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How do you get a Prschooler to bed before 11pm and slept alone!

(40 Posts)
Pippi Sat 19-Apr-03 12:04:33

Hi, Very new to this, so here goes. I have a dd who is 3yrs 4 months old. Since day one we have had heaps of problems with her in regards to her health with colic, reflux, took ages for this to be picked up and medication given. Child would just cry all the time day/night. Never got into a sleep pattern at all. We had to have help with this as we were so tired day/night, just couldn't cope with it all. My daughter and I went into a hospital to have some help with this, spent over two months working on this problem, had nurses putting her down to sleep and doing the controlled crying with her (just to let u know dd was about 6 months old when we started this, my partner and I had also tried at home, but dd went for over 6 hours first night non stop screaming the house down....I could not cope with the screaming, she would not give up, very strong willed) six weeks into this and they the specialists/nurses were blown away with this child and too didn't think she ever would get into a routine. It was so hard to listen to your child screaming night after night, week after week etc. She did get a wee bit better but then it all would just go out the window and back again to the start. DD they didn't have any answers for really, she was put in the hard pile, said they have only ever had one other child through there like her. We then went onto sleeping drugs, but that didn't work, then dd at around 18months started to have seizures, the stop breathing turning blue etc just blow me away, got to the stage that she would sleep in the bed with us, so I could keep a eye on her, as well as we all could get some sleep. So really from then it went on to sharing a bed with her, she did have a cot of her own and a bedroom at the early stages. So over all trying not to make this too long. DD still sleeps with me, won't or can't go to sleep on her owe or at a reasonable hour (like she is still full on at 11.00pm at night)will only sleep when I go to bed and if I try going earlier which I have done for a good length of time, she is out the bed full on, no way going to sleep at this 8.30- 9.00pm. If I was to put her in her own room, own bed on her own I know she will scream the house down for days/weeks probably years........and this is something I can't handle, she also likes me to rub her back to help relax her off to sleep, and needs to have her body contact with me close, I mean here like her legs over me, so she knows I am there, otherwise she will wake up..... any suggest....

Bagpipes Sat 19-Apr-03 12:18:00

Hi Pippi - Welcome to the group - I am a newbie here too, and I have found the comments from other parents to be very helpful. They certainly don't judge you, as they try and offer supportive ideas which may be of benefit to you and your child. Do you have any other children Pippi?? I know the screaming is so horrible isn't it, and of course your daughter taking seizures, would of made matters worst. I too, would of wanted my children close by also. I am sure lots of suggestions will come up for you Pippi - ones which will suit your situation. It would be terrific for you, to get the evenings back for yourself. All the best - Keep posting!!!

Pippi Sat 19-Apr-03 12:27:11

Hi Bagpipes

We only have one child and the way things are she might be the only one. Yes, the screaming is something that she seems to never stop, just goes on and on. Also now she is a lot older and even stronger I know it will be even hard to get these habits of hers under control. I just would not be able to do the controlled crying, as we have been there and it didn't work. We have been told or advised to get her out of our bed, but this is easily said than done, and we know that as she is getting older it is only going to get harder. But if there was a way we could, I tell you we would be trying it, and I would love to have some time out at night for myself. Thanks for your message and will keep you posted if I do get some good ideas to try and let you know what or how they have worked with our dd.

WideWebWitch Sat 19-Apr-03 12:41:13

Blimey, this sounds awful, what a horrible time. Welcome to mumsnet.

