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Are your school-age kids (whether in family bed or own beds) able to fall asleep on their own??

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hey!  So....I was wondering for those of you who have done family bed, nurse/rock to sleep, etc. from the beginning...at what age were your children able to fall asleep on their own?  DD 7 and DS almost 5 sleep in a combination of their own beds and our bed (i.e. they usually start in their own beds, but are always welcome to come in our bed if and when they want to.) 

 

With DS, we read to him & lay with him until he is nearly asleep (usually a 1/2 hour all told).  Lately we've been leaving when he is still slightly more awake & letting him drift off on his own.

 

With DD - we used to do the same, but as she has gotten older, she wants to read to herself for awhile before bed.  This is fine...what's not fine is the million trips downstairs because she doesn't want to stay up there (not scared - just bored), singing loudly in her bed, and general inability to settle down to sleep.  We have tried many things (warm milk, Natural Calm magnesium stuff, soothing music, books on cd, guided meditation, fan/white noise, other bedtime rituals) and things were going well for awhile but now going down hill again....she doesn't fall asleep until we come up to bed at 10.  This is too late since she has to get up for school by 6:45!!

 

Any suggestions for helping kids with a tough time getting to sleep transition to "self-soothing"?  I hate when people expect babies to do that, but at 7 I'd like to help her learn how to relax herself & feel like I've used up what I know to do!

post #2 of 17

We still co-sleep, tho its more part time, and he has been able to fall asleep on his own since he stopped nursing. He is now almost 10 and we tuck him, give him a kiss and leave.  Sometimes he is asleep in minutes, other times he might read for an hour.

 

At age 6 or 7 he did go thru a short period of "being scared", "needing water", "there is a fly in my room", and other distractions stage.  But it was short lived.  

 

At age 7 you should be able to to have a rational conversation with her about expectations as well as why she thinks she can't fall asleep. I found these types of conversations were most successful on a long walk or in the car.

 

My other thought is how long did you try all the other methods? New habits can take up  to (and sometimes longer) 14 days to form. I would avold trying one right after the other as that can confuse her.

 

as a last resort, what about melatonin?

post #3 of 17
My co-slept, nursed-to-sleep kids were going to sleep on their own around 4, I think (it's sort of a blur). I know we were still lying down with them at 3, but then tapered it off. The youngest definitely started going to sleep on his own at night earlier - he had the example of his big brother, and they were both in the same room (bunk beds).

So from my perspective, I can't imagine lying down with a 7yo, or how irritating I would find all those trips downstairs. That would be completely unacceptable in our family and honestly, we wouldn't tolerate it. Dh and I need our time together in the evenings. Our kids (8 and 11) are in bed with the lights out at 8. We are totally fine with them staying up reading with their flashlights; the oldest usually reads till 9. But they stay in their rooms and are quiet.

Your dd is old enough that you can have a serious discussion with her about this. I'd start by letting her know that she needs to stay in her room once you've said goodnight. You could do a reward system, perhaps, so many points for each night she stays in her room, and a certain amount of points earns a treat?

I'd also put my foot down about the loud singing. Bedtime needs to be quiet time. Not knowing anything about your dd, I would guess that the constant getting out of bed is what is keeping her awake (that and the loud singing) more than an inability to fall asleep, and that if she actually stays in bed quietly, she will fall asleep.

Best of luck. This sounds like an awful situation!
post #4 of 17

My dd was able to fall asleep on her own by the time she was 2 (she's always been remarkably easy to get to bed).  Ds took till about 2.5, until he was able to fall asleep without me.  It helps that he shares a room/bed with dd.

 

My dd is now 6.5 and I let her read herself to sleep.  She knows that she needs to just read quietly.  If she starts making noise we are right up there and we aren't happy.  We don't yell or anything, but we remind her (with serious look on face) that it is time to go to bed. period. no noise.  It's rare that she gets out of bed, and only if there's a real problem (needs to go pee, accidentally knocked her water glass over, etc).

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post



So from my perspective, I can't imagine lying down with a 7yo, or how irritating I would find all those trips downstairs. That would be completely unacceptable in our family and honestly, we wouldn't tolerate it. Dh and I need our time together in the evenings. Our kids (8 and 11) are in bed with the lights out at 8. We are totally fine with them staying up reading with their flashlights; the oldest usually reads till 9. But they stay in their rooms and are quiet.

