DD for the fact I don't get any time to do anything in the evenings.

Please help!

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 04-Nov-17 05:33:02

Are there any SEN. And what happened at 3yo?

MrsWhirly Sat 04-Nov-17 05:38:19

Hi - No SEN. Nothing at three apart from our first family holiday, so 10 days of sleeping in the same room as us. Also told (she says) a scary story that has remained with her.

I do believe she is frightened, she won't even use the toilet upstairs alone in the day time, but nothing is working.

CluelessMummy Sat 04-Nov-17 05:51:17

10 is old enough to understand that Mummy isn't happy about this situation and it has to stop. Can you try dangling some kind of reward if she does a whole night in her bed, then (further down the line) if she does a week she gets something special, ie a day/treat out somewhere? It might also be good to point out that she is setting an example now for DC2 - get her on board with being the big, confident sister?

MrsWhirly Sat 04-Nov-17 06:43:20

Honestly, we have tried everything. She wanted her room decorated so we said we would if she started sleeping in it. She agrees in the day but when night time comes she will say she doesn't want any reward and will give it all up because she is scared.

She definitely knows I/we are unhappy. I was very cross at 4am and she has seen me and DH argue and fall out over it also.

scurryfunge Sat 04-Nov-17 06:54:28

What is it specifically she is scared of? Talk that through with her to eliminate any reason to be scared. Is something happening at school?

MrsWhirly Sat 04-Nov-17 07:13:26

She's scared of Chucky and Bloody Mary and general ghosts and ghouls. She was told about both at school and once shown a pic of Chucky on her friends iPad.

We have talked through these a lot. She attends drama and filmmaking so understands these are not real, but is still terrified .

MrsWhirly Sat 04-Nov-17 07:14:45

She does also suffer from a lot of nightmares and has recently been dreaming abou war. So we've been talking about it and reasurring her.

scurryfunge Sat 04-Nov-17 10:15:27

What about her diet and exercise. Children that age should be tired enough to go to sleep. She's got into a dreadful habit and you both need to be firm about it. If you and DH are arguing then are you both giving the same message? Or is he just giving in desperate for sleep also? If she sees the division then it will continue to be a battle that she always wins.
Is she prepared to go without the drama class/ film making if she doesn't comply?

MrsWhirly Sat 04-Nov-17 10:48:35

Her diet is ok as far as what we cook and eat at home but she overdoes it with the sweets I think, so will stamping them. She would forgoe anything to be honest.

pinkliquorice Sat 04-Nov-17 10:53:59

I often let my 9 year old Dd fall asleep in my bed or on the sofa with me if she is having trouble getting to sleep then I just carry her to her own bed.
Can you not try that or laying with her in her bed until she falls asleep to begin with.
Also get her a nightlight( my Dd has pink glow in the dark stars on her ceiling and a lava glow lamp), new pyjamas and new duvet set to encourage her to get in her own bed,
Take it slowly and don’t rush her into staying in her own bed all night straight away, use little steps and try not to show her you are angry or frustrated.

MrsWhirly Sat 04-Nov-17 10:59:27

I can't pick her up! She's as tall as me (I'm small) I used to lay on her bed with her but she refused to go to sleep, forcibly keeping her eyes open because she knows I will leave. That also meant I was spending hours in her room laying in the dark, falling asleep- only for her to wake up an hour or so later to come downstairs or get in my bed!

pinkliquorice Sat 04-Nov-17 11:04:57

It might be worth taking her to a doctor or something to talk about her nightmares and difficulty sleeping, they may be really helpful and have good suggestions but even if their not just talking with a professional about it might make her realise that it’s not normal and she needs to work with you to sort it out.
Has she never had a sleepover or residential trip?