This may be completely obvious and sorry if it is, but does she have any soft drinks containing caffeine or sweet things with E numbers or anything like that? It just sounds odd that she isn't tired. What about exercise? Does she get plenty during the day? What does your Dp say? Is he supportive of getting her out of your bed? Is she old enough to understand a new rule if you explained it to her? What about a star chart or some reward system? If you said very firmly that this is the deal, you are sleeping in your own bed and if you do you will get xyz, might it work? What happens if you put her back in her own bed again and again and again? We cracked it with a combination of this and star charts and the first few nights it really means getting up again and again and again to show you mean business. Tiring, but not as tiring as 3 in a bed IME. Other than that I don't know what else to suggest, although it sounds to me as if she is probably so used to sleeping in with you that it's going to be a hard habit to break. Sorry, you already know this so it's not constructive is it?! I think she does have to know that you mean business though, from the beginning and you and your partner will have to decide on a clear strategy and stick to it. Good luck.

hmb Sat 19-Apr-03 14:18:58

pippi, it sounds awful and you do have my sympathy. Is your dd on medication for the seizure, or were they a 'massive temper tantrum' rather than a true epileptic fit? I ask because my dd used to throw tantums so bad they looked like fits?

I can only go with what www has said. A combination of reward and sticking to your guns would seem like a good idea to me. It is awfully hard to do. make sure that you and your partner are agreed on what you are going to do, and let the neighbours know that it may be a tough few nights. But you have my sympathy, it is awful.

tigermoth Sat 19-Apr-03 15:26:42

pippi, welcome! you sound like you've really gone through the mill with your dd's sleep problems. I feel you are more of an expert than me on what to do, since you have tried so many things.

I really hope for your sake that the sleep clinic hasn't written you off. It's all very well them saying that they have seen few children like your dd, but I hope they are still offering support. Since children change so much do you think it would be any good you both went back to the hospital for another stay? You say you were there when your dd was about 6 months old, but that's a long time ago.

My youngest son, now aged 3 years 8 months had sleep problems, but not on your scale. He loves human contact and spent lots of nights partly in our bed, partly back in his cot. He is now in his bed all the time, but as a sort of payback, I often lay down with him in his own bed to help him get off to sleep - or at least help him wind down. He has learned to accept this and now rarely comes into our room if he wakes at night. I also gave him a choice of bed - he was allowed to sleep anywhere when it was his bedtime and he really liked having this choice. Sometimes he fell asleep in our bed, sometimes his brothers. Once asleep I'd move him to his own bed.

I have started threads on here about his sleep pattern and received good advice. One of the best bits was to see it as a day problem, not a night problem. Amend his daytime routine rather than his nightime routine. Tire him out and cut out naps. Much easier to do this, I found, than trying different variations of punishment, reward and distraction at night. However, lots of people here have had good results with night time star charts etc, so no hard and fast rules.

Aged 3 years 4 months, my ds was still not a good sleeper at night (average bedtime 10.00 pm, then waking up once or twice for a drink, and getting up at about 7.30 pm). I began to dispair that he would ever sleep through or go to bed before 9.00 pm. For us, change for the better happened literally overnight - ds started a 6-hour nursery day and was tired out when I collected him at 3.00 pm. Keeping him awake till 6.30 pm or so meant he dropped off to sleep much more easily and slept through till 7.00 or later. Sometimes he dropped off at 5.00 pm ( waking for a drink around 10.00 pm) and then miraculously still slept through. Just getting into the habit of going to sleep earlier payed dividends. He was more happy to be put to bed by 9.00 every night. At weekends when there was no nursery, I saw a small but instant regression, though. So for us nursery was a saviour. I will go and hunt it the relevant thread for you.

I don't know if it will be useful, since my son's sleep problems were milder, but it might help.

tigermoth Sat 19-Apr-03 15:32:16

pippi, the thread (in the sleep topic )is called

'good news!! - my owl-like three year old is suddenly sleeping through from 8.00 pm to 7.00 am. Here's why (I think)'

tamum Sat 19-Apr-03 17:30:37

Hi Pippi, that sounds a nightmare, I'm really sorry. We had an awful time with my ds, though not as bad as you, but he certainly never slept through the night until he was about 5. One of us had to sleep with him until he was 4, for at least part of the night. The things that helped were doing the usual stuff to get him to fall asleep on his own (going from cuddling him to sitting at the end of the bed, on a chair, near the door etc etc.), him starting school and being more tired, and (last but not least) cranial osteopathy when he was 5. That was the single biggest turning point. I've posted about it a few days ago on the cranial osteopathy thread. If you haven't tried it I'd really recommend having a shot- I can't bring myself to believe it would work for every child, but it did for mine, sceptic though I am. I should also say that when we did the falling asleep routine I honestly don't think it would have worked when he was younger, it made all the difference being able to explain to him what was going to happen and why. Sorry, this is a bit rambling. If you're near Edinburgh I can recommend an excellent osteopath. Good luck, I really feel for you!

