Please help me! 4 year old won't go to bed

(12 Posts)
Frankola Wed 09-Dec-20 21:33:46

I'm losing my mind here. I've spent the last 10 minutes crying my eyes out after FINALLY getting my dd4 to bed.

It's becoming a pretty frequent occurrence in our house now that dd will refuse to settle and go to sleep at night. She goes to bed to settle down at 7. Has a bath before that. But once she gets in bed she makes any excuse imaginable to get out of bed, roll around, have a drink, try to go downstairs, just generally anything but sleep.

DH and I are utterly exhausted. Bedtime has become something we dread. We don't want to spend our evenings with dd this way- fighting to get her to go to sleep.

Someone please help us! How do we stop this behaviour and get back to restful, relaxing nights?!

OP’s posts: |
ChristMyArse Wed 09-Dec-20 21:45:05

Is 7 possibly too early for her? When I go to bed early I always fall asleep later than normal! My 4 year old goes to bed 8 and usually falls asleep quite quickly.

Maybe push it back and see if it helps? Good luck!!

Indecisivelurcher Wed 09-Dec-20 21:53:40

Would this help... This is what we did with 4yo who woke every night at 1:30am and didn't go back to sleep for several hours. In consultation with a sleep consultant. I've got it written up on my phone so just hitting paste...

Bedtime passes
If you think the not sleeping is a psychological thing then you could try something called bedtime tokens / bedtime passes. Start with a family meeting, draw up some sleep rules, get your child to suggest the rules in conversation with you and draw them themselves, to give them some ownership.

Agree a reward. We've used penny sweets and playmobil. I bought a camping set and split it all up, put the names of all the bits in a pot and Dd got a new piece at random every morning she had tokens left.

Make loads of tokens together. I mean loads. If the child gets up at bedtime or calls you in the night then that's absolutely fine and allowed, but costs 1 token. Put them in a pot by their bed. If there are tokens left in the morning, the child gets a reward.

For the first few nights the child needs to succeed. So you need more tokens than they will use. My Dd used more than 30 the first night. When they're in the swing of it, start to gradually reduce the number of tokens. It took us a few weeks to get down to 6. Dd started to fail a few times and had to try. We got stuck at this level a while. Eventually we got down to 3 and at some point the system was gradually forgotten. 30+ night wakings down to 1 or 2 was a lot bloody better.

You can look this up, I believe it's called bedtime passes and there are a few articles out there. It's quite science based.

I hope it works!

ohidoliketobe Wed 09-Dec-20 21:54:12

What time does she get up? If it's a constant performance like you've described, it may well be as per @ChristMyArse has suggested and be too early for her. My DD is the same age, she gets up at 6:45-7. We go up to bed for wash, pj's on, teeth brushed and trip to the loo at 7:15 (bit earlier of its bath night 3x week) . In bed for 7:45. Story and lights out at 8, and with the odd exception she goes straight off and that 11 hours seems to be plenty of sleep for her.
By no means has she always been a good sleeper might I add! She didn't sleep through the night consistently until she was 3!

PotteringAlong Wed 09-Dec-20 21:54:25

Now you see, I would have said the opposite and that she’s overtired. My (nearly) 4 year old is a nightmare to get to sleep if he’s either had a nap in the day or is in bed later than 6.30pm. So I would try an earlier bedtime.

CantBeAssed Wed 09-Dec-20 21:56:25

Im following with interest, my nearly 4yr old has been a horror at bedtime the last 2 weeks...sad

Indecisivelurcher Wed 09-Dec-20 21:59:44

Oh also try an audio book or something, Dd has guided meditations or piano music on while she's going to sleep. Or xylophone renditions of the Foo fighters!


snookercue Wed 09-Dec-20 22:04:56

I would stop the bath, I know people use it as part of a bedtime routine but there are other things you can do. Baths are stimulating when you are a kid, not relaxing like is adults take!

AriesTheRam Wed 09-Dec-20 22:10:03

Ds 6 has a bath an hour after school instead of just before bed which gives dh and I more time alone in evening.If he comes down asking a question etc it is answer question take him immediately back to bed,kiss then leave.We have to be fairly firm but it works.

SingingSands Wed 09-Dec-20 22:27:49

I used to do the "random excuse" and leave the room, with the absolute promise that I'd only be 5 mins.

So it went like this:
"I'm just going downstairs to polish the microwave, but I'll come back up in 5 minutes. I promise I'll be back."

The excuse was a made up nonsense, but my DS was comforted by me promising to come back. Which I did. Started with 5 minutes, then stretched to 10, then 15. It was a way of teaching him to self settle and it worked.

again2020 Fri 11-Dec-20 18:31:57

Another vote for bedtime may be a bit early.
My 3 year old won't go to sleep at 7pm hardly fact it's rare she falls asleep before 9pm. She generally sleeps just under 10 hours a night too, often with a wake up. I know this would freak a lot of people out but instead of forcing an early bedtime I bath her at 7:30 and keep her chilled out doing jigsaws or playing with toys for an hour afterwards until she is naturally sleepy. If I put her to bed at 7 I'd be up and down for hours.

WitchesBritchesPumpkinPants Fri 11-Dec-20 18:38:50

Try what Singjng Sands suggested 'nonsense excuses' to go downstairs to do a job, promising to go back (you have to go back when you say & extend the time).

I would say it's more likely she's overtired than it's too early. They seem 'hyper' but they're just keeping themselves awake

Good luck.

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