MrsWhirly Sat 04-Nov-17 11:48:42

I think you're right and will take her to my GP. No residential trips or sleepovers so far. She wanted to go on a school last year but I said unless she slept in her room she couldn't go. She wouldn't sleep in her room so didn't go.

crazycatlady5 Sat 04-Nov-17 12:08:44

Gosh that must be so very difficult for you. Sending good vibes if nothing else. Definitely the doctor, perhaps they’ll prescribe a short dose of melatonin or phenergen (antihistamine that makes you sleepy - very safe) and you can stay with her till she drops off then maybe she’ll get into a better routine and a more healthy view of bedtime? Also, I guess she might be too old but look into ‘the rabbit that wants to go to sleep’ audiobook, it used hypnosis xx

MrsWhirly Sat 04-Nov-17 15:02:05

It's incredibly hard. I really feel at my wits end. I am so tired today that I haven't been able to do anything we planned.

Crumbs1 Sat 04-Nov-17 15:05:37

Put a lock on your bedroom door.
Shouting at her won’t have done any harm and might have done some good.
Tell her very firmly to go up to bed at x time and mean it. Turn off internet at that time. Give her a book to read and allow her to have it until she settles.
Every time she comes to your bed take her back to her own.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 04-Nov-17 15:06:03

Does she get enough tiring exercise? Swimming I find really good for knackering them out.

Scruffette Sat 04-Nov-17 15:07:34

I had similar with my dd but she started improving at 10. I used a book called "what to do when you worry too much" for her as it was general anxiety all day too. I see the same publishers have a book about being afraid to go to bed so I would think that might be worth a try. They are on amazon. Prior to the book I had been to the GP, therapy, tried rewards and so on. My dd's anxiety was triggered by a traumatic event but even knowing what that was didn't seem to be any help to us.

Ikillpotplants Sat 04-Nov-17 15:15:01

I really feel for both you and your DD. It sounds like she has anxiety issues around sleeping (though even if you understand the reason it doesn’t make the behaviour any less draining to deal with! Speaking from experience with DD). Would it be worth using techniques that work with anxiety? Your GP could advise on this. You can buy relaxation CDs for children. I personally wouldn’t say you can get X reward if you manage it because if she’s genuinely afraid it will take a while to get better and “failing” could be disheartening. Sometimes a soft toy that acts as a “protector” from baddies can help. I would tackle things gradually. Maybe start with getting her to initially fall asleep in own bed. Good luck!

crazycatlady5 Sat 04-Nov-17 16:09:25

Perhaps if you really talk to her about how you really want her to like her room and then go shopping for some new things for the bedroom? Fairy lights, cushions, other things that make the room a ‘safe’ zone. Can you change it dramatically from how it currently looks? Clutching at straws here sad

GraciesMansion Sat 04-Nov-17 16:15:37

She’s obviously very anxious about being alone but sometimes our behaviour reinforces to children that there’s something to be worried about. By never insisting that she is alone in her room, the message she’s getting is that there’s something to be worried about. And it’s gone on such a long time now that the message is really entrenched.

Have a look at ‘Starving the Anxiety Gremlin’. It’s a short programme that teaches children about managing their anxiety. It might be a good starting point.

Turquoisesea Sat 04-Nov-17 16:27:39

I have had similar in the past with my DD (9). I used to have to sit in her room till she fell asleep & spent the first 3 or so years of her life practically sleeping on a mattress on her bedroom floor. She is also very anxious & petrified of burglars coming into the house. She would regularly wake up in the night & cry & she was genuinely petrified. Things are slightly better now in that she will go to bed in her own room although she wants me to be upstairs (I’m normally just sitting on my bed watching tv, mumsnetting etc) but she wants my DH to be downstairs in case a burglar comes in! She normally drops off fairly quickly but will always wake up in the night. What we have done now is put a put up bed in our room and when she wakes in the night she comes in & gets in & goes straight to sleep. Most nights I don’t even hear her & she’s just there when I wake up. Not ideal, but I couldn’t sleep if she was in the bed with me & this way we all get a good nights sleep & she doesn’t wake up my DS. It’s really hard as before we got her the put up bed I was getting up to her several times in the night & was exhausted. Good luck

Fattymcfaterson Sat 04-Nov-17 16:29:38

Get her a double bed, and sleep with her in her own room.
Might be a start?

Scootergrrrl Sat 04-Nov-17 16:36:14

Is she genuinely really scared, or is she being a little bugger? Only you can really make that call and the answer will affect how you deal with her. Which do you think it is?

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