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#1 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This really has to do with parenting and the family bed, but I'm going to put it here because it's probably most related to school.

Dd, 2nd grade, attends a language immersion school that she absolutely LOVES. She has been there from the 3yo program, being immersed in the target language and she has friends that she literally has grown up with. She thrives at this school. She is social, loves her teachers, is independent and one of the best students in an academically challenging environment that suits her personality well.

However, there is one thing that we are apprehensive about. The kids in 2nd grade are required (part of their grade) to spend a night at camp. It will increase to when they will eventually start doing exchange programs abroad in a few years. So this year, one night, next year, two nights, ect. 3 trips abroad between 5th and 12th.

Here's the thing... dd can't sleep alone yet. She has not spent a night outside of the family bed since she was born 8 years ago. I take that back, she'll occasionally sleep in my mom's bed (mom lives with us in her own addition on the house), but most of the time, she ends up back in bed with us even then.

She does sleep in the top bunk above me when we rent cabins with bunk beds. Sometimes she climbs down and gets in bed with me, but can and has slept by herself when we've been camping.

She wants to go on this trip (and "technically" it's required), but I respect her needs and know that eventually, she *will* outgrow wanting to co-sleep. I co-slept with my parents (at the foot of their bed, not between them) until I was about 9. Then after they divorced, my mom and I often slept in the same bed because we were both lonely (I was around 12) and I had just lost a brother to a fire and was scared. I understand the need to have family around you when you are at your most vulnerable time of the day (or night as it were). I respect that in dd. (She's an only child, btw.)

I don't think that the school will accept this to excuse her from this trip. Eventually, I *DO* want her to be able to go on these trips, as the cultural diversity is one reason we're sending her to this school. Just the other day I was at a meeting and when someone found out where dd attends school, they said, "Oh, yeah, I know that school. They say that eating lunch there is like eating lunch at the U.N." It really is a great school and I think she would benefit in many ways if she could go on this 2 day camp. I really think if she'd just go, she would have a BLAST! But I won't force her and the idea makes her very nervous.

BTW - no parents allowed on the trip.

Sorry this is so long. Anyway, I'm looking for any suggestions, thoughts? We've been talking to dd about this for a year (knowing it was coming), and she has tried to sleep alone, but it never worked.
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#2 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 09:32 AM
 
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She's 8. She wants to go. I think she understands the consequences of choosing to go - she has to sleep alone. If she can't sleep, she'll have a rough night. Children act very differently in different contexts and different people. My son is capable of falling asleep on his own at daycare. At home? No way.

Chances are, they won't get much sleep anyway! Or, they will be so worn out that they will all sleep easily and soundly. If she is uncomfortable, is there someone she can go to to talk about it? Counselor, teacher? Does she have a friend she can confide in if she is scared?

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#3 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 09:59 AM
 
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I would not harp on the fact that she will be sleeping "alone" that one night, especially if she is otherwise eager to go. In any case, she will be with friends and other known adults will be close by, so not exactly the same as sleeping in a big room by yourself. If she is just nervous, but not panicked about it, I would just focus on all the great things she will get to do at the camp. She just might surprise you (and herself). If she does want to talk about it, get down to what her exact fears are so that you can address those, rather than the "general" idea of sleeping alone. And let her know that it is only for the one night and she can come back to your bed when she comes home.

Apparently doing it rong and ruining it for everyone, but I don't give a crap anymorebanana.gif

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#4 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 10:01 AM
 
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I expect that she won't be the first child who is a little lonely, homesick or scared at bedtime at the camp. Even if the other children have been used to sleeping alone, bedtime problems occur pretty often at sleep-away camps.

I would speak to the school and teachers/camp counsellors about your concerns and ask how they handle lonely children at bedtime.

You can try some of the techniques parents use for separation anxiety during the first days of school. Give her a special comfort object to hang onto at bedtime, and maybe a letter to read or a recording of your voice (unless you think that will make her even more homesick).

