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not sleeping

(5 Posts)
OMGGG Tue 23-Jul-13 22:22:28

my ds wont go to bed. he will stay up until midnight and then he will drop off. i have extended bed time from 8 to 9:30 he is only 6 but still he wont settle.
the only thing that works is him being up all night.
he is very anxious and will just not settle i stay with him for ages and still he cannot seem to settle to sleep
id rather not have him up all night with me but its got to be better than soending two hours with him then another 4 walking him back up to bed. he throws things at me and allsorts.
i use star rewards that are exchanged for gifts, he loses stars which really upsets him but still he cant do as he is told.
my question is is it right to let a 6 yr old stay up all night ?

PolterGoose Tue 23-Jul-13 23:34:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Swanhilda Tue 23-Jul-13 23:51:51

I have an ASD child who occasionally finds it difficult to go to sleep (and was a very light sleeper as a baby), but this week I have sussed out what the answer is. Exercise and fresh air are the wonder drugs. He is so tired he can hardly get up the stairs this evening, after a day in a sports camp of sorts (outdoors)

The other thing is that a pattern very quickly forms in their minds, of anxiety that they can't sleep, which reinforces the inability to sleep, like a vicious circle. So I can see that in a way you are trying to avoid that vicious circle by keeping him up rather than endlessly and fruitless putting him to bed. But there is a middle way.

We found that we had to find a bedtime pattern that worked for us - a routine that he associated with dropping off. To start with it was reading a story, then it changed to just leaving him without a story to look at a book himself, then it changed back to reading him a story, which I found lulled him to sleep quite easily. Water was very calming too. A long bath (20 mins? where he just played around with toys in the water without intervention) Also a snack at bedtime high carb was good, or dairy, and quite clear boundaries of light off/tucked up, goodbye.

He is 11 but I think we have been through lots of stages since he was a baby. It keeps changing. But your little boy is tired, even if he exhibiting wakefulness. He needs sleep, it is just that his brain is wired to wakefulness. Presumably being tired is affecting him in lots of ways and making him stressed and that is why he is getting cross with you and throwing things. It is very frustrating not being able to sleep when you need to. So trying to get a pattern which works, however it works, which will get him to, soft toy, story, sitting with him, chatting, snack, (anything really except electronic screens which add to wakefulness) is something that you can work on. And then stick with the routine, routine, sense of familiar events are v important to calm them.

Good luck, you can do it. Personally I never used a reward based bedtime system. I think it upped the tension and anxiety and worry about not being able to go to sleep, and also created a bad feeling between carer and child.

EweHaveGoatToBeKiddin Tue 23-Jul-13 23:53:01

Hi, what is it he's actually anxious about?

For my dd, she gets anxious from the faintest noise. We live in a block of flats, so there's a lot of them. I've made her a little poster for her bedside which identifies (picture and a word) most of the common noises (car beeping outside/neighbours walking upstairs/toilet flushing/pipes gurgling/cats mewing) so she now only calls on me if there's a new noise she can't identify.

She also hates the dark, so she has a lamp.

She is also under sensitive to touch. So she struggles to fall asleep unless she's really very tired. So i get her to wear herself out about an hour before bed, whereas most parents try to 'wind down' their children an hour before bed! We play hide and seek, or do dancing, or just run about the house. I also give her a little blanket for her to suck on which helps her to lie still.

She pushes her luck most nights and tries to get out bed, but i just firmly tell her it's bedtime, and she's not allowed out of her room. no conversation (unless she's genuinely unhappy - not just mucking around), no snacks, one drink of water, no playing.

Sleep deprivation is a total nightmare. Hope you and DS can get more snooze-time soon.

Oh, almost forgot. I used our local sleep association group (organised through health visitor and GP) who were a god send. Could be worth a referral if there's something similar where you are?

Swanhilda Tue 23-Jul-13 23:58:27

Oh I forgot to mention that Ds is a complete fidget, and will drive you mad if you lie next to him, fidgeting and fretting and then suddenly jumping out of bed to find something he has forgotten, or have a pee or a glass of water grin So I know he is naturally a bad sleeper, it is just that we have reinforced and reinforced and reinforced the calm bedtime so he just KNOWS that that is what is going to happen, and that he will fall asleep and he expects to fall asleep.

Ds1 went through a bit of an anxious stage where he used to worry about things and needed a lot of chatting to discharge his emotions, but I suspect your ds is not that sort of anxious, more than he is so tired he is making himself anxious, sort of hyper stimulated ifysim and that is why maybe a very low response method of getting him to sleep might work better. Ie: like poster above.

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