Your dd is old enough that you can have a serious discussion with her about this. I'd start by letting her know that she needs to stay in her room once you've said goodnight. You could do a reward system, perhaps, so many points for each night she stays in her room, and a certain amount of points earns a treat?.

Best of luck. This sounds like an awful situation!


Wow!  It's really NOT awful....but maybe my OP was on a day that I was overly frustrated;)  I love laying down with her at bedtime & hearing about her day, etc...we have started doing some rewards since I first posted and so far (one week) so good:)

 

post #6 of 17

We did partial co-sleeping until 2, and they are welcome into our bed if they need to come.  All three of ours have happily gone to their own beds, and gone to bed without cosleeping since then, though.

 

I don't actually know when they fall asleep.  Usually sometime during the 40 minutes that their story CD is running.  Sometimes my oldest says he was awake much later than that, but I am not sure about that.  They all stay in their own beds and we have not had 'battles' with this issue at all.

post #7 of 17

My oldest has been sleeping on her own since she was about 3 without a fuss.  She knows that bedtime is bedtime and we expect sleep and quiet time, she may read with a flashlight or find something else calm and quiet to do to unwind, but getting out of bed without a reason isn't acceptable. My 2 year old does pretty well- he's almost three and will usually go o sleep well if I catch him at the right time.  He is in the middle of a sleep-fighting phase right now though so bedtime sometimes takes 20 minutes instead of the normal 5-10 minutes.  I don't usually do storytime etc. in their rooms, it is something we do as a family right before bed on the couch in the living room.  The 21 month old is just learning about sleeping on his own, and has never been good at settling himself.  I suspect he will be harder than the others. 

 

I would be really frustrated and annoyed by kids who are school age and don't understand that bedtime is bedtime and it is time for them to be quiet and settle into their sleep routine. Once kids are verbal enough to converse about something like that it's pretty easy to make it clear that you aren't happy with their choices when they don't make the right ones. I don't have a problem with not being able to fall asleep- they can read or listen to a story cd, but they need to stay in bed.  

post #8 of 17

I guess I'm the odd-man out. I lay with my kids (ages 4 and turning 7) until they are sleepy. I like the peacefulness of lying in the dark. It gives me the energy to go downstairs and do something. If I really have something I need to do (like folding laundry or computer work, I might do that in the doorway,) but otherwise, I stay with the kids for a while. I don't feel like I'm crippling them, or anything.

post #9 of 17

DSD co-slept with first her mom and dad, then just her dad after the divorce, then with her dad and I until she was just past 6. She transitioned into her own bedroom for MOST of the night first, getting in with us around 5am, then her own bedroom with an alarm clock around mid-fall of her first grade year, so 6 yrs 3-4 months. She made this transition by having movies on in her room and the TV on a timer (which I HATED but whatever worked at that point!) With the introduction of the alarm clock came the rule of, "Unless you are ill, or it is thunderstorming, stay in your room or bathroom until the alarm goes off." Since the alarm clock was introduced, she has not ever left her room between the hours of 8:15pm and 7:30am. (Or 8 on weekends). It was a very easy transition for us. She was told the rule, and that was that. She now showers, comes downstairs to say goodnight, and that is the last we hear of her until the next morning.  She will be 8 next month. She also no longer needs the TV on to fall asleep, thankfully. She generally reads for a while or colors, then turns off her lights.

post #10 of 17

All of my kids have been falling asleep on their own by two, my oldest was the oldest at 2, DD was doing it by 9mo, DS2 around 18 months, and DS3 at 14 months. They all had really different needs when it came to sleeping as infants. DS1 wanted physical touch all night, DD would FLIP if anyone touched her while sleeping, etc. They all were fine going to sleep by two though.

 

post #11 of 17

DD1 is 8 and has a rough time going to sleep alone. She just moved into her own room this spring and still gets anxious at night. She does have anxiety issues, night time has always been hard for her. We have to check on her every 10-15 minutes until she is asleep, that can take 1+ hours. She rarely ever falls asleep before 9pm no matter what we do. DD2 is almost 5 and has to have a parent lay with her until she is asleep, she still co-sleeps as well. I'd like to eventually get her sleeping with DD1, I think that would help both of them but she flat out refuses to right now. 

post #12 of 17

Our 4 1/2 year old has been in his own bed right beside our for about a year now.  It took him a while to get to that point, feeling strongly about sleeping in our bed at least until he fell asleep, and then often would ask to come back to our bed sometime in the middle of the night. We weren't really opposed to him being in our bed except for the fact that he very often wets the bed at night.  Wetting his plastic coated mattress is an much easier clean up than wetting our futon mattress.  He now sleeps in his bed from start to finish. 

