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What would you do - 9yr old DD comes to our bed every night

(28 Posts)
marriotmum Tue 06-Feb-18 18:22:30

This is an ongoing issue for a while now. DD is coming to our bed every single night without fail. She did not used to do this when little and up until age 6ish. It feels like a habit and as if her biological clock is tuned to waking up at more or less the same time every night. (between 1-3am)

We talked about this loads - I am constantly asking her why does she think it is happening and what needs to change so that she does not wake up or come to our room. All she say is that she can not control waking up (fair enough) and when she does, she feels so scared alone in her room.

We are very patient about this, don't make a big deal and have never been strict about kids coming to our bed, luckily we also have a huge bed so up until recently it was not always noticeable or interfering with our sleep. However she does always go to DH side and snug up with him but his sleep is deeper than mine. if it was my side, I would have not lasted a week.

When we try to take her back in the middle of the night, she does not willingly go and asks us to stay and stay and almost keeps herself awake just not to let go. Then we end up spending long minutes (sometime an hour!) and mostly fail as she does not go back to sleep. Rarely it works. The is tough on us as we are a busy parents with full time work and must get a decent night sleep.

Now we are at a point when enough is enough and we need to crack this. Mostly I am concerned there are underlying psychological issues to this behaviour. I have no clue why though as DD is a delightful child, top of her class, popular and have good friendships at school and a very talented gymnast with an intense training programme. I don't notice any particular anxieties or behaviour issues during the day that raises any concerns.

Not sure if this is relevant, we have a DS as well age 13. He is fine although he used to do the same for a few years but only when he was very little and then just grow out of the habit by himself, which is partly why we let this go on for so long as we hoped the same will happen with DD. And maybe one day it will.. but at the monet, 3 years is, we feel this needs to be addressed.

I would welcome any advice you may have or specific child therapy that you think might help. We are simply desperate.

Many thanks

Cookandbook Tue 06-Feb-18 20:11:40

Have you room for a separate mattress on your floor so she can sleep in your room but not disturb you?
Or a mattress on her floor and one of you could sleep there if she wakes up?

I'm all for gentle ways of dealing with sleep problems. I can't face a battle in the middle of the night.

billybagpuss Tue 06-Feb-18 20:18:30

Is the 'intense training programme' too much for her.

My DD's both swam when they were younger and quite a few of the girls had issues of one thing or another. 9 is very young for such intensity although I'm well aware if she's Olympic material its optimum age.

WineAndTiramisu Tue 06-Feb-18 22:58:22

billybagpuss I'm not sure this is the thread you were trying to comment on... grin

reluctantjogger Wed 07-Feb-18 14:23:00

A few things I would do in your shoes: firstly, try the lumie kids nightlight - I think it's (slightly unappealingly!) called the bedbug. If you haven't seen them before, they are alarm clocks that create sunrise in the morning, but they also do sunsets which are really useful to more nervous sleepers. The kids one also fades to 'nightlight' which means it won't be totally dark when she wakes. You could also encourage her to reset the sunset mode if she wakes in the night, it might help lull her to sleep (it does me!).
Secondly, try gentle white noise (or rain noise etc) on in her bedroom overnight. She may wake less easily, and if she does will be less likely to hear 'scary' (normal house creaking) sounds and also less likely to start anxious thinking.
Thirdly, it was good to talk to her about it so you know there's nothing specific, but now I would just start letting her learn to self-soothe and not talking about it too much with her. Maybe tie it to a simple reward sheet. A star sticker in the morning (or a glow in the dark star on her bedroom wall!) for every night she stays in bed, with small treats after however many you think!
Sorry - bit of an essay!

Afternoon Sun 11-Feb-18 09:41:03

How about asking her to try to go back to sleep in her room for a minute before coming to see you, and arrange that you will gradually build this up to, say, 15 mins? One minute might be manageable and she will see she is fine after all.

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Sun 11-Feb-18 09:46:45

This was my Dd, when she was 9. Scared of being alone in her bedroom. We were all exhausted, had Cahms involvement everything. Nothing worked.