When she has tried to sleep alone, has it been in a room by herself? I imagine at camp she will be in a cabin or tent with several other children and possibly a teacher/counsellor. It isn't quite the same as being in bed with mom and dad, but it isn't the same as being entirely alone in a room either. If she's slept in a bunk bed, it won't be too different.
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#5 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She's 8. She wants to go. I think she understands the consequences of choosing to go - she has to sleep alone. If she can't sleep, she'll have a rough night. Children act very differently in different contexts and different people. My son is capable of falling asleep on his own at daycare. At home? No way.

Chances are, they won't get much sleep anyway! Or, they will be so worn out that they will all sleep easily and soundly. If she is uncomfortable, is there someone she can go to to talk about it? Counselor, teacher? Does she have a friend she can confide in if she is scared?
Dd has never been able to fall asleep without us in the room. She is a horrible sleeper and always has been. When she was small, her sleep cycles were 37 minutes and if I wasn't there with my breast ready to nurse her back to sleep, she would cry and not go back to sleep. That was the only time I ever tried to let her cry herself back to sleep and it was so horrible for both of us, I swore I'd never do it again. Even now she doesn't STTN and reaches for me in the middle of the night... if dh or I are not in bed, she's wide awake trying to find us.

Her best friend is in another class and will not be in the same cabin as her. It might be a good idea for me to see if they can't make an exception and put her in with her best friend, though. Thanks for that suggestion.

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I would not harp on the fact that she will be sleeping "alone" that one night, especially if she is otherwise eager to go. In any case, she will be with friends and other known adults will be close by, so not exactly the same as sleeping in a big room by yourself. If she is just nervous, but not panicked about it, I would just focus on all the great things she will get to do at the camp. She just might surprise you (and herself). If she does want to talk about it, get down to what her exact fears are so that you can address those, rather than the "general" idea of sleeping alone. And let her know that it is only for the one night and she can come back to your bed when she comes home.
I haven't harped on the fact that she'll sleep alone. I've been stressing that it will be like camping. She loves it when we go camping, but her nighttime fears definitely trump any daytime enjoyment. She is stressed about this, and I'm stressed trying to find a good solution. I think she should go. I won't disrespect her needs, though. I hope you're right and that she'll surprise us both if she goes. She won't even spend the night in my mom's room, though, so I'm not holding out hope.

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I expect that she won't be the first child who is a little lonely, homesick or scared at bedtime at the camp. Even if the other children have been used to sleeping alone, bedtime problems occur pretty often at sleep-away camps.

I would speak to the school and teachers/camp counsellors about your concerns and ask how they handle lonely children at bedtime.

You can try some of the techniques parents use for separation anxiety during the first days of school. Give her a special comfort object to hang onto at bedtime, and maybe a letter to read or a recording of your voice (unless you think that will make her even more homesick).

When she has tried to sleep alone, has it been in a room by herself? I imagine at camp she will be in a cabin or tent with several other children and possibly a teacher/counsellor. It isn't quite the same as being in bed with mom and dad, but it isn't the same as being entirely alone in a room either. If she's slept in a bunk bed, it won't be too different.
She has tried to sleep alone on a camp bed in our room. She hasn't been able to do that. She DOES sleep alone in the top bunk camping, though. She will be with other children. I hope I can get her in with her best friend as a pp suggested.

Great ideas... thanks everyone. Just talking about it make me feel better about encouraging her to go.
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#6 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 10:43 AM
 
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a) it's one night, if she doesn't sleep well she will manage and b) it's camp with a bunch of other kids, they will probably chatter and giggle til some ridiculous hour anyway, and then sleep from sheer exhaustion.

nothing more to say I guess :
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#7 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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a) it's one night, if she doesn't sleep well she will manage and b) it's camp with a bunch of other kids, they will probably chatter and giggle til some ridiculous hour anyway, and then sleep from sheer exhaustion.
Thanks for the reply.

One night, yes, but if it's traumatic for her, then how will it go when she has to do it next year, and the next year? Better to have her feel confident about going the first time so that she doesn't have fears later. That's what I'm thinking, anyway.

Unfortunately, they won't get to stay up and chat. It's not going to be quite like summer camp in that respect... more strict. And I don't think they'll let dd sleep with a friend if she gets scared. She doesn't have a lovey or anything she sleeps with (except mom and dad).

