7-year-old "lonely" in bed

(29 Posts)
Aguero16 Tue 24-Nov-20 19:25:30

Twin girls. When we first brought them home they slept in the same room as us for a few weeks. They then started to sleep through the night and we moved them to their joint nursery. 8 months later, we had to split them up as one liked a light room, and the other pitch darkness.

The girl we moved didn't much like being on her own but she settled and slept well for years.

Until now. Recently, as we finish the stories and tuck her in, she's been telling us she's lonely at night. She wants one of us to sleep in her room or she wants to join us in our bed.

We talk with her and tell her over and over how much we love her and how she's never alone in the house and she usually settles. But it's still quite upsetting for everyone.

She's a real poppet (unlike her hellraiser sister!), so this "I'm lonely" thing is a bit heartbreaking. I thought we were over the sleep problems. Silly me. Any advice?

OP’s posts: |
Santaisironingwrappingpaper Tue 24-Nov-20 19:26:51

Some sort of night time bear? Night light? Goldfish?

Hailtomyteeth Tue 24-Nov-20 19:27:00

Yes, take her into your bed. It's unnatural to make a child sleep alone. Of course she's lonely.

RunningFromInsanity Tue 24-Nov-20 19:29:43

It's unnatural to make a child sleep alone there’s nothing unnatural about a 7 year old sleeping in her own room.

mintich Tue 24-Nov-20 19:31:08

Nightlight, projector, night time bear etc. Leave her door open so she can hear people downstairs

Aguero16 Tue 24-Nov-20 19:33:08

Santaisironingwrappingpaper

Some sort of night time bear? Night light? Goldfish?

She has a bear and at least 20 soft toys, some of them quite big. She has three lights. She even had our cat at the end of her bed for a few nights but she claimed he kept meowing at her. So that didn't work.

OP’s posts: |
Aguero16 Tue 24-Nov-20 19:34:14

mintich

Nightlight, projector, night time bear etc. Leave her door open so she can hear people downstairs

And we leave the door open.

OP’s posts: |

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SillyOldMummy Tue 24-Nov-20 19:41:13

My DD went through a phase like this. In her case she had developed an irrational fear of dying in the night, she thought if she slept with someone they would notice and save her. Took is ages to get to the bottom of it. My DD is very sensible and not usually fearful and didn't want to admit what was worrying her.

Is it possible your DD is worrying about something?

If she is lonely I would let her sleep in your bed, if you can. The phase will pass. Keep reassuring her and give her plenty of opportunity to talk about anything troubling her.

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Tue 24-Nov-20 19:47:21

My dd was in our room until her 13th birthday. She was just too scared to sleep alone. No amount of ‘you’ll be ok made any difference’

No one was getting any sleep. We had CAHMS and all sorts in. It made no difference.

What did make a difference was letting her in with us. She had her own bed.

She’s 14 now and wouldn’t be caught dead in our room now! All kids are different.

monoaaad Tue 24-Nov-20 19:52:07

We had a small mattress on the floor in our room for years - child choose whether to sleep in their own room or with us until they were about 12.

monoaaad Tue 24-Nov-20 19:52:48

If they are twins, can they go back to sharing a room?

Aguero16 Tue 24-Nov-20 19:55:16

SillyOldMummy

My DD went through a phase like this. In her case she had developed an irrational fear of dying in the night, she thought if she slept with someone they would notice and save her. Took is ages to get to the bottom of it. My DD is very sensible and not usually fearful and didn't want to admit what was worrying her.

Is it possible your DD is worrying about something?

If she is lonely I would let her sleep in your bed, if you can. The phase will pass. Keep reassuring her and give her plenty of opportunity to talk about anything troubling her.

She IS a worrier. We talk quite often about the things that bother her but she hasn't elaborated on this issue. I'll see if I can dig any deeper.

My main worry is that if we let her sleep in our bed, the other twin will find out and then will demand to also sleep in our bed. That way madness lies. But, thanks, good advice there.

OP’s posts: |
Aguero16 Tue 24-Nov-20 19:56:03

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince

My dd was in our room until her 13th birthday. She was just too scared to sleep alone. No amount of ‘you’ll be ok made any difference’

No one was getting any sleep. We had CAHMS and all sorts in. It made no difference.

What did make a difference was letting her in with us. She had her own bed.

She’s 14 now and wouldn’t be caught dead in our room now! All kids are different.

Oooh, interesting. Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
monoaaad Tue 24-Nov-20 19:56:43

Not your bed.. mattress on the floor is less attractive but reassuring if anxious.

Aguero16 Tue 24-Nov-20 19:56:50

monoaaad

If they are twins, can they go back to sharing a room?

No, their sleep requirements are still hugely different.

OP’s posts: |
TheMandalorian Tue 24-Nov-20 19:57:22

My 6.5yo boy has decided to be afraid of being in a room alone and is scared burglars and/ or zombies will come into the house at night. I assume its a phase and will watch the thread for ideas.
Can you put her in with her sister? She will have to sleep in the dark though. Or have canopies over the beds .

Haggisfish Tue 24-Nov-20 19:58:29

My dd sleeps with me at 10. She also gets lonely. I don’t like sleeping on my own either-I find it odd we expect young children to be fine with it. In your situation I would
See if twins could share again.

