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5yo DD’s sleeping woes

(16 Posts)
CoffeeChocolateWine Mon 12-Mar-18 10:05:14

I’ve posted a few times over the past few years about my daughter and her sleeping problems. They started from when she was a newborn and we still have problems...she is going on 6 now.

In a nutshell, it seems she would rather do anything other than sleep. Bedtime is a nightmare every single night and I am so fed up with ending the day by shouting at her to go to bed and go to sleep. She doesn’t stay in bed, she messes around getting all her toys and books out, goes into her older brother’s room and keeps him up (he would go to sleep given the opportunity), comes downstairs to say she’s hot/cold/hungry/thirsty/not tired and despite our multiple calm efforts to settle her, she only finally goes to bed after we have lost the plot with her or threaten her in some way (as in threaten that she won’t be able to do something or go somewhere if she doesn’t go to bed). I would say her average time of finally falling asleep is 10.30 after going to bed at about 7.30-8ish.

When we talk to her about it she always says she doesn’t like sleeping, she doesn’t feel tired (she is), she’s scared of the dark (I honestly don’t think this is the case...she doesn’t seem scared and we’ve tried night lights and leaving lights in the hallway on and it makes no difference), she doesn’t like being alone (she has her own room but often ends up sleeping in her brother’s bed or ours but she is very restless and it impacts on our/his sleep when she does this so I really want to find a way to keep her in her own bed). She has lots of cuddly toys but not a ‘special’ one that comforts her and when I suggest she chooses a toy to keep her company she says she wants a person not a toy. My DH made a comment the other day that it’s not just that she doesn’t like being alone, but she really loves contact with another person but we can’t give her that. She sometimes falls asleep with a jumper of mine but it doesn’t always help.

I often wonder if it would help if my kids shared a room but I worry that it will have a detrimental effect on my DS’s sleep. Plus he’s 9.5 years old so if they did share for a bit, it won’t be long until he needs his own space and privacy. I’m also pregnant with DC3 and I really do worry about having my DD to settle at night as well as a baby. I also worry that my DD’s faffing around at bedtime will keep waking the baby. I want to help her just be able to go to sleep in the evening but I’m at a loss to know how. She has a bath each evening, has a story, has a cuddle, I’ve tried lavender drops buts nothing seems to help, no matter how tired she is or so even if she’s ill. She can’t seem to switch her brain off.

Sorry for the very long post but I’m wondering if anyone can relate to this and what helped, any suggestions? I keep wondering if there is something that could replicate human contact to comfort her without us actually having to get into bed with her!

On a separate issue, she is a snorer and always has what point do I need to take her to the doctor about this? I don’t want her growing up into an adult that snores terribly! Will she grow out of it or does she need help?

Many thanks for reading (if you got to the end!)

CoffeeChocolateWine Mon 12-Mar-18 16:56:07


crazycatlady5 Tue 13-Mar-18 12:06:00

It may be an unpopular opinion but have you ever just tried letting her go to bed when she is ready for a while? Some children do just need less sleep I’m a firm believer of that. Tell her she needs to have quiet time with books etc from 7.30, then just let it happen naturally? Also have you tried the audiobook the rabbit that wanted to go to sleep?

CoffeeChocolateWine Tue 13-Mar-18 17:22:38

Thank you for replying. I will look into the audio book as she does love listening to stories.

To a certain extent we do resort to just letting her have a bit of time reading before bed, but the problem is that it is NEVER quiet time. She doesn’t just stay in her room reading...she gets up, goes into her brother’s room, gets all her toys out, comes downstairs and generally messes around.

One thing she has said before that I didn’t write above is that there are too many things to play with in her room and that is always more appealing than sleep! She probably has a point...she has a bookcase and all her toys are in her room and it all comes out at bedtime! I would love to thin it out a bit but there isn’t an alternative place to put her stuff! We have a small play area downstairs but there isn’t any more storage space for more toys.

I do agree that some children need less sleep and I think she definitely needs less than my DS despite him being older, but she is tired most days and it’s also the impact it has on everyone else. She keeps my son up and my DH and I never feel like we get a proper evening as she’s always up and down the stairs till 10.30. I’m also pregnant with number 3 (due at the end of May) so I need my evening to rest. I also get so sick of peeking in her room to find not a single bit of carpet because all the contents of her room are on the floor and then it’s usually me who has to put it all away the next day. I just get exhausted by it all.

crazycatlady5 Tue 13-Mar-18 17:33:05

I totally understand and sympathise sad try the audiobook, tell her you need to lie down and relax to listen to it, maybe lie with her. You can get the audiobook or the actual book, I know people swear by it. Good luck

User14567891 Sun 18-Mar-18 17:27:15

Your OP could be written about my son. He’s 5 too. He also has night terrors. ☹️
I get into his bed with him and stay until he’s asleep. I know it’s not ideal but it’s literally the only thing that makes him go to sleep.
Sorry, I know that’s not helpful but at least you are not alone!

CoffeeChocolateWine Mon 19-Mar-18 10:19:23

Thanks’re right, it is good to know I’m not alone. Last week was such hard work...DH was away with work and DD had a heavy cold followed by a sickness bug along with all the usual nonsense at bedtime. Even when she’s ill it makes no difference! I lost count of the number of times I was heaving my 30 week bump up and down those stairs...exhausting doesn’t come close!