I want dd to have a realistic expectation and be able to accept the trip on her own terms. I don't want to ruin it for future years, IYKWIM.
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#8 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 01:07 PM
 
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Thanks for the reply.

One night, yes, but if it's traumatic for her, then how will it go when she has to do it next year, and the next year? Better to have her feel confident about going the first time so that she doesn't have fears later. That's what I'm thinking, anyway.

Unfortunately, they won't get to stay up and chat. It's not going to be quite like summer camp in that respect... more strict. And I don't think they'll let dd sleep with a friend if she gets scared. She doesn't have a lovey or anything she sleeps with (except mom and dad).

I want dd to have a realistic expectation and be able to accept the trip on her own terms. I don't want to ruin it for future years, IYKWIM.
I think that if you drill in reality to much she will be scared to go and have a hard time seeing the fun side of sleeping at the school and it will do more damage than if you try to talk about the sleep over as positive. This is a big adjustment for you, it is hard when kids sleep over somewhere else for the first time. I think you need to be careful to just tell her what the sleeping arrangements will be then help her plan for how she will help herself be happy for the one night. Try not to let your sadness and worry overshadow her excitement.
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#9 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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Maybe you and she can pick out a special stuffed animal to be her "lovey" for this trip. Something she can hold onto, cuddle up with, and whisper her fears to.

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#10 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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Have you discussed her night time issues with the teacher at all? Is there anyway you could pick up late at night and drop off early morning? Sorry you (and she) are having so much anxiety. My ds went on a trip in 3rd grade for 4 days with school. Only about 2/3 of the kids went due to the length. Now in 5th grade, they all went for 5 days.
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#11 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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Does the school need volunteer chaperones for this trip? Maybe you could do that...?
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#12 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 01:49 PM
 
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Could you do something like send along a portable CD player with some soothing, familiar music, or a relaxation or story cd? Would it be helpful to have something from you with her? A recorded message for night time, a letter to read?

I really get this. My dd is older, but really stresses about overnights. It produces a lot of anxiety. If she's motivated to stay overnight she'll often keep herself awake the entire night. I didn't mind so much when she was younger, but now I think that there are implications, socially as well as for other interesting opportunities.
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#13 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My anxiety from this only comes because she has been talking about it a lot and when she does, she is wringing her hands and acting very agitated. I *WANT* her to go. Dh and I have not had an entire night in our bed together for over 8 years now... believe me... I WANT this to happen and am trying to handle this in absolutely the best way possible for it to happen.

They are talking about it at school a lot. For some kids, this is the first time camping and others are scared about that aspect of it (not dd, though, as we camp a few times a year, primitive and in cabins). I don't bring the subject of the trip up unless dd does and then I calmly try to just tell her that it will be just like when we go cabin camping, except there will be other adults instead of us. The trip is in 3 weeks, though and they are talking about it more and more. It's making dd more and more anxious.

Unfortunately, her beloved teacher that would be a huge comfort to her will not be in the same cabin. It's a male teacher and he will be with the boys. Her cabin "mother" will be the French teacher (dd is in Spanish immersion) and dd says she is a strict teacher. I think that has her worried as well. Dd is a very loving, hugging, gentle personality. She's not really sensitive, but speaking harshly to her makes her feel isolated and vulnerable. This teacher is not known for gentle understanding. I can imagine, if dd is really scared, that she would just spend her night crying quietly under the covers and not saying anything. No matter what circumstances or what age, I would NEVER want my child to have to go through that.

I don't know why I'm explaining all that. Just that this will be her very first time away from home. She will not have a trip to the grandparents or a sleepover at a friend's or a night at her cousins' under her belt, so this will be a HUGE leap for her and I want to make sure it's a great experience.

It sounds like most people think I should just make her go even if she is apprehensive about it.

I like the idea of buying a lovey specially for this trip. I think we'll do that.

