6.5yo keeps getting out of bed and other bedtime trouble - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 06-17-2011, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS1 is 6.5.  He's always been the type who needed a lot of snuggling to sleep as a baby/toddler.  He was doing great with the routine we ended up with recently, with dh doing a story with him in the master bedroom, me doing story with ds2 in the boys' bedroom, then he would SNEAK IN QUIETLY to his bed and wait for me to be done with ds2, so I could do a nice bedtime hug, etc, with him.  

 

 Well..... the last couple weeks/months he is back to making all kinds of deliberate noises when he comes in the room. Stomping in, clapping randomly!, shuffling the sheets really loud, while ds2 is trying to fall asleep.  (ds2 is 4 and actually goes to sleep fast, he closes his eyes and tries to sleep!) 

 

Then, after the longish goodnight (which is never long enough) he gets out of bed, comes to the top of the stairs with some reason, sometimes 3 or 4 times... it's too hot, it's too cold, it's too light, it's too dark, I'm not falling asleep,....etc. 

 

So far I've been dealing with the noise by sending him out of the room when he makes noise (and more recently I'm telling him not to come in until I get him, and the getting out of bed, I say a quick sentence nicely, and tell him to get back to bed. DH thinks he needs more "negative consequences"..... that doesn't sound like what he needs at bedtime for a restful night....... but what do I do?

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#2 of 7 Old 06-17-2011, 07:01 PM
 
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One of my almost 6 yo dds started having bedtime troubles like you describe.  We gave her some things to do in her bed while waiting for me to finish "chats" with her twin who falls asleep quickly.  We let her keep the light on and let soft music play in the room (doesn't disturb sis) for an hour later than was her usual bedtime.  The things to do her bed are a drawing pad, books, figurines to tell stories with....  After I say good night to her sister I sit on her bed and draw with her for a bit.  After I say good night the light stays on until lights out; she may come out once or twice, but she's much more peaceful than she was.  I think she's shifted to needing a later bedtime.

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#3 of 7 Old 06-17-2011, 07:42 PM
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My 5.5 year old sometimes 'reads' her babies and stuffed animal friends stories while she's going to sleep. How much sleep is your DS1 getting a night? My DD only sleeps 10 and really can't go to sleep unless she's been up 14 hours.  I have to wake her early if I need to change her bedtime. Sometimes a 4 and 6 year old need different amounts of sleep. Have you tried having your DH read your DS1 stories until you are done getting your 4 year old to sleep?

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#4 of 7 Old 06-17-2011, 11:49 PM
 
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Can you stagger their bedtimes a bit so the 6 year old doesn't come in until the 4 year old is down? Have you switched up who puts which kid to bed? It sounds like you're always doing the 4 year old and dad is always doing the 6 1/2 year old, right? So maybe the 6 1/2 year old wants your attention?

 

We started to stagger our kids' bedtimes when they didn't want to listen to the same books. Dh and I take turns putting the kids to bed -- so I do 2 nights, dh does 2 nights (usually, if there aren't other things going on). So, while one of us reads to the younger child (who needs more sleep), the older child is quietly reading on the couch and/or shooting hoops with a nerf basketball in the kitchen. Then he gets his story and his time alone with his parent. It also helps in that one of us gets the night 'off'. (It's only partially off because our older child likes our attention while the younger child is being read to. But because she's much more insistent about getting our attention, that's a good thing.)

 

The other thing that has worked really well for our kids is to have a set time to go check on them. when they were younger, we'd actually set the timer for increasing intervals -- starting with 5 minutes, then 10, then 15, then 20. When the timer went off, we'd go up, check on the kids quickly and then go out. But we'd only do it if they were in bed.

 

Finally, the bottom line in our house is: If you can't sleep, you can get up for 30 minutes. BUT you have to try to sleep. You have to lie quiet and still in your bed for 20 minutes (and yes, I set the timer). If you do that and you're not asleep, you can get up, spend some time with us in the living room playing (but not bugging us because dh and I both have work to do in the evenings), and try again. For dd, I don't think I've ever had a time when she's actually gotten up after the 20 minute timer. For ds, about 1/2 the time he'll get up.


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#5 of 7 Old 06-18-2011, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crowcaw View Post

One of my almost 6 yo dds started having bedtime troubles like you describe.  We gave her some things to do in her bed while waiting for me to finish "chats" with her twin who falls asleep quickly.  We let her keep the light on and let soft music play in the room (doesn't disturb sis) for an hour later than was her usual bedtime.  The things to do her bed are a drawing pad, books, figurines to tell stories with....  After I say good night to her sister I sit on her bed and draw with her for a bit.  After I say good night the light stays on until lights out; she may come out once or twice, but she's much more peaceful than she was.  I think she's shifted to needing a later bedtime.



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post

My 5.5 year old sometimes 'reads' her babies and stuffed animal friends stories while she's going to sleep. How much sleep is your DS1 getting a night? My DD only sleeps 10 and really can't go to sleep unless she's been up 14 hours.  I have to wake her early if I need to change her bedtime. Sometimes a 4 and 6 year old need different amounts of sleep. Have you tried having your DH read your DS1 stories until you are done getting your 4 year old to sleep?