bunny2 Sat 19-Apr-03 22:04:00

Hi Pippi, you are not alone! Ds (nearly 3) has had his own problems (severe and chronic eczema). Consequently he has had alot of trouble sleeping and always ends up in our bed. We have not had a goodnights sleep since he was born. He tends to go to bed around 10 ish, sleep till about 2 am, wake up scratchng and itching, climb into our bed, wake us up, wriggle till 4 am, sleep till 6ish then get up and demand milk. I am then up with him all day. I have tried so hard to stop him sleeping in the day but he is so knackered he falls asleep about 3 in the afternoon for 2 or 3 hours. Of course this means he is not tired at bedtime. If I do keep him awake, he scratches himself to pieces so I let him sleep.I am beginning to feel like a failure.

Pippi Sat 19-Apr-03 23:55:00

Hi Everyone

Thanks so much for all your messages.

Wickedwaterwitch....My dd does drink diet coke,along with us and she does a lot of exercise, she is continuously on the move, she doesn't really sit still for along. We went on a walk not so long ago and she walked the 4km with us, I feel she does get a lot of exercise. Dd is at kindy three afternoons a week and is continous on the good there - teachers have informed me.

Dp works long hours and isn't very supportive at all. He thinks its ok for dd to share a bed, in his culture (he is Samoan) it is quite common for babies/young children to sleep with mothes, yet isn't common in mine for sure.

If I went straight to trying to get dd to sleep in her own bed by herself I know it would be such a nightmare and the noise etc, I know I just couldn't do this, I would give in for sure. DD speaks very well and understands very well, when I ask when will you sleep in your own room/own bed she tells me when she is 4 or 5. DD tell me I want to sleep with you mum, not my own bed.

We started off the star chart with toilet training but she wasn't interested in it didn't mean anything to her.

HMB....yes these were seizures not massive temper tantrum a few of them were when she was sleeping and one in the car. DD isn't on any medication for seizures, we went to the top specilist here in New Zealand in this field and he said that what she had were seizure even though emergency doctors put the seizures down febrile convulsion and relating them to her being unwell. (which was the case) Specialist didn't agree at all, said it would of had to happen within 24 hours of her being ill (as in ear infection etc) my daughter had a lot of ear infections, but these seizures were happening like at times 10 days in to her being on medication etc. Thankfully it is well over a years since she has had any, but still always at the back of my mind. Specialist said she could still end up developing epilepsy.

Pippi Sun 20-Apr-03 00:11:56

Hi tamum

Thanks for your message. I took dd to see a ostepathy when she was a very young baby, as was trying to find anyone who could help us with her medication problems. As we found out along the way the colic, reflux and milk intolerant she had. We changed her onto goats milk which did seem to make a big differences. Dd was born by emergency c-section with me under going a general anaesthesia and dd had to be resurrect, had quite a few problems, but was told that him we hadn't come into the hospital the night before we would of lost her. But anyway was searching for answers to while we had such a unsettle crying baby night and day. The ostepathy didn't find anything wrong but he did put us onto the milk intolerant idea and gave us sample packets to try, so he was of help for sure. Do you reckon it would be any good going back now to see him with dd older? Look forward to your reply.

Pippi Sun 20-Apr-03 00:17:35

Hi tigermoth

Third time I have typed this, somehow keep lossing it. Thanks for giving me that thread on the sleeping 'good news' I will check it out, thanks a lot.

