7 year old not sleeping

(14 Posts)
BJ1027 Wed 29-Apr-20 07:45:04

Hello, I have seen many posts on here about younger children, but not about any older than toddler age so I thought I would put this out there. My husband and I are about to lose our minds. We have a 7 year-old and a 2 year-old, and our younger child puts himself to sleep every night without issue. Our older child, however, takes hours to fall asleep, and when she finally does, she wakes every 2 hours or so and comes into our bedroom to wake us up wanting to sleep in our bed with us. She is just simply too big (size and age) to be sleeping in our bed every night. It is impossible for us (and our child) to get a good nights' sleep with this happening every single night, as it happens every 2 hours until sunrise. I don't know how she is functioning with so little sleep. She doesn't cry or throw fits, she just constantly gets out of her bed. We have tried everything the 'experts' suggested, like no TV or tablet after dinnertime, giving her a bath before bed, reading stories right before bedtime, and she certainly does not take naps during the day... We have tried ALL of it and nothing works. She still gets up non-stop throughout the night, every night. I cannot sleep knowing she could get up in the middle of the night and roam the house, and if we don't allow her to sleep in our bed she just sits on her bed for hours staring into our bedroom, not even trying to go to sleep. We cannot take it anymore. She is too old to be doing this, in my opinion. Every article I read on the subject is for toddlers. She will be 8 this summer. We have tried calmly tucking her back into bed, and she still gets up and comes to our room the minute I get back in my bed. I hate to say it but I have gotten so frustrated that I have screamed until my throat was sore. I am just so frustrated by this, and our pediatrician doesn't even have any answers. She just tells us "no electronics before bed"... We know! We don't allow her to have electronics after 4:00 p.m., and bedtime is at 9:30. I am sorry this post is so long but I am just at my wits end. This is a nightmare. My husband and I cannot stand being woken every 2 hours, every single night. It is ridiculous and has to stop. She has no other behavioral problems, she is a wonderful child, and during the day everything is great. She just will not stay in her bed at night.
We thought she was afraid of the dark, so we got her a small projector light that puts starts on the ceiling along with a small nightlight plugged into her wall. It doesn't help. Nothing helps. If anyone can offer any suggestions, please, please help me.

OP’s posts: |
BJ1027 Wed 29-Apr-20 07:57:15

I forgot to add that we also tried implementing a reward system for her. We tried doing a sticker chart, and every night she stayed in her own bed throughout the night she was supposed to receive a sticker and after she reached 5 stickers she could get a new toy or something she wanted. We didn't even make it to 1 sticker. She never got one. She never stayed in her own bed all night for even 1 night. She doesn't complain of monsters or being scared or anything. We simply have no idea what is going on.

OP’s posts: |
DonLewis Wed 29-Apr-20 08:04:22

Ah, poor thing.

Have you wormed her? Worms can cause repeated night waking.
And 930 bedtime is late. My 7 year old goes between 7 and 8. I don't have the best sleeper (he's also 7!) never slept as a baby either.

A good bedtime routine that doesn't change is a good place to start. Lots of reassurance, calming stories or music. Have you tried an audio book on low for getting her to sleep?

You could redecorate her bedroom. Make it super special. New bedding maybe? Is she the right temperature? Is the lighting right?

Could you put a mattress of some kind on your floor so if she does wake she can sleep next to you but not in your bed?

Whatever you're doing now. Stop. Try something completely different. You could try earlier to he'd, later to bed, you could try music instead of stories, stories instead of music. I think part of it is breaking her habit and routine, but the adults need to help her with that.

I know it's frustrating, but try total love instead, even when you want to scream. Tell her it's OK and you're there to help. That you understand.

DonLewis Wed 29-Apr-20 08:05:53

It sounds contradictory what I mean is try some thing completely different to what you're doing now and stick with it. So that the new routine breaks the current habit and that new routine becomes the thing that you stick with. Iyswim?

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Wed 29-Apr-20 08:08:33

She isn’t too ‘old’

My dd has terrible time sleeping on her own. Just scared all the time. Some kids are more anxious than others. We even had CAMH’s in. Nothing made any difference.

What did make a huge difference was putting a bed in our room for her. She slept in it every night until she was nearly 13. Then took herself off to her own room.