 

Regarding the question of falling asleep on his own (which is a discussion I was searching for today) we have just recently starting introducing the idea of him being able to go to sleep on his own without us in the room.  Our routine after lights out is for one of us to lay beside him, at which time he asks (in the sweetest way) "Will you tell me about our day and rub my hair?"  He's been asking for that since he was at least 2 y.o.  So we give our rundown of the day while running our fingers through his hair, say our goodnights, and stay there until he falls asleep.  At that point we're either asleep ourselves or ready to leave the room and do whatever we need/want to do around the house. To the suggestion of falling asleep on his own, he has expressed that he does not like this idea at all.  He has expressed that he is afraid and it seems like it has prompted some anxiety in him. We are planning on making this a gradual process for him and are not rushing anything, but it is interesting to me how that attachment specific to nighttime is so pronounced.  We want to acknowledge and respect that, and just keep talking about it with him during the day until he feels more comfortable with the concept.  From reading the posts in this discussion it seems, like so many things, that each family's circumstances as it relates to this issue is unique.  Definitely some common threads, but I guess it's nice to see that people don't necessarily feel pressured (or pressure their kids) to accomplish this before they are ready.

post #13 of 17

Yes. We tell them to go to bed, they brush their teeth, put PJs on (if they want), give us hugs, and go to bed. They usually stay up reading and talking in bed for a while before falling asleep, but I am not involved unless it gets too late and I turn the lights out and tell them to be quiet. 

post #14 of 17
Yes. However, I do know other school-aged kids who can't. This would never work for me, though.
post #15 of 17

We all room shared until we moved into our new house. . .DD was 8 and DS was 5.  DD has had no problems sleeping in her own room, but still likes to come in our room once a week to sleep.  She's old enough that we can kiss her goodnight and tuck her in and she goes to sleep usually right away (unless DS is bugging her).  DS still sleeps in our room and will stay awake most nights until we come to bed.  He often comes out in the hall or asks for glasses of water.  Now, when he does this, we explain that it's now mommy and daddy time and he needs to stay in the room and read books or something until we come to bed.  He doesn't like to sleep, he's never been a big sleeper, but DH and I need our alone time.  I've tried lying down with DS to get him to sleep earlier, but he just can't fall asleep before midnight or after and I'm not too worried about it as long as he stays in the room.

post #16 of 17

I've often wondered when this might be the case for us.  Not any time soon, I don't think.  Ours are 3 and 13 months. 

 

Out of curiosity, what do you do in the mornings when you don't cosleep and the kids wake up in a different room?  Do they come and get you?  Trying to figure out how it could work.

post #17 of 17

Interesting to see this - my DD went from a great solo sleeper to ... not so much ... after the birth of our son a year ago. Before - even when she'd sleep in our bed, she'd read by herself, click off the light and go to sleep. She also had a nice music CD.

 

I think frankly it's less anxiety or jealousy and just ... something else ...  - she's always been a "give me an inch, I'll take a mile," kid - so when we started laying with her a little to go to sleep, that one night turned into two, which turned into every night, which turned into 15 min to fall asleep, which turned into 1 hour to fall asleep. Etc.

 

MY idea is to just explain to her that at a certain point - she's got to go to sleep on her own. I know she'll be upset for a few days but it will work if we can stick to it. My problem is DH - who I'm afraid will cave if/when she gets upset and does the "I'm scared," "I miss you," thing.

 

The problem is that me and DH have NO time together at all at this point. Even if I get the baby down (in our bed) at a reasonable hour, DH laying with DD (in her bed) and will generally fall asleep. By 10 pm I'm ready for bed and he'll wake up at 1 am and then be awake for a few hours, leaving him unable to take the baby when he wakes at 6am.

 

It's kind of a mess. greensad.gif

 

So I guess I have no advice for you!

 

 

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