Cool, I figured out multiquote! You both bring up the idea of a later bedtime.  Maybe I should consider that he doesn't need as much sleep as he used to.  He's been falling asleep around 8:45 (as far as I can tell, many nights, sometimes later) and he wakes around 6:30 - sometimes earlier, sometimes later.  I think the goal of 10 hours is good, and I think he's getting that. I fear that a later bedtime will deprive him of sleep, since he tends to wake early no matter what.  I could try letting him have an extra 10 minutes or so of quiet/reading time in the master bedroom after I say goodnight.  I'll consider that.

 

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#6 of 7 Old 06-18-2011, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Can you stagger their bedtimes a bit so the 6 year old doesn't come in until the 4 year old is down? Have you switched up who puts which kid to bed? It sounds like you're always doing the 4 year old and dad is always doing the 6 1/2 year old, right? So maybe the 6 1/2 year old wants your attention?

 

We started to stagger our kids' bedtimes when they didn't want to listen to the same books. Dh and I take turns putting the kids to bed -- so I do 2 nights, dh does 2 nights (usually, if there aren't other things going on). So, while one of us reads to the younger child (who needs more sleep), the older child is quietly reading on the couch and/or shooting hoops with a nerf basketball in the kitchen. Then he gets his story and his time alone with his parent. It also helps in that one of us gets the night 'off'. (It's only partially off because our older child likes our attention while the younger child is being read to. But because she's much more insistent about getting our attention, that's a good thing.)

 

The other thing that has worked really well for our kids is to have a set time to go check on them. when they were younger, we'd actually set the timer for increasing intervals -- starting with 5 minutes, then 10, then 15, then 20. When the timer went off, we'd go up, check on the kids quickly and then go out. But we'd only do it if they were in bed.

 

Finally, the bottom line in our house is: If you can't sleep, you can get up for 30 minutes. BUT you have to try to sleep. You have to lie quiet and still in your bed for 20 minutes (and yes, I set the timer). If you do that and you're not asleep, you can get up, spend some time with us in the living room playing (but not bugging us because dh and I both have work to do in the evenings), and try again. For dd, I don't think I've ever had a time when she's actually gotten up after the 20 minute timer. For ds, about 1/2 the time he'll get up.



A lot of good ideas here.  I did the checking-on thing, just now.  We used to do the checking at intervals (we did 1 minute, then 2, then eventually more) when he was first learning to go to sleep on his own (when ds2 was a new baby in the house and I quickly learned how impossible it could be to be there constantly for both of them at bedtime, after the first couple double crying/screaming fests when I attempted bedtime for both by myself - make that triple, I was practically crying too, I sure don't miss those baby/toddler days!)   Anyway, just now the promise of checking on him in 10 minutes seemed to keep him in bed.  

 

I'm realllly reluctant to let him be downstairs with us after his bedtime.  We don't hang around quietly and boringly working.  We're usually eating dinner or watching some grown-up tv (you know, just regular tv!).  He is not the type to stay to himself when what he really wants is more company from me!  But I'm sure you're onto something.  I know he wants more of me.  I do these long drawn-out bedtimes with him sometimes, with a story that I tell, and talking about the day, and just lying there snuggling, and no matter what he starts complaining and drawing it out when it's time for me to go.  And he will not fall asleep with me there (used to try that).  It's just so frustrating to want to just get on with the evening and eat or start a load of laundry or relax and he keeps needing me instead of trying to sleep.  I guess it's an age-old frustration.

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#7 of 7 Old 06-21-2011, 06:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by reezley View Post

I'm realllly reluctant to let him be downstairs with us after his bedtime.  We don't hang around quietly and boringly working.  We're usually eating dinner or watching some grown-up tv (you know, just regular tv!).  He is not the type to stay to himself when what he really wants is more company from me!  But I'm sure you're onto something.  I know he wants more of me.  I do these long drawn-out bedtimes with him sometimes, with a story that I tell, and talking about the day, and just lying there snuggling, and no matter what he starts complaining and drawing it out when it's time for me to go.  And he will not fall asleep with me there (used to try that).  It's just so frustrating to want to just get on with the evening and eat or start a load of laundry or relax and he keeps needing me instead of trying to sleep.  I guess it's an age-old frustration.



I don't happily allow my kids downstairs after bedtime either. Even my introvert suddenly becomes  a chatterbox at 9:45 in the evening when I need to get a lecture written for the next day! The getting up is really only when it's clear they can't fall asleep and when they've tried (truly tried) to be quiet and still for 20 minutes. If they've fallen asleep in the car or otherwise had a nap, sometimes they truly aren't tired at bedtime. I think dd has made it past the 20 minutes being quiet and still once in her life.

 

Some thoughts about the tension between 'more of you' at bedtime and your need to get things done -- One thought would be to see if you can rearrange your evenings a bit so you're not so frantic to get stuff done -- would it work to have dinner as a family rather than you and dh waiting until the kids are in bed? What about involving the kids in some evening chores? It takes 3x as long, but it is something we do (when our schedule permits). My 7 year old can sort and start a load of laundry, clean the sinks or the toilet, mop the floors, or vacuum. Another thought would be to see if you can spend some one-on-one time during the day. My favorite parenting book, Playful Parenting, elegantly makes the point that if we spend time filling our kids' cups of attention, their behavior really improves. I know that when I get a chance to spend 30 minutes or so just playing with my kids one-on-one it really helps. I try to do that 5-6 times a week. Sometimes I achieve only 1-2 times. But if I get below about 2 times a week, they suddenly become very very needy.

 

Finally, at times in my kids' lives, I've just had to resign myself to the hour and a half bedtime routine, and found that I was more content when I didn't try to get other things done.


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