We put a mattress in our room in the end. She just said she wanted to feel protected, which kind of clarified everything.

18months later she’s still there!😵😂🤨. She has made inroads in trying to go back. I researched it on line, it’s actually common. I slept with my Mum till l was 22, so did both my sil. Obviously we are a needy family!!! But she will go back when she feels safe about it.

BrutusMcDogface Sun 11-Feb-18 09:49:59

My dd sometimes says she's lonely in her room at night, but a nightlight did help, as did surrounding herself with teddies!

I think billybagpuss has a point about the intense training thing though; sounds like she's under a huge amount of pressure from all angles and maybe that's making her feel worried in the night.

BluePony Sun 11-Feb-18 09:52:32

TheEmoji 22???

ivenoideawhatimdoing Sun 11-Feb-18 09:58:06

I agree - a mattress on the floor? She’s not going to be down there at 19 is she?

Also, could it be time for a redecoration of her bedroom? Paint, new bedding? Etc and most importantly, a low lamp that she can leave in all night? Maybe a lava lamp? I’m nearly thirty and I can’t sleep in the dark on my own.

doasIsaynotasIdo Sun 11-Feb-18 10:01:58

No advice I'm afraid, because we are in the same situation. 🙁 my 9 yr old son (going on 10) still sleeps in our room. Every. Single. Night. He used to come in to our bed, but as we both work full time (and have 11 yr old twins as well), we got to the point of sheer exhaustion, and so ended up with a mattress on the floor next to our bed, as it is the only way any of us get any sleep. My DS is tricky to put to bed in the first instance (despite bed time cuddles with both of us, regular bedtime routine etc), and will wake up every night without fail, at which point he will come straight in to our room, although now thankfully, will settle down on his own mattress rather than get in to bed with us. We have been to the GP multiple times, all to no avail. Poor boy also has night terrors occasionally, but these have happened less and less as he has got older. My DH and I feel we've tried everything we can, (this has been an issue for DS since he was 3, so going on for 7 years now.....) and have now resigned ourselves to the reality of having DS in our room until such a time as he can sleep on his own. It sucks, but the other options of battling with him in the middle of the night (often for well over an hour) is worse. I like the idea of the clock mentioned above, I might look in to that.

Mrsramsayscat Sun 11-Feb-18 10:23:15

I have had this experience with a child but it stopped spontaneously when they got to secondary school. It is frustrating, and an be exhausting. On the other hand, I doubt teens do it!.

Guardsman18 Sun 11-Feb-18 10:36:29

Apparently I used to do this until I had a huge teddy bear given to me.

My parents think I was just lonely. It might be worth a try!

BusterGonad Sun 11-Feb-18 10:41:55

My 9 year old is in our bed every night, my husband is of stocky build, I'm 5'10 and a size 14, there literally is no room so I'm in the single bed next door! It's bloody frustrating but at least I get a good nights sleep.

BusterGonad Sun 11-Feb-18 10:42:24

Oh and if anyone has a answer I'd love to hear it!

madamefraser Sun 11-Feb-18 11:12:46

This was our DD until 11. She was coming in nearly every night at one point so in the end we did what another poster suggested, and put a mattress at bottom of our bed!
She wasn't outwardly anxious at 8-9 but it came to light that she was working herself up into an awful state about lots of things from school to the world ending plus a lot of parent mortality fears.
We started a worry box where she would put her worries at night . That helped a bit and we tried huge amounts of counselling etc . Even sleep hypnosis ( I actually think that worked a bit ..)
She stopped doing it age 11 -12 and now would never come in .
Good luck !

marriotmum Sun 11-Feb-18 11:26:53

Thanks for all your really insightful comments. I will try to address some of the comments above:
First of all it's good to know we are not alone. I agree some kids may feel lonely and have a greater need to stay closer hence our understanding so far, all sounds normal actually.

My DD is indeed under pressure, she is training for a competition in March and no doubt feels the pressure building up at her training. I talk to her about it and she knows she always have the option to stop or drop a little training if she feels it is too much but she just want to do it.

