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AAAARGH! HELP I need to sleep!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Bear with me. We have quite the situation on our hands and my husband and I are in desperate need of sleep.
We have 2.5yr old twins and a six year old. They are all horrible sleepers.
They don't cosleep and never wanted to after six months of age.
My six yo gets up about three to four times a night and asks to be taken back to bed. My 2.5 yo boy gets out of bed in the middle of the night and runs around the house wreaking havock (opening fridge, trying to open front door, turning on lights, music, tv, making messes) and then ultimately comes to our room and wakes us at which point I take him back to his bed and stay with him until he falls asleep (through much grumbling on his part about how he doesn't want to sleep). Sometimes he gets his twin sister out of bed too and takes her along on these adventures. THis goes on at about 2 in the morning and dh and I are so tired we don't hear a thing.
This sometimes happens twice a night. Other times he just does it once and then wakes up again crying and asking to go outside or something, and I just go to him and stay with him till he falls asleep.
He ultimately wakes up at about 4:45 gets out of his crib goes and wakes up both of his sisters and then our horribly overtired day starts.
Our twins nap once a day for about 45 minutes. I don't know what to do anymore. I am at my wits end. We just cannot go on like this.
He refuses to sleep in our bed, as does our six yo.
Please help if you have any ideas, we are a chronically overtired family.
post #2 of 10
Lock the door to his room, so he can't get out in the middle of the night and run all over the house, wake his siblings up and wreak havoc?

You don't want to wake up one day and see the front door open and no son because he went trotting down the street............at this point, safety overrides everything else.

Maybe when he finds out that he is unable to open the bedroom door, he'll go back to bed before he "escapes" and becomes more and more stimulated as he runs around the house getting into things.
post #3 of 10
I, too would make it so that he can't leave the room. Every time then he's banging on the door to get out just go and put him back in bed.

Your 6 year old is old enough IMO to stay in her bed all night. Is she sleep walking? If not (if she's consciously coming in) then maybe a reward system? I mean that's just not acceptable. I wouldn't feel bad about or apologize for not accepting it anymore. Tell her you can't bring her back to bed anymore and she can either find her own way back or sleep on your floor.

I'd probably tackle one thing at a time (one child at a time). But to me this is more a discipline issue than a sleep one. Maybe if you frame it like that for yourself it will seem less overwhelming.
post #4 of 10
I read your post again........

I don't know the plan of your house, but maybe you can put some kind of door or gate in the hallway so he can't go any further than that. Maybe even put it in his bedroom doorway to prevent him from getting out and waking up his siblings.........but he might yell!!

You can unplug all electronic things so he can't turn on the lights, or TV, or music..........but I guess that's kind of hard with lights that turn on and off with switches (like hallway lights, bathroom lights....) I doubt that there's TV or music in the bathroom though.......

Putting their beds or mattresses in your room would be the best bet----even if they don't want it. Sometimes you can't always give your kids what they want----you have to do what YOU want to maintain your sanity and get some sleep. You have to think about yourself at this point, because if you continue to go on so sleep deprived, you're going to end up getting sick.

It sounds like he is the ringleader for these escapades.............but if you have to go in and be with him so he can go back to sleep, and if your sons are waking several times in the night, then having them in your bedroom (not necessarily in your own bed) would be the best. You could even put the gate in your bedroom doorway so he doesn't escape. Like I said, even though they don't want to, sometimes what they "want" has to be overridden for their safety and their parents sanity.
post #5 of 10
I had similar problems with my kids- early waking and the overtired crabby problems all day. I also had nightmares to contend with at the same time.
Do you have any problems getting the kids to sleep? Have you tried keeping them up later at night so they don't get up so early in the morning? Some kids can stay up later at night, and others have an internal clock that one cannot change

I would really look at your whole time line for the day. I would also move DS's Crib into your room, and put a gate at your door or lock/block it some how. That way if he's up- you will know. (now I hate to say this) Have you ever thought about trying one of those snap on crib tents that prevent children from climbing out? Also have a few small toys in his crib or on the floor that is OK for him to play with when he wakes up- "When you wake up, play with these toys, OK?" and he might remember- or at least see them. My DH would often set the toys up "ready for play" as he says. Always worked here with our early risers.

I also would start them all on Liquid Melatonin about 20min before their desired bed time. It has really helped my kids get back onto a normal routine. We've been using liquid melatonin for my 3yr old and my 2.5yr old and it's a HUGE change. I'm also starting to wean them off of it and so far the new routine of bedtime is sticking. My 5 yr old DD has been on it for a year for her severe extreme nightmares and nightwaking. It's amazing how well behaved they are with a good night's sleep. With a full 10-11hrs of sleep!
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you all. That helps a lot. It is hard sometimes to know where that line is. As for him getting out of the house, we now bolt the front door so he can't open it (there is no way he can reach the bolt). But I do think it has become a safety issue since I get the sense that he sort of doesn't really know what he's doing. The six year old isn't sleep walking, I think he is really the one who is waking her up. But now that you mention it I think it may be my son who is the one sleep-walking. My six year old did use to sleep-walk at that age but she would just sleep-walk around her room. She and my son are very similar in a lot of things so it is likely that he is sleepwalking too.
He has that totally irrational insistence on strange things, the hysterics at being touched, fearfulness at night which is totally inconsistent with his personality otherwise. So that is definitely something to think about.
I think at this point I will just have my mom come stay for a week and stay up all night (and sleep during the day for that week), that way if I can nip in the bud before he gets out of bed maybe he'll give up on it. The problem with him being in our room is that my husband and I are both really heavy sleepers and he sneaks out quietly when he goes on these escapades. The thing to do is physically block the room, like you guys said which is a little complicated (old house, no locks, two winged doors) but I'll think of something (gates he can scale).
Thank you all for your input! At one point you're so sleep deprived that you can't even think straight any more!
post #7 of 10
i use melatonin with 5yo dd. she's always been a horrible sleeper, even for the 4 years we co-slept. she was always tired which made her attitude suck - as did mine because i was so tired too!

i've tried a couple kinds of melatonin...the sublingual orange flavor has worked best for her and she actually LIKES taking it.

