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My 4yo has turned into an absolute monster in the middle of the night, please help me

(3 Posts)
whatsthetimemrwolf Wed 03-Jun-09 10:08:48

Please can anyone help me? My 4yo DS is, or was reasonably well behaved until recently. He goes to bed well but has started waking in the middle of the night for one reason or another (loo, thirsty) and will not go back to sleep, he was awake last night from 1.30am til 5.30am. He becomes very disruptive shouting, crying, kicking the wall. I keep going back to his room trying to calm him down but as soon as I leave he starts again and complains of eyeache, sore throat, tummyache and pretty much anything he can think of. He would go back to sleep if I sat beside his bed rubbing his hair but I don't want to start doing this as I know he'll expect it all the time.

He shares a bedroom with his 5yo DS and of course this all wakes her up. For the last couple of nights I have had to get DD in our bed so that she can get some sleep, albeit disturbed sleep which makes DS worse as he doesn't want to be by himself in his bedroom.

I just don't know what to do with DS. I've tried a chocolate at the end of his bed as a treat if he's good, taking away the things he loves most the following day and DP has even resorted to the naughty step in the middle of the night.

It has ended up with DP and me arguing. I feel angry at him as he just thinks how hard it is for him getting up for work after very little sleep (I'm a SAHM). This morning I put DD in our bed to try and let her sleep whilst I dealt with DS and instead of cuddling/reassuring her with all DS's screaming DP got up and went into work early! I understand he has a stressful job and commutes so has long days but I still feel cross at him.

I need to do something desperately as DD is very tired for school, DS is a terror in the day as he's so tired (I've just got back from dropping DD off at school and couldn't get DS to keep his seatbelt on in the car, he threw his hat at me whilst I was driving whilst having a tantrum). There is just no reasoning with him. I don't know why he has started doing this as there are no issues which have upset him recently, hes not waking up scared. I really need some help. Sorry for the essay!

LupusinaLlamasuit Wed 03-Jun-09 10:14:48

I would suggest trying:

snack before bedtime
make sure he's not getting too warm/cold
VERY clear rules that you get him to help draw up when it's daytime and you're all rational
reward chart, with some big treat (toy?) that he chooses and draws a picture of
first night he stays in bed, LOTS of stars on the chart, then gradually reduce for each instance of good behaviour, or if he's more resistant, give stars for at least going back to bed quietly etc...

I suspect the eyeache business etc is his way of just saying he wants you to stay with him: maybe he can't express what is upsetting him? The other alternative might be to stay with him a few nights (mattress on the floor?) until he is back into habitual sleeping then gradually withdraw.

I am sure it will pass however, we've had these kinds of phases and it usually does. Evening snack might help a lot...

whatsthetimemrwolf Wed 03-Jun-09 17:59:33

Thanks LL, your post has really helped me feel a bit more positive. We've made a sticker chart ready for tonight and I'll give him a snack before bedtime (thats a really good point which I didn't think of, maybe he's hungry). I felt at my wits end this morning but am ready to tackle this hmm!

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