The sleep clinic here in NZ is only for mothers and babies up to 15months then you are out on your own. We had had plunket involved earlier with our dd and I spoke with them not so long ago. They suggest maybe we clear out dd room and make it safe and close the door off so she can't get out, and let her cry, scream till she goes to sleep on her own...but with the curtains not full pulled in her room, so we can go outside and look through window to check on her. I am afraid I could not do this, would be unable to deal with the screaming, crying, yelling, door kicking, dd calling out mummy, mummy, I would give in, I could not stand back and listen to my dd stress out to the hill.

Thanks for your message, I will go and look at your sleep thread you have started up,thanks.

Pippi Sun 20-Apr-03 00:26:23

Hi bunny2

Thanks for your message. Firstly you are no way a failure, you are doing a great job. It is very hard when you have a child who has a medical condition, it is only when you are in that position do you realize how hard things are. I would be the same as you, allowing my child to sleep in the day for a nap if they were so tired and it helped them to stop scratching and got a decent sleep while they can. I guess I am not going to be any help to you with your situation, is there any chance when your child has a nap in the day, that you are able to put your feet up for a while to recharge your batteries? I don't know a lot about eczema, you said your child has severe & chronic eczema, I guess he isn't going to just grow out of it. What have your doctors and that said about this for you? Keep in touch.

whymummy Sun 20-Apr-03 07:53:49

hi pippi,we`re having problems with our nearly 3 dd and and for the last 6 months she refuses to go to bed the day before this happened she asked "will i wake up?"wich i found really weird in such a small child so there`s something in her little head that probably thinks i will go when she`s asleep(maybe a bad dream she had) so i had to do a lot of reassurance and always talk to her about what we`re going to do next day so she knows i`ll be there,the one thing i will say is to stop the diet coke completely if this is dificult there`s no caffein coke available i know coke affects my dd big time and recently i found out that even the colouring in calpol makes her hyper,hope it gets better for you,good luck

Ghosty Sun 20-Apr-03 07:55:58

Hi pippi! I am in New Zealand too ... up until recently I think I was the only one from here posting but this week I have found two more! Where are you? I am in Auckland.
I am so sorry to read all about your nightmare in the sleep department ... I read it and promised that I would NEVER EVER complain about DS' sleep again! You poor poor thing ... it is a wonder you still have your marbles!
Anyway ... I am not sure what to suggest ... was going to ask what Plunket suggested but you have already said now ...
What is DD like during the day? Does she suffer from the late nights? How many hours does she sleep at night once she has fallen asleep? I mean, does she do 12 hours 11pm to 11am? Or does she wake early and so only get a few hours? Does she sleep during the day because she is so knackered from not sleeping at night? How does she cope with Kindy?
Have you read 'Solve your child's sleep problems' by Richard Ferber? It is quite good and might be worth having a read of it ...
Keep talking ... we're all listening! Wish I could give some real suggestions at this point but I am a bit stumped!

Pippi Sun 20-Apr-03 10:33:09

Hi Ghosty

I live in Christchurch, I have a sister who lives in Auckland. Dd would sleep on average about 10 to 11 hours. Its not very offer that she will have a day time nap, we do get the ones when she will crash at about around 7.30-8.00pm and have a catnap or say about an hours sleep but wakes fully, and is recharged ready to go for the night, this hasn't happened recently though. I am not sure why she can't sleep through when she does do this, I am not sure if its because she knows I am not beside her in the bed. Thanks for your message..... I do have a couple of sleep books here, I will check and see if its the say one as you mentioned probably not.

Pippi Sun 20-Apr-03 10:42:33

Hi Whymummy

Thanks for your message. I have heard that diet drinks aren't any good for children as well as adults, dd will have them as we drink it but I think we will have to alter what we drink, and take it out of her diet completely.

How is your daughter sleeping now?

whymummy Sun 20-Apr-03 10:49:27

hi pippi,getting better but she`ll still come to my bed if she wakes up in the middle of the night,so still feeling insecure for not reason,let us know how you get on!