Again, I appreciate the replies. I realize that people with older kids, even if they co-slept when they were younger, probably cannot imagine what an 8 yo is still doing co-sleeping. Maybe I'll post this in the family bed forum. I know there are some people there still co-sleeping at this age. The camp itself is not a problem at all... it's just those dark hours and if you're afraid of the dark, you're afraid of the dark. Heck, *I* don't like sleeping alone.
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#14 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 02:04 PM
 
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Okay, here's what I would do. I have an anxious 3rd grader and we've got an overnight school trip coming up this year, too.

First, does she have her own bed? Try lying down with her in her own bed (we recently got a bunk with a double on the bottom just for this reason) to get her to sleep. After she's asleep, having told her about this ahead of time, make your break for your room or wherever else in the house you want to go. Be sure to tell her ahead of time that you might get up out of the bed and she is welcome to come find you. You want her to have some success in sleeping alone, but you don't want it to be a big "you have to sleep in your own bed" thing. She is welcome to come crawl in bed with you. When you've had some success with that and she is sleeping some amount of time on her own in her own bed then proceed to step 2 — the sleep-over!

Do you think the best friend's parents would be up for a couple of sleep-overs? I'd start by having the best friend come over to your house for a sleep-over and see how that goes. You can still lie down in dd's bed or read them a story or whatever seems best. You could let them both come sleep with you if needed.

After some success with best friend sleeping at your house, try moving it to the best friend's house. Let the parents know that they can call you if necessary. If it seems like dd needs that reassurance, too, you can tell her that as well, but if it seems like that's just going to make her want to call then maybe hold off on planting that seed.

With all those successes under her belt see how she feels about the camp now. If she feels successful at sleeping without you then chances are she'll be fine and ready to go.

hth

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#15 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does the school need volunteer chaperones for this trip? Maybe you could do that...?
No, teachers only.
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#16 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First, does she have her own bed? Try lying down with her in her own bed (we recently got a bunk with a double on the bottom just for this reason) to get her to sleep.

After some success with best friend sleeping at your house, try moving it to the best friend's house. Let the parents know that they can call you if necessary. If it seems like dd needs that reassurance, too, you can tell her that as well, but if it seems like that's just going to make her want to call then maybe hold off on planting that seed.

With all those successes under her belt see how she feels about the camp now. If she feels successful at sleeping without you then chances are she'll be fine and ready to go.

hth
Thanks. Yes, I've tried putting her to bed in her own bedroom (which she's had since she was born). She won't go to sleep. Hours and hours. Even in our bed, she takes 1 - 2 hours to go to sleep... always has. But in her own bed, it's even longer.

IRT the sleepover at the best friend's house... the friend doesn't do sleepovers either. It may be because of how far we live from each other... almost 2 hours. We live an hour from the school and the best friend lives on the opposite side of the city. They don't even have playdates but once or twice a year and only in the summer because they live so far from each other.

We have asked dd if she would spend the night with *my* best friend, though, who lives next door. She is a bit older than me, childless, in her 50's, very loving with dd and only 50 yards away. Dd *is* considering that as an experiment. We're still negotiating.
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#17 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Could you do something like send along a portable CD player with some soothing, familiar music, or a relaxation or story cd? Would it be helpful to have something from you with her? A recorded message for night time, a letter to read?

I really get this. My dd is older, but really stresses about overnights. It produces a lot of anxiety. If she's motivated to stay overnight she'll often keep herself awake the entire night. I didn't mind so much when she was younger, but now I think that there are implications, socially as well as for other interesting opportunities.
Thanks, that's a good idea. I'll see if they will allow it.
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#18 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 10:26 PM
 
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My anxiety from this only comes because she has been talking about it a lot and when she does, she is wringing her hands and acting very agitated. I *WANT* her to go. Dh and I have not had an entire night in our bed together for over 8 years now... believe me... I WANT this to happen and am trying to handle this in absolutely the best way possible for it to happen.

They are talking about it at school a lot. For some kids, this is the first time camping and others are scared about that aspect of it (not dd, though, as we camp a few times a year, primitive and in cabins). I don't bring the subject of the trip up unless dd does and then I calmly try to just tell her that it will be just like when we go cabin camping, except there will be other adults instead of us. The trip is in 3 weeks, though and they are talking about it more and more. It's making dd more and more anxious.