FairlowWonder Wed 29-Apr-20 08:11:52

Poor little love. If you’ve been screaming at her then I imagine anxiety is at play here. I would start be putting her mattress by your bed at night and seeing if you can get her to sleep through on that. Then gradually move the mattress towards the door over a period of a few months. Don’t rush it, make sure she’s comfortable at each stage. Then when the move to her room is ready sleep on the floor in her room whilst she’s in her room and then work or getting yourself back into your room.

Gtugccbjb Wed 29-Apr-20 08:13:12

Can’t you just accept that that’s how she feels? She wants you and needs you for some reason at the moment. So give you’re “wonderful” child some recognition and tell her you’ll be there for her. Get in her bed or get a bigger bed. Make some sacrifices and make her feel safe. Stop working on the president of how others behave and do things that make your house nice with no screaming shouting and stressing. People make life so bloody hard trying to live the “correct “ way.

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Scruffyoak Wed 29-Apr-20 08:14:35

We ended up getting a bigger bed. This gave her the confidence and broke the habit of her waking....now she is in her own bed. X

bettybyebye Wed 29-Apr-20 08:15:37

Ah poor thing - has she always been like this or is it just since lockdown? I also have a 7 year old who is not a great sleeper, but he is an anxious child and has long had problems. He goes to sleep in his bed but will always come through to our bed at some point during the night. We let him get in our bed and one of us goes and gets in his bed. Not ideal but at least we are all sleeping this way. I would obviously much rather he stayed in his own bed but I figure he won’t be doing this forever. Some children just need the extra reassurance at night time (whereas my 4yo is fine in her own bed all night).
I’d also agree that 9.30pm is a late bedtime for a 7yo, she is probably very overtired which won’t help.

BJ1027 Wed 29-Apr-20 22:52:55

Thanks for your replies. It looks like @FairlowWonder is under the impression that I scream at my child every night, and that is not at all what I said. I did not say I screamed AT her, it was actually to myself in my closet in frustration. This is not an 'angry' household. We are having some sleep struggles like everyone else does at some point. I can't imagine there is a parent on Earth who has never experienced anger before... Anyway, we have decided to put a twin bed in our room for her. Set a bed up for her next to ours temporarily, because that is not an ideal situation for anyone long-term. Thanks for the positive replies, and some advice was helpful. Others seemed kind of judgemental but this IS the internet, after all lol. @Gtugccbjb I just wanted to congratulate you on your perfection, you obviously know all and make no mistakes ever! I am so happy for you! Unfortunately, you should probably learn to read a little better, as I at NO POINT in my post said our household is full of screaming, shouting or stressing. I lost my temper once and screamed in my closet. My child was not even around at the time, but I honestly didn't feel the need to elaborate because I didn't expect to be attacked for something so insignificant. Our household is very loving and happy, and like I said (which, I guess you forgot, or maybe you just wanted to attack someone since your sound miserable yourself) everything is great during the day. But anyway, this will pass. I just wanted to connect with other moms who may be feeling the same way but it appears some of you only want to be nasty. Oh, well! Thanks to the lovely people who replied like a decent human being! smile

OP’s posts: |
TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Thu 30-Apr-20 09:45:03

She will be fine with you in your room.

I remember CAHMs telling us that we had to get her to sleep on her own in her own room. We were all white with exhaustion all the time.

Then we ignored them and put the bed in our room. Peace and tranquility descended on the house again. Everyone slept😴 Oh the terrible warnings that she would never leave,

She went around her 13th birthday. And you know what? I miss her! Even though I’m pleased for her, l kind of miss her.

Bollards21 Thu 30-Apr-20 23:23:00

Have you tried making Dreamland more interesting than your bedroom...honestly it works www.sleepmastereurope.com/good-dream-store

FairlowWonder Sat 02-May-20 22:13:24

@BJ1027 I’m sorry I didn’t mean to come across as judgemental. I meant she’s probably anxious because she knows it’s affecting you so can make things worse. I have screamed with my kids around before, We are human and parenting is difficult! My eldest is an anxious child at at 11 still comes in to us occasionally. She was regularly coming in at 7 and we made the decision to make a bed on the floor so she could come in without waking us.

I hope the bed works for you, fingers crossed for some sleep.

paediatrician321 Sun 17-Jan-21 17:09:19

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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