Aguero16 Tue 24-Nov-20 20:02:51

monoaaad

Not your bed.. mattress on the floor is less attractive but reassuring if anxious.

That's a good idea, too. Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
blue25 Tue 24-Nov-20 20:09:10

It’s often a phase, so don’t give in too quickly as you may regret it. Continue with a calm, positive, reassuring bedtime routine and give it time.

If you bring a child into your room every night it can have disastrous consequences for your relationship with OH. Just be very aware of that!

TheDetectiveBadge Tue 24-Nov-20 20:11:26

My mum always had a camp bed set up for me and my siblings at the bottom of her bed when I was a child. Anyone who felt scared/worried or whatever could go in and sleep there, under strict instructions that we should not wake either parent up unless we were ill! It worked well and I'm pretty sure by the age of 8 or 9 I didn't ever go in anymore (and it was mainly set up for me as I was prone to nightmares).

Thankyoubutnothankyou Tue 24-Nov-20 20:12:40

Can you lie next to her until she falls asleep? My ds wants to sleep with me every night, so this is my compromise. If he climbs into my bed in the middle of the night I usually let him stay.

xdestarx Tue 24-Nov-20 20:17:37

Audio books? I used to listen to them as a child in bed and found them comforting because it wasn't silent in the room, but also the story was a distraction from any worries and so helped with falling asleep. My parents would just turn it off when they came up later on.

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Tue 24-Nov-20 20:22:06

AND, l ended up talking on radio 5 about it to some sleep expert, she kept saying that dd would never leaveconfused

She obviously had no understanding of how teens need to disconnect from parents.

whatever1980 Tue 24-Nov-20 20:54:55

My 6 year old is the same. Her sister who is 7 prefers her own room and now sleeps in the spare room. My toddler unfortunately prefers to dart into the 7 year olds bed during the night rather than the 6 year olds bed so that makes her feel left out. Fortunately my 6 year old is a good sleeper and falls straight to sleep but I give her lots of hugs and stroke her hair if she says she's feeling lonely until she falls asleep

Dillybear Thu 26-Nov-20 15:10:41

Hello, I just wanted to add some thoughts to this. As a child, I remember feeling kind of sick before going to bed quite often. I’d be having a perfectly nice time and then I’d realise bedtime was approaching and I’d be overwhelmed with a feeling of dread - a bit like how you feel the night before going back to work sometimes after a weekend or time off or whatever. As a child, I may have described this as loneliness. I found it very hard to fall asleep. I don’t remember that I woke up very often but I know it would take me ages to drop off. Being little, I probably wouldn’t have had the language to describe how I felt properly - I think I probably would have said something like I felt lonely.

I’m not sure sleeping away from my room would have helped me much - it was familiar to me and I think my parents would have woken me in the night going to bed. Your DD feels like that could help - it might help as a short term solution to reduce the association between going to bed and bad feelings. Sometimes feelings like that can almost become a habit and a little time away from the routine of feeling like that can help to break the association.

I was also a worrier and an anxious child, and remember being awake at night as a young child worrying about all sorts of things. I think what would have helped me would have been more unconditional positive regard from my parents - speaking from my own experience, my parents were very happy with me as long as I was pleasing them in whatever way, but could be quite rejecting if I wasn’t (hold a grudge/ stay annoyed for a long time/ say negative things about me rather than my behaviour/ mainly say positive things about what I achieved rather than who I was etc). I didn’t feel totally secure in their love/like of me. My parents weren’t doing anything wrong, they were pretty normal parents, but I was quite a sensitive child, as I’ve said (tough as old boots now though!). For some kids, this style of parenting suits them really well as they are naturally more resilient, but if you’ve got a naturally more anxious child, they can just need more reassurance, praise etc. I hope this doesn’t come across like I’m making any assumptions about your parenting - I’m really not - I just thought it might be worth mentioning!

On a more practical note, sitting down with her and thinking about the loneliness could be helpful. You could draw a person with her and help her map the feelings on her body - where does she feel the lonely feeling, what does it look like in her heart/stomach/mind/hands etc. That could help you to find out more about what might help. Building on this, you could then help her come up with her own ‘bedtime toolkit’ or something to help manage the uncomfortable feelings that she’s experiencing. Doing this would be likely to enable her to feel less powerless over her own feelings. What does she think would help with these feelings? She’s seven so I’m sure she has some ideas. It would also be helpful to have some suggestions yourself - essential oil pillow spray, a favourite cuddly toy, a nice bath bubble smell before bed, relaxing music, maybe a top that smells like you. I’d be thinking of bringing smell, touch, sound, even taste (maybe a warm drink before bed) into it so it’s more about physical feelings than stuff she needs to think about (and therefore stuff that might make her worry).

I’ve also heard really good things about the Moshi app - it’s an audiobook app for kids that plays really soothing, positive stories for children. The music and the content is really lovely and shouldn’t cause or add to any more worrying feelings for her.

Really hope at least some of this is helpful. I’ve just tried to think of what would have helped me as a child and what I’d do with a child I was working with (I do therapeutic work with children) if they were struggling like this.

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