Unfortunately, her beloved teacher that would be a huge comfort to her will not be in the same cabin. It's a male teacher and he will be with the boys. Her cabin "mother" will be the French teacher (dd is in Spanish immersion) and dd says she is a strict teacher. I think that has her worried as well. Dd is a very loving, hugging, gentle personality. She's not really sensitive, but speaking harshly to her makes her feel isolated and vulnerable. This teacher is not known for gentle understanding. I can imagine, if dd is really scared, that she would just spend her night crying quietly under the covers and not saying anything. No matter what circumstances or what age, I would NEVER want my child to have to go through that.

I don't know why I'm explaining all that. Just that this will be her very first time away from home. She will not have a trip to the grandparents or a sleepover at a friend's or a night at her cousins' under her belt, so this will be a HUGE leap for her and I want to make sure it's a great experience.

It sounds like most people think I should just make her go even if she is apprehensive about it.

I like the idea of buying a lovey specially for this trip. I think we'll do that.

Again, I appreciate the replies. I realize that people with older kids, even if they co-slept when they were younger, probably cannot imagine what an 8 yo is still doing co-sleeping. Maybe I'll post this in the family bed forum. I know there are some people there still co-sleeping at this age. The camp itself is not a problem at all... it's just those dark hours and if you're afraid of the dark, you're afraid of the dark. Heck, *I* don't like sleeping alone.
I would never force my child either. It sounded from your first post that did want to go to the camp but was "nervous" about sleeping away from home. If she is so scared that she does not want to go after all, I would not push her to go either. It is not a one-off experience - she will have other chances at sleepovers and camping when she is ready. I would really leave the decision up to her then and let her know that you support whatever choice she makes.

Apparently doing it rong and ruining it for everyone, but I don't give a crap anymorebanana.gif

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#19 of 59 Old 03-18-2010, 10:40 PM
 
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I'm kind of confused about what your dd's feelings are here. You say you don't want to force her, but you also said she really wants to go, and yet she is stressed.

What does she say about the trip? I agree that you shouldn't force her. But there is a difference between forcing and allowing her to go, even though she has some apprehensiveness about it.

What is the ratio of eager to apprehensive?

Personally, I think you should let her go if she wants to, talk a little about what she's going to do to get through the night, and then not make a big deal about it.

I agree with pp who said that kids act in very surprising ways when they are away from the family and home. She may well be just fine.
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#20 of 59 Old 03-19-2010, 12:09 AM
 
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Oh Mama, I just wanted to say that I understand completely! My 7 and 8 yos are still in our bed. The 7 yo would move if the 8 yo would go with her but, the 8 yo is absolutely not ready.

I understand where you're coming from. My 8 yo would really want to go too but the sleeping thing would cause her a lot of worry and anxiety as it got closer and closer.

For us though, we wouldn't allow a trip where parents weren't allowed. It would just never happen. I don't see how they can tell you that you must allow them to take your child and you're not permitted to go.

Can you go just on your own? Not as part of the group? For me, I just don't believe in sleeping away from your family so this would not fly with me. But, you have to do what's right for your family. But, I do get where you're worried about her reaction to sleeping away from you.

Hope you find a happy solution!
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#21 of 59 Old 03-19-2010, 06:37 AM
 
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One night, yes, but if it's traumatic for her, then how will it go when she has to do next year, and the next year?

I want dd to have a realistic expectation and be able to accept the trip on her own terms. I don't want to ruin it for future years, IYKWIM.
the thing is you dont know. neither does your dd. until she tries it. it could be a breeze. it could be traumatic. you just dont know.

seriously i think the only way of knowing is by doing in her case. the what ifs you can talk about till the cows come home but you still wont have an answer.

the key is empowering your dd. i have a 7 year old with anxiety. i know what you are talking about.

dd has surprised me quite a bit where i thought no way would she be able to pull it off. i wouldnt try to sleep alone at home. the camp would be a completely different thing.

what i try and do with my dd - since everything is scary for her - i tell her yes its going to be perhaps scary, etc, BUT remember its only for so many hours. in many many cases this has really worked well for her. not to know what 'bad' to expect but the options in case she is scared. and later i always go over how she did it, or its ok if she couldnt. she could try it again later.

dd is really, really scared of the dark. one night while camping she chose to wait in the darn night as we went back to get batteries from the car parked 10 mins walk away. even today i tell her how surprised i was that she chose that option and that she figured out a way to keep the fear at bay.

is your dd willing to give it a try? if she is - then that is 90% of the battle won.

