We have co-slept or had two beds in one room for most of her life. We moved 8 months ago and for a while she slept in her own room with no problems, then suddenly wanted to sleep with us again. She slept in a little "nest" on the floor in our room most nights but lots of times ended up in with us (and my husband usually ended up on the couch). Going to sleep has basically involved tiptoeing around and being silent and generally walking on eggshells just so that she'll be able to get to sleep, even when she slept in our room.
I am 35 weeks pregnant and having a lot of pain issues. We decided that we really needed her to sleep in her own room - the bed being really crowded makes my pain worse, and the baby will be in a co-sleeper or in the bed next to me when she arrives. We started working on it over winter break, but the 5 year old is NOT having it... we have tried sitting with her till she falls asleep, or checking in on her frequently, which usually works but then she's up an hour or two later crying. She wakes up every hour or two through the night and seems really anxious about going to sleep. We have had a few good nights sprinkled in with lots of bad ones. I've lost my temper because she starts screaming when we insist that she get back into her bed (and we live in an apartment building). I am exhausted, my husband is exhausted, she is exhausted and we're all at the end of our ropes. In the past we have often just caved in and gone back to letting her sleep with us, but it's just not going to work anymore.
I've tried suggesting relaxation techniques. I've put "nighttime music" in her room. We've read with her before bed. We've said that she could read a book as long as she stayed in bed. She's got special stuffed animals in bed with her. I've tried (unfortunately) yelling. I've set up a sticker chart with the incentive of getting a new toy when she gets a bunch of stickers. We've had lots of rational discussions about it during the day but at night she just freaks out.
She can't say anything in particular that she's scared of, and she basically just says "I don't know how" to go to sleep or "I don't know what to do." Suggestions, encouragement, help please!!
I'm sorry Mama, I have no suggestions because I'm in EXACTLY the same boat with my 3 yr old son. I will be lurking here for suggestions.
We need to get him into his own bed. We've co-slept since birth with him, and it's just...time. We've since added another child into the family bed, YDS is now 16 months and it's just too much. They keep each other up, ODS kicks the blankets off all of us all night, YDS wants to nurse every 45 mins if he's sleeping next to me, and sits up wailing and hitting if I try to deflect him, DH snores all.night.long.
I am done. I need some sleep, it's been 3 years. I feel great about our co-sleeping experience so far, but I'm happy for it to end.
YDS has spent the last 2 nights in their shared room in his crib and he's doing very well. My 3 year old is another story and I'm actually quite tense and stressed about getting him into his own bed. I think it's going to be a long a torturous road. Sigh.
Ha! And I'm going to be a complete Debbie downer...
I just opened MDC instead of going to exercise as I promised myself I would, because I needed to post about my daughter and her sleeping issues, which are in turn actually become *my* sleeping issues!
DD is three weeks shy of 9. Yes, 9! And I would be writing the same post as the OP, except I am not pregnant, with no hope of ever being pregnant. (I've no uterus, but even if I did, there is no possibility of me ever getting pregnant as I NEVER SLEEP WITH DH!). Anyway, we've tried everything. Everything mentioned above, plus a variety of homeopathics, bedtime stories on the IPOD. Hours of "trying" every night where inevitably now the whole evening (like 4 hours) gets devoted to her sleep until ultimately we end up with her anyway.
At this point, I've also tried explaining things to her as she is old enough to understand her actions affecting others. We try hard to keep guilt, shame blame, etc out of the house. But she does understand that when she requires us to sleep with her we don't get to sleep together (dh and I) and the affects that has on our intamacy and connection. She understands that if I spend evenings with her, I don't get to do what I need to do for the next day and now I have to do the stuff while she is awake during the day, which makes for a less than engaging and stimulating homeschool day. At the same time, we try to respect her and accept her needs (safety and love) and I'm in no way ready to "make" her CIO.
I am out of my skin with this though- it is literally ruling my life. It means I have NO (read NONE... ZIP) me time and dh and I never get to talk, snuggle, connect. I can't get chores done for the next day, I can't plan fun lessons, I can't reboot my soul. AND I NEVER HAVE TIME ALONE!!!! Heck, I can't even get a full nights sleep yet.
DS OTOH was raised in an orphanage crib for the first 7 months of life. We have had to work at attachment, lol. He will not sleep with me, or snuggle. Which honestly, is a bit sad, but I am so relieved that I can just put him in a crib (which we never had for dd) and walk away. He puts himself to sleep, and I can honestly say he loves the crib. It soothes him. Heck, it was his safe place for 7 months. Thank goodness he has other safe places now and is learning to be intimate, but my goodness, I can't say I think co-sleeping with dd did us any favors. She just never learned how to do it on her own, and now she struggles with herself on a daily basis over it. Tears, frustration, etc.
People always told me she would one day move out of the bed, but she hasn't been able to yet. And after 3285 nights of snuggling her in a row, I'm a bit done. Last night I slept on the rail of her bunk bed. Comfy comfy.
Ugh. Someone please help us!
Jaya- unschooling mama to Ariah Ray1/02 Rukundo Pacifique11/08
missing Trace Oak 10/25/06
I'm sorry you are all suffering with this too! Apparently there are no answers.... although maybe all the parents who've gotten their kids to sleep successfully are just enjoying an uninterrupted slumber rather than desperately posting on MDC at 12:30 AM.
I am a little worried about this and may talk with my pediatrician because the real issue seems to be that my daughter has just awful anxiety about it - she can't really name anything in particular but just that she is really worried and scared and can't stop thinking about how worried and scared she is (and anxiety runs in the family)... not that I'm expecting/wanting her to give me a quick (or medical) fix but maybe there are some ways to deal with 5 year old anxiety that we're not thinking of.
I'd avoid a pediatrictian as they are for health issues and anxiety, which is an honest issue, would be much better approached by a child-specialized therapist. It does seem your children are suffering from anxiety that is much longer than the usual toddler-don't-leave phase at 5 or 9 years old. At that point they are certainly worthy of finding a good child-based play therapist (I swear, it works!) to help your child gently work through the issues that are causing anxiety at being alone. Best to both of you.