I do often lie with her in bed but she finds it one big game and chats, wriggles and giggles for AGES! I usually give up before she falls asleep...she seems to get excited by it which is not the effect I’m going for!

She always says she doesn’t like being alone, we know she loves contact, but she also gets hyperactive when she’s with another person. I’m not sure how to tackle it!

Ragwort Mon 19-Mar-18 10:29:47

How strict are you? I know it's not popular on Mumsnet but sometimes you just have to be very tough. At 5 (nearly 6) she is old enough to understand the impact she is having on her brother and you, as a pregnant woman.

I had a friend who's DDs never slept - they were constantly up and down, went into the parents' room - this went on until early teens shock. Even the Dad admitted that his wife was just 'too soft'.

CoffeeChocolateWine Mon 19-Mar-18 14:11:01

I wouldn’t say I or DH are too soft, but not really strict either. It usually starts by us putting them to bed in a normal manner...after bath, they have a drink, we read a story to her (DS reads to himself), we have a cuddle and kiss her goodnight and tell her that she has to stay in bed...I even bribe her with marbles for marble jar (reward system) if she stays in bed but it never happens. We go downstairs and within moments we can hear that she is in her brother’s rooms either chatting to him or wanting to borrow something, or we’ll hear a voice saying she’s too hot/too cold, she’s finished her drink of water and can she have another one, or we’ll hear noises that suggest she’s getting toys out...there’s always something. So we go upstairs and get her back into bed again...then she’ll do something else. But she only ever finally listens to us when we are shouting or threatening her with something (usually after about 3 times of asking her calmly). That is never our first response though...I don’t want her going to bed in tears and she is quite a sensitive little girl. I just don’t get it...she looks tired to me - knackered even - but in her words “I don’t like sleeping”.

FATEdestiny Mon 19-Mar-18 14:52:29

Have you heard of Rapid Return? That's the best technique to use. It needs some commitment from you initially though. Primarily:

- Bring prepared to stay upstairs as long as it takes her to go to sleep. Every night for a couple of months probably (so this might need to be DP since you are heavily pg).

- Patience and the ability to stay completely calm throughout, no matter the provocation.

Next, understand the outcome you seek. Then your DD also has the clarity of what us expected. It is impossible to make someone sleep, so this is not your aim. Your aim should be: lie quietly on your bed. She will then no doubt get bored and go to sleep. But the point is that this is zll you expect - lie quietly on your bed. Right from going to bed through to morning she should lie quietly on her bed. You are nit insisting she sleeps. But you are insisting she lies on her bed and is quiet.

The basic premise is:

- Short bedtime routine, into bed, keep bedroom door open and promise you will stay upstairs until she is asleep. No reading in bed (story at bedtime, but sleep time is when she should be lying in bed quietly and doing nothing). No opportunity to do anything, just lie there.
- develop a mantra you repeat, something that encompasses your expectations into a simple sentence. "Sleep time now, we lie quietly in bed at sleep time. Nan night"
- hang around close to the door. Any movement from the bed or noise them immediately go to her (RAPID) and resettle her (RETURN). Resettle will be a quick flatten of covers, say mantra, kiss, leave without faffing.
- repeat a million times. Always stay calm.
- Refuse every request. To be confident in this you need to ensure she has all needs met at bedtime. Bottle of water by the bed, having had a wee, etc. Give in to nothing, she will probably try many distraction or deflection techniques. Stay calmly focused on the mantra at all times.
- don't vanish. She needs to know/trust you will stay upstairs and near her while settling. You need to do this anyway to maintain the rapid bit of Rapid Return. Get to her quickly to immediately return her to bed so she gets no opportunity to do anything else.

CoffeeChocolateWine Mon 19-Mar-18 17:51:41

Thanks for this FATE....I really appreciate you taking the time to explain this to me and I will absolutely give it a go. Will let you know how I get on!

HopelesslyHopeful87 Tue 20-Mar-18 16:12:48

I did rapid return with my ds when he was 3. Worked a treat. I really hope you get sorted. Sometimes you just have to be firm.

Nogodsnomasters Sat 24-Mar-18 22:03:01

Curious to know if you've tried this yet and how it's went.

CoffeeChocolateWine Mon 26-Mar-18 00:51:04

I must admit I haven’t yet as she has had a really rough trot with illness over the past couple of weeks and it didn’t seem fair to start this when she’s been feeling rubbish. Once she’s feeling better I intend to give it a try.

villainousbroodmare Mon 26-Mar-18 01:08:21

Memory foam topper and pillow to make her bed fabulously comfortable? DS and I stayed with a friend recently who had this and I've never seen such smiles and delighted wriggles at bedtime. Obv in conjunction with Fate's plan.

HPandBaconSandwiches Tue 10-Apr-18 12:28:26

I have little advice on sleep training, especially as I have a waking 4 year old too!

I did want to pick up on the snoring though. Have you watched her sleep to make sure she isn’t having any intermittent episodes of sleep apnoea? Stopping breathing (obstructed) for 10 seconds or more then suddenly starting again with a snorty grunty noise?

OSA is not uncommon in children, especially those who snore. It massively impacts on sleep and behaviour and in children can usually be treated effectively by adenotonsillectomy.

Please do have a check for this.

Otherwise, no advice just sympathy.

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