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#22 of 59 Old 03-19-2010, 12:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Here's the thing... dd can't sleep alone yet.
I think it would be more helpful to her if you pivoted your thinking to "she hasn't yet slept alone" rather than "she can't sleep alone." I would give her space to grow up; right now your belief is limiting to her.

Just because someone has never done thing, it doesn't mean that they can't develop the ability to do it.

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She wants to go on this trip
This is the important part.

Quote:
I really think if she'd just go, she would have a BLAST! But I won't force her and the idea makes her very nervous.
Send her.

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One night, yes, but if it's traumatic for her, then how will it go when she has to do it next year, and the next year?
I don't think it will be it. It's one night in a cabin, and it doesn't matter if she actually ends up sleeping.

If you keep putting thing off, you make it into a bigger and bigger deal. It sounds like they have everything set up to prepare the kids for the longer trips, and this is the first step -- a warm up for the big kid stuff. Let her have the warm up.

I really think skipping the trip this year will make next year an even bigger deal.

[QUOTE=velochic;15199548]My anxiety from this only comes because she has been talking about it a lot and when she does, she is wringing her hands and acting very agitated.

it's new, it's scary. She'll have so much more self confidence once she's done it.

Quote:
It sounds like most people think I should just make her go even if she is apprehensive about it.
yes, I think it would help if had confidence in her and projected it to her, and sent her off knowing that she'll come back knowing that she is a stronger person than she thought.

If you had any doubts about her safety or the adults there, it would be different.

Quote:
Again, I appreciate the replies. I realize that people with older kids, even if they co-slept when they were younger, probably cannot imagine what an 8 yo is still doing co-sleeping.
Sleepovers were a huge issue for my now 11 year old, too. I really get.

When our kids are little, it's the right thing for us to protect them from things that are scary to them, but as they get older it I believe it becomes our job to help them find their inner strength, and sometimes that is scary for them because they don't know if it is really in there are not. We have to see if for them and believe in them.

(I also recommend a small flash light to sleep with!)

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#23 of 59 Old 03-19-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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If she wants to give it a try, let her go.

If she doesn't feel ready, let her stay home. Get a doctor's not excusing her. It doesn't have to say why.

And yes, next year she'll have to stay 2 nights, but she'll be another year older and more maturer.

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#24 of 59 Old 03-19-2010, 04:22 PM
 
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It sounds like most people think I should just make her go even if she is apprehensive about it.
(I wonder what kind of responses you'd get if you posted this in the Family Bed section? It does seem to have a lot to do with the family bed.)

Grade two is very, very young, and I would not be letting my daughter go on ANY overnight field trip at that age without me coming along. Absolutely not. We are a society that has proven again and again that we cannot safely take care of our children in these situations, either emotionally or physically, and that the 'trusted' adults involved may not be trustable at all. Nevermind the sleep culture of your family -- which should be respected -- but just the very nature of what they're asking from a second-grader is unrealistic.

ETA: What would I want to do? Go along with her. If not, then I don't think I could let her go.

What a difficult situation ...

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#25 of 59 Old 03-20-2010, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It is not a one-off experience - she will have other chances at sleepovers and camping when she is ready. I would really leave the decision up to her then and let her know that you support whatever choice she makes.
That's where we are right now. When she asks me questions about the trip, I just give her the info that we have. That she'll sleep in a group cabin with bunk beds, that her friends will be there, and the teachers will be there.

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Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
I'm kind of confused about what your dd's feelings are here. You say you don't want to force her, but you also said she really wants to go, and yet she is stressed.