Britabroad Sun 20-Apr-03 13:26:11

my dd is now nearly five and has been sleeping through the night for 6 months. I like you tried everything and blamed everything, including myself.
The big change came when we stopped her wearing night-time nappies( I still have to put her on the toilet half asleep before I go to bed!). Unless she is ill, coughing etc she now sleeps all night.
Hope this helps.
Great to see others in NZ on this site.

hmb Sun 20-Apr-03 15:21:49

Pippi, I hope that thins get better. Re the star chart it didn't work for a friend either. They went out and boough a small toy that their dd wanted, and explained that it was hers if she slept in her own bed for a week. She was shown the toy each morning, with a 'good girl', and at the end of the week she got the toy. She needed a more obvious reward I guess.

Re the epilepsy, I remember being told by a neurologist that children who have fits are more likely to stop having them in later life than adults, so I hope that is true about your dd.

tamum Sun 20-Apr-03 16:35:37

Hi Pippi,

Sorry for the delay, only just looked at the messages again. I didn't see an osteopath with my ds until he was 5, he never went when he was a baby, so I don't know whether a second visit is wirth it or not, I would just think it's worth a try. He was just like a different child immediately after the first session, it was as though he had been in some long-term discomfort that he had never been able to articulate, and was now better. The osteopath we saw was someone who specialised in children and cranial osteopathy, I don't know if it might be worth trying someone else? On the other hand, ds's birth was pretty traumatic, for him as well as me, and I think a lot of it stemmed from that. It may be something else entirely if you had a caesarian. I really feel for you (and Bunny2), I completely understand the exhaustion. I also felt obscurely guilty when my son didn't sleep, alomst as though it was a test I'd failed. If by any chance you feel like that too, please don't. It's NOT your fault! You have to remember, it will get better. Is there any chance you could negotiate with her to sleep on a camp bed or something next to you, some way of decreasing the contact as a first step?
Good luck.

bunny2 Sun 20-Apr-03 17:57:20

Hi Tatum and Pippi, thanks for your messages. Yestrday was a bad night but I feel a bit more positive today. Have kept ds awake since 8 am and am aiming to get him into bed by 7.30. I just want a bit of time after he goes to bed, to relax and have a glass of wine, watch tv etc. When he is up till 10 or 11, I cant find the energy to keep on entertaining him. If he goes to bed early tonight hopefully he will have a good sleep and then not need a daytime nap tomroow (I can hope cant I?). Pippi, hope you find a solution, this stage cant last forver.

Ghosty Sun 20-Apr-03 21:29:59

Pippi ... so if your DD goes to sleep at 11pm, will she generally sleep at least until 9am, straight through? If that is the case she may have a 'Late Sleep Phase' as described by Richard Ferber in his book ... he has some excellent strategies on how to remedy this ... not done them myself as DS's sleep problems were never quite like that ... just waking all through the night and waking v. early (and we seem, fingers crossed, to be getting past that).
I feel (this is the teacher in me coming out) that if you can try to solve this and get her to go to bed earlier before she starts morning kindy it would be best because you will find her really hard to wake in the morning in time for the 8.45 start and she will struggle to function in the morning at kindy and then at proper school. I taught for 10 years in the UK and it was always so easy to tell the children who went to bed late as they often struggled in the first couple of hours of the day compared to the kids who went to bed early and got up early .... IYKWIM!
I know it is easy for me to say and you have been struggling with this for a long time but maybe you should have a target to aim for ... a time frame ...
Britabroard ... where are you?
Hope everyone else is doing ok ....

Pippi Mon 21-Apr-03 09:52:58

Hi Britabroad

Thanks for your message. Can I ask if your dd has always slept in her own bed or was there ever a time that she shared a bed with you. I have my dd in pullups at night time, as we are sharing the bed together and I don't fancy ending up sleeping in a wet bed or having to change sheets etc in the early hours. But I guess this will also be another thing I will have to tackle at some stage as well.

Where about in NZ are you?

Pippi Mon 21-Apr-03 09:58:46

Hi hmb

Thanks for the idea on getting dd a toy she really likes. We went out to the shops today to see if she could show me something she really likes. But I don't think she was in the right frame of mind to pick something out, as she didn't show me anything lol, well we will try another day.

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