I give her some about 15 minutes before I want her to sleep, and if she wakes up in the middle of the night I'll give her a little more if she needs it (as long as it's not TOO close to "wake up" time).

It's not a total miracle. I mean, it ALWAYS gets her to fall asleep in under 15 minutes with absolutely NO battles. She actually requests that I turn her movie off (yes, bad parent...flame away) so she can sleep most nights! She usually does wake up once a night, but i just give her more melatonin and tuck her back in with no problem...USUALLY. Some nights she'll fight it. Not very often though...and it sure as heck beats her waking up and coming into our room 5 plus times a night throwing loud tantrums and screaming about not being tired or being scared of shadows (I've taken SO many things out of her room to prevent the scary shadows...she just keeps finding more things...).

Anyway. Works for us. I decided to try this after reading The Holistic Pediatrician. It's not "natural" though, fyi. It IS a hormone. So that's something to consider...
post #8 of 10
Sinice he can scale a baby gate, how about putting one baby gate on top of another in the doorway? They should stay that way when they are "locked" into the doorway.

I doubt that this is sleep walking, with all the things he is getting into and waking his sisters up.

If you have an old house with winged doors, then have a piece of plywood cut the width of the doorway and the height about halfway up (so he can't scale it) and put hook and eye closures on the other side so he can't reach them and unhook them and push the door down.

I don't think your Mom coming and you staying up all night for a week will do anything, quite frankly. You need to do something LONG TERM as far as discipline and letting him know that he CAN NOT kepe getting up out of bed and roaming around the house getting into trouble. You have to show him that HE IS NOT ALLOWED to wake his sisters up, HE IS NOT ALLOWED to roam around the house in the middle of the night, HE HAS TO STAY IN BED for the night. Same thing goes for the other kids----when they wake up, THEY HAVE TO EITHER STAY IN BED, OR WHEN THEY COME TO GET YOU THEY HAVE TO GO BACK INTO THEIR BEDS BY THEMSELVES. I don't think this is a sleep issue, to be quite honest. People wake up during sleep all the time, and they fall back to sleep without getting up and going into someone's room only to be walked back to their own room---when they come in your room, tell them to go back to bed, and THAT'S IT. If they want to come into bed with you or sleep on your bedroom floor, then fine, but make it clear to them that you are not walking them back to bed. If your son is afraid at night, then let him know he can sleep in your room, but you are not going to lay with him until he falls asleep.

You have to get your rest too, or else you are going to lose it! Kids know what they can get away with and what their parents will do in response to their behaviors. I think your son knows exactly what he is doing, because he is doing a lot of purposeful movements and actions and involving his siblings. He is totally awake and wants to get into some mischief! He knows he can do this because you sleep like a rock at night! Make it so that he can't do this. He'll probably protest when he can't get out of the room for the first few nights, but he will learn in a short time that he can't do what he's been doing.

If you stay up all night and sleep during the day for a week, that is going to screw upi your schedule and your body, and I don't think it's a good idea. Going from night sleeping to day sleeping is very difficult, even for people that work at night for a living. Plus--it will still be difficult for you to stay awake at night in a quiet house, and if you watch TV or if your son knows you're up, he will probably come out of his room and want to play!

Just my opinion.
post #9 of 10
I agree, it's not primarily a sleep issue at this point. It's a behavioral issue, and a serious safety issue, and I'd install locks on the doors if there aren't any built into the knobs.

I have gone through through phases of locking my kids doors at night - I wasn't comfortable with, but I was even LESS comfortable with the wandering - it was flat-out dangerous! My dh and I are also heavy sleepers, and didn't automatically wake up when the little feet went trotting down the hall. They are 3 and 6 now, and know to stay in their room until the sky is light and then they are free to come jump on us. They'll still call out for drinks of water, etc., but nothing that wrecks the whole night.

For the twins, I'd say get rid of the cribs, put the mattresses on the floor, strip their room of anything remotely dangerous and put a lock on the outside of the door that you lock right before you go to sleep and unlock first thing in the morning. When my ds was 2.5 and we lived in a house with a catwalk, this was the setup. As he started to potty train, I put a little Bjorn in the room in case he had the urge to use it while I was asleep. It was very hard psychologically for me to lock him in, but once I did it we were all SO MUCH BETTER OFF. He slept more soundly with the impulse to roam removed. I slept more soundly not constantly being worried about him in the back of my mind. Once he had a better sense of caution and safety, it was no big deal to either of us to start leaving the door unlocked.

As for your six-year-old - you may be able to correct the problem just by letting her see the modifications you make to the twins' room. Tell her that people with the maturity to stay safely in their bedroom at night and let Mom sleep don't need to be shut in - but people without that maturity are going to be shopping for a door lock. I'm not saying she'll never harass you at night again - but I'll bet you can bring it down to a tolerable level.
post #10 of 10
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

For the twins, I'd say get rid of the cribs, put the mattresses on the floor, strip their room of anything remotely dangerous and put a lock on the outside of the door that you lock right before you go to sleep and unlock first thing in the morning.
This is what we have done with the trips. We have a gate that they cannot scale, so we have not needed a lock on the door, but we are prepared to go that route if it becomes an issue.

At my parents' house, we do the two pressure gates on top of each other.
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