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Help! 6yo DD waking every night

(8 Posts)
twointhehand Wed 16-Sep-09 07:21:31

Please can someone give me some advice on what to do with my 6yo DD, as I'm at my wit's end. Basically she is waking up in the middle of the night and then calling out for me to go to her. She wakes like clockwork at 1am and comes to our room. I tell her to go back to bed. This is sometimes met with compliance, and at other times all hell breaks loose. If she goes back to bed willingly the first time then she usually comes back to our room at least once more.

She calls out for me, and then gives any number of reasons as to why I should go to her room - she says she's hungry/thirsty/scared/cold - you name it, she'll come up with it. She can get very stroppy and demanding and seems to be obsessed with the idea that we have to go in and check on her regularly. She complains that she can't sleep. We have told her to read quietly if she wakes, but sometimes she seems to read for hours and then come to us again.

Last night she woke at 1am and the commotion was still going on at 3.30am! I've tried being calm with her, firm with her, yelling at her, ignoring her, etc etc but nothing seems to work, she just keeps on demanding/pleading/shouting that I go to her.

She was so tired that she fell asleep in school on Monday. When I was talking to the doctor about something else I mentioned this problem with sleeping and he said I should be firm and not give her any rewards for waking up the whole house and carrying on.

I'm exhausted and so is my DP. DD is too, though she is so stubborn she won't admit it.
There have been some big changes in her life in the last few months, although during the daytime she is very happy and settled. She is in bed by 7.30pm and generally goes off to sleep (always on her own) without any fuss at all

We have talked with her about this sleeping thing and she understands it all in the calm light of day, but it's a different story in the middle of the night.

This has been going on for about 10 days now and we all just need a proper night's sleep. Please can anyone suggest anything?

sandcastles Wed 16-Sep-09 07:45:43

My dd has periods where she does this too. Just turned 6. She will do it for a week or so at a time.

I take her to the toilet (if she needs to go) and then take her back to bed. Minimal fuss.

When she goes to bed at her normal time in the evening, I say 'try to stay in your bed tonight, you will feel so much better in the morning' it seems to break the cycle after a couple of days.

Has anything happened in the last few weeks that could have caused it? It might be that she is waking & needing to know that you are there for her. I expect it can be very frightening being the only one awake in the house at 1am when you are 6, so maybe she is waking you so she she isn't awake on her own.

shootfromthehip Wed 16-Sep-09 07:58:07

My DD (5 1/2) goes through periods of doing this- she always has done and is a much worse sleeper than DS (2.8). It drives me nuts getting up for a child that isn't ill but awake and a bit bored. DD doesn't seem to have a reason for it (eg changes at home etc) as it just seems to take one night of waking/ being woken up and then it can last for 2 weeks. I have told her that I do check on her before I go to bed but that has made no difference.

What I did do was make her miss things- no dancing because she is by my definition too tired to go. She gets threatened with being grounded if she wakes up- horrid with a 5 yrs old but necessary imo because there is no need for her to be up.

I know that external factors are sometimes what wakes her up- is there noise in the street at 1pm? Can you reward her (like the star chart idea for potty training) for staying in bed all night. That sometimes works with DD too.

Good luck, I've had 2 weeks of being woken up by one or other of my kids and then last night it was by a giant moth swooping at us in the night!!! ARGHHHH

twointhehand Wed 16-Sep-09 08:00:50

thank you sandcastles. DD has always been fine about waking to go to the loo. As I said there have been major changes in our lives since June (which I don't really want to go into on here) so I think some of it may be due to that. However, this waking thing has only just started recently so I'm not sure. I'm just at breaking point really, and I'm amazed that she seems able to function on so little sleep!

twointhehand Wed 16-Sep-09 08:03:20

sfth, thank you too. It's comforting to know it's not only my DD! Our road is quite noisy but last night it was very quiet. We're running a reward thing related to TV but it doesn't seem to make any difference. Maybe I'll rethink the way we do it and make her a sticker chart too.

twointhehand Wed 16-Sep-09 08:07:26

I just had an interesting conversation with DD. She says she doesn't remember anything except for reading last night. She doesn't remember all the shouting, stamping, yelling that she was doing and she doesn't remember me yelling at her after 2 1/2 hours of her keeping me awake.

TheFoosa Wed 16-Sep-09 08:17:59

my dd is like this, she wakes but isn't really awake, almost sleep-walking in fact

I must admit though, I tread the line of least resistance and either get in her bed to settle her or let her get in with us

sometimes they just need a bit of reassurance and a cuddle

sandcastles Wed 16-Sep-09 08:19:17

Sorry, two...somehow didn't see that you have had some big changes happening & it is fine that you don't want to talk about them.

It may be that her mind is still processing these changes & that manifests itself in dreams. I know when I have a confusing/vivid/horrible dream (which I do...very often unfortunately!) I need someone else to be awake...and have to stop myself waking dh to talk about it. I am an adult, so I am able to reason that waking someone at 1am to discuss a dream/make sure they are still there etc is unreasonable, but a 6yr old cannot.

Have you tried some soft music when she wakes? My dd will happily lie in bed listening to a story CD & she usually falls alseep very quickly. It may just take her mind off what ever is going on, or lull her back to sleep.

But that does still mean you getting up, although may help the 'getting back into bed' bit?

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