What does she say about the trip? I agree that you shouldn't force her. But there is a difference between forcing and allowing her to go, even though she has some apprehensiveness about it.

What is the ratio of eager to apprehensive?
She really wants the daytime activities. She LOVES camping. Eager 100% about the daytime activities... apprehensive 100% about spending the night in a bed without me there. Did I mention that she has never spend a SINGLE night alone? And she still wakes many times a night to reach for me. I haven't had a stretch of sleep more than about 2 hours in 8 years.

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Oh Mama, I just wanted to say that I understand completely! My 7 and 8 yos are still in our bed. The 7 yo would move if the 8 yo would go with her but, the 8 yo is absolutely not ready.

I understand where you're coming from. My 8 yo would really want to go too but the sleeping thing would cause her a lot of worry and anxiety as it got closer and closer.

For us though, we wouldn't allow a trip where parents weren't allowed. It would just never happen. I don't see how they can tell you that you must allow them to take your child and you're not permitted to go.

Can you go just on your own? Not as part of the group? For me, I just don't believe in sleeping away from your family so this would not fly with me. But, you have to do what's right for your family. But, I do get where you're worried about her reaction to sleeping away from you.

Hope you find a happy solution!

Thank you for this. Sometimes I think it's hard for people to relate if their kids have been sleeping by themselves from a young age... and went to their own beds willingly. We've definitely tried many gentle ways to transition dd to her own bed, but she still just doesn't want to sleep alone. When I've tried to put her to sleep in her own room, she just won't fall asleep. When she goes to sleep in my mom's room with her, she wakes up and trudges upstairs at midnight to climb back in bed with us.

Oh, and no, we can't go separate from the group... it's not a public campgrounds.
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#26 of 59 Old 03-20-2010, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it would be more helpful to her if you pivoted your thinking to "she hasn't yet slept alone" rather than "she can't sleep alone." I would give her space to grow up; right now your belief is limiting to her.

Just because someone has never done thing, it doesn't mean that they can't develop the ability to do it.



This is the important part.



Send her.



I don't think it will be it. It's one night in a cabin, and it doesn't matter if she actually ends up sleeping.

If you keep putting thing off, you make it into a bigger and bigger deal. It sounds like they have everything set up to prepare the kids for the longer trips, and this is the first step -- a warm up for the big kid stuff. Let her have the warm up.

I really think skipping the trip this year will make next year an even bigger deal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
My anxiety from this only comes because she has been talking about it a lot and when she does, she is wringing her hands and acting very agitated.
it's new, it's scary. She'll have so much more self confidence once she's done it.



yes, I think it would help if had confidence in her and projected it to her, and sent her off knowing that she'll come back knowing that she is a stronger person than she thought.

If you had any doubts about her safety or the adults there, it would be different.



Sleepovers were a huge issue for my now 11 year old, too. I really get.

When our kids are little, it's the right thing for us to protect them from things that are scary to them, but as they get older it I believe it becomes our job to help them find their inner strength, and sometimes that is scary for them because they don't know if it is really in there are not. We have to see if for them and believe in them.

(I also recommend a small flash light to sleep with!)
I was trying to respond to each individual comment here, but it got too complicated. To sum it up, I pretty much disagree with everything here.

"Can't" or "Won't", just semantics and it doesn't change the way we are approaching this issue. I'm not holding her back, I'm giving her my support for whatever SHE decides, I'm not going to force her to go if she's not ready even if she just spends the whole night wide awake and frightened and makes it through. I also know that even if she made it to morning, she would not feel empowered, but feel even more apprehensive if she was not able to do it without fear (that's just her personality). She just turned 8 and I don't think that barely 8 makes one grown enough to force them to do something that they are truly terrified of. Not sleeping alone is not our choice, that is hers, in spite of all the reassuring we do that she can do it and nothing will happen. But I will respect her fears. By respecting her fears, it doesn't hold her back but *does* give her confidence. My goal is to give her tools, not just tell her to suck it up and go because it's only 1 night. I also don't think that not going this year means she'll never go. In 1 year a kid can go from never wanting to sleep alone to preferring to sleep alone. I've seen it in my own family. In fact, I've seen that pushing a kid too hard, too early has the opposite effect. I will be gentle and respectful of her whether she decides to go or not.
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#27 of 59 Old 03-20-2010, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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(I wonder what kind of responses you'd get if you posted this in the Family Bed section? It does seem to have a lot to do with the family bed.)