DD already had her room decorated recently as we moved to a new house and have a brand new bed with a super comfy mattress (better than mine) but will maybe invest is some more cozy things for her for sure.

Also, I have a conversation with a friend recently who said that the only thing that worked for them was to be really strict. I am scared to try and think it will put her under even more pressure and means almost definitely a battle in the middle of the night which indeed sounds worse than what we have now.

Question for those who accepted this for ages.. this must have been very tough on intimacy? It is definitely becoming an issue for me so I don't want to see this continue any longer.

I am off to buy the clever night light suggested above...
keep all this great ideas coming.. Thanks!

doasIsaynotasIdo Sun 11-Feb-18 12:57:17

It has been tough with regards to intimacy. My husband and I try to make the most of the time when the kids are engrossed on their iPads, or try to meet up during the week when the kids are in school if our work schedules allow. Also, invest in a lock on the bedroom door for evenings after DD is in bed, so that no one gets a nasty surprise if she comes in unexpectedly! I'd be interested to know how you get on with the lumi light. Good luck OP.

Newmanwannabe Sun 11-Feb-18 15:20:21

I agree with mattress on the floor, and she’s not to wake you up. I think at this age you want to send the messsge they can come to you for anything, which you’re then contradicting if she is sent back to bed, upset. My DD10 is just getting out of the habit now (she was an every nighter). Younger DS comes in from time to time. They are both very stealthy and have mastered the creepy sneak army crawl so you just wake up and they are there! (There is a mattress under our bed if it all gets too much). They know they can come if they need, but that we prefer they stayed in their own beds, however they are not forbidden to come in.
It’s tough. And I think there are no right or wrong ways. Just what works for your family

twinone Sun 11-Feb-18 15:29:15

I had this.
I moved a bed into dd's room, that way we all had an unbroken nights sleep.
Pretty much as soon as she started high school, she asked me to move out. Thought she'd change her mind but no, she's stuck too it.
Thought I'd be in her room forever, so pleasantly surprised it stopped as soon as it started.
I secretly used to love sleeping with her, listening to her talking in her sleep grin

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Mon 12-Feb-18 08:33:44

I was 12 not 22!

Totally disagree with being strict. All that will happen is that the child in question has to cope with their fears, as well as dealing with the fear of not being able to talk about or feel safe to discuss it.

We tried strict. Wat a bloody nightmare. Made everything a 10000 times worse. Dd was beside herself

MincemeatTart Mon 12-Feb-18 08:37:41

I think at nine you can just take her back to her room and tell her to go back to sleep. Very firmly. The message being given is that she can’t do this and getting to sleep is something she needs support with. That makes it more stressful and fails to teach her she is able to manage her feelings. Night light if darkness is a problem.

Jeffjefftyjeff Mon 12-Feb-18 08:45:20

We had this until ds got new bed and mattress. This was coincidence rather than a very expensive test solution! One end of his bed is loads of pillows and cushions, including one of those breastfeeding ‘v’ pillows, so it’s sort of like a little cocoon. His covers are now heavier than on old bed as he got colder so we layered up. His bed also now faces a different way (in to house rather than out window) which may make a difference. Who knows?

newname098 Tue 17-Apr-18 22:35:03

we now have now placed a mattress on the floor. Same story! 9yr DD.. but we decided not to go strict as it 1 - does not help at all, and 2 - stresses everyone.

She is actually very interested in sorting it out herself, she is conscious this is an issue and not appropriate to her age and came in this eve with a cute cat night light (similar to the bedbug mentioned above) she found on Amazon and said she think it might help her. Prime and under £20 we are getting it tomorrow!!
fingers crossed.

BertieBotts Tue 17-Apr-18 22:40:35

Restrict her to only coming in on certain nights perhaps? She is old enough to understand that it affects your sleep. And work with her to find things she can self-comfort with on the other nights. If she is genuinely scared/anxious I do think it's a bit mean to refuse her comfort, especially if it's likely to be a symptom of some other stress, and even more so if this is temporary and likely to improve.

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