Grade two is very, very young, and I would not be letting my daughter go on ANY overnight field trip at that age without me coming along. Absolutely not. We are a society that has proven again and again that we cannot safely take care of our children in these situations, either emotionally or physically, and that the 'trusted' adults involved may not be trustable at all. Nevermind the sleep culture of your family -- which should be respected -- but just the very nature of what they're asking from a second-grader is unrealistic.

ETA: What would I want to do? Go along with her. If not, then I don't think I could let her go.

What a difficult situation ...
Thank you. I agree. I'm fine with her going if she is comfortable with it. Actually, it would be nice if they offered a day camp first.

It's hard for people to relate when it's such a foreign concept... co-sleeping at 8... and I realize that. It may be so unique that the only thing I can do is just not ask for outside advice from people who have never been in that situation and try my best to do what we can.
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#28 of 59 Old 03-20-2010, 11:24 AM
 
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Thank you. I agree. I'm fine with her going if she is comfortable with it. Actually, it would be nice if they offered a day camp first.

It's hard for people to relate when it's such a foreign concept... co-sleeping at 8... and I realize that. It may be so unique that the only thing I can do is just not ask for outside advice from people who have never been in that situation and try my best to do what we can.
I can't even imagine my 8 yo being comfortable away from me for the day let alone an overnight anywhere with anyone. I totally get the being anxious only because the child is anxious thing and do the same thing with answering questions matter of factly without feeding the anxiety. Anyway, it sounds like your dd is slightly closer to being ready for this step than my ds. I obviously can't give you advice but I know my guy finds glow sticks comforting at night. He would also be reassured if he knew he could contact me if he wanted. Are cell phones allowed?

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#29 of 59 Old 03-20-2010, 11:35 AM
 
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I By respecting her fears, it doesn't hold her back but *does* give her confidence. My goal is to give her tools, not just tell her to suck it up and go because it's only 1 night.
Letting a child do something *they want to do* and encouraging by telling them that you believe they are strong enough to do is not telling them to suck it up.

It is possible to gently encourage children to find their strength. Courage is being afraid and doing something anyway.

There is a path here that you aren't seeing.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#30 of 59 Old 03-20-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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I'm kind of confused about what your dd's feelings are here. You say you don't want to force her, but you also said she really wants to go, and yet she is stressed.
I really do understand where you are coming from.

First, how does your DD deal with anxiety? For some children, talking and talking about their fears actually lessens them over time as they have opportunity to think them through. For others, each discussion actually increases their fears. I consider my children to generally fit in the first category, but we have a close friend who is definately in the latter. Eventually, with her you just have to say, "We're not going to discuss that now" and move on.

I would have one very serious talk with DD and determine if she wants to go or not (not "wants" as in thinks she would enjoy it, but "wants" as in that is her final decision). If she says no then I would start getting my ducks in a row to allow her to skip it. If she says yes, I would try to stop talking about it as much and go forward with the assumption she WILL go and WILL enjoy it.

Now, DD is 11 and generally does not sleep in her bed all night. Only within the past 1.5 years has she been able to go to sleep reliably by herself (in our bed or her bed, without a parent cuddling her as she falls asleep). She still prefers sleeping with a parent to get to sleep. That said, she goes on overnights fairly successfully. BUT, I think she was in 3rd grade before she actually made it through the night. Before that there were attempts and middle of the night pick ups. When she was 7 I would not have sent her into the situation you are descibing unless it was near enough for me to pick her up in the middle of the night OR the school would have accepted me taking her home to sleep. It would have definately been too stressful. Now, she would be stressed and scared about an overnight camp but I would definately have her go because I am fairly certain she would be sucessful.

Could DD take a flashlight and read in her sleeping bag? Would that be okay?

 

 

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