getting her to sleep! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 10-17-2012, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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I have an 11 yr old who has never been much of a sleeper.  she's very creative and fairly disorganized.  I, too, am not great at staying on schedules, or being disciplined about them.  we've tried all kinds of things but the problems remain - what tends to happen is several things...


- she drags her feet to do the things that must be done before bed (straighten up her stuff in the living room), brush teeth, contacts out, get bad packed for school in the morning, etc.

- then once in her room she tends to get a burst of creative expression and starts drawing or playing or doing some sort of project (sometimes this happens after 'lights out', and when i get up to go to the bathroom at 1030 or so, i see her light on and find her reading, or drawing or something).

- then when it's time for me to read to her she always asks me to read longer, and then we end up talking for longer than I want, or we had planned

- then she starts her reading to herself time and that usually gets doubled from the 30 minutes she says she needs/ wants

- then right before lights out - often is hungry or thirsty and there's a trip to the kitchen


so, instead of lights out and sleep happening at 930 - it's 11 and that's simply NOT enough sleep for her.  she's tired in the morning and this also effects her immune system.  And all of this goes on with me trying to corral her into bed and stay on target.  this often leaves me a bit overwhelmed, or exasperated, and exhausted myself.  then i get to bed late too.   


she is not motivated or interested in tackling the problem, but will admit it is a problem.  


i've tried many things but could use some fresh ideas.  i've moved her room from a different level of the house, to my room's level, so i could monitor better what she's doing.  I have talked with her about it and the importance of sleep.  i've tried to get her to bed earlier so that she has time for all of the things she likes to do once 'bed time' arrives - but that gets so early - that then she misses out of family time, or wouldn't have time for all of her homework and such.  i've done sleepy herbs.  she listens to guided imagery after lights out (that part works well).  I've tried a little of giving the consequence that if you don't get lights out on time then you go to bed earlier tomorrow.  but nothing seems to be helping at the core of the problem.  i suspect it's my leniency that is really worsening the problem - but i know it's her (and my) nature.  but i really want her to have the benefit of a good nights sleep and of being able to manage and have control over her life so that she can function better.  

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#2 of 6 Old 10-17-2012, 07:38 PM
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My DC is also 11 and was a night owl for many many years. The only way for me to adjust her sleep habits was to start from the morning wake-up and go from there. Have you tried waking your DD up a little earlier? 

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#3 of 6 Old 10-17-2012, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
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yes - i've tried getting her up earlier - but her bed time disorganization just doesn't allow her to get to bed any sooner.  so she might be exhausted, but still won't regulate herself.  


The more i think about it today the more i think it's just my lack of follow through that allows it to continue.  I think maybe if i start making her get ready for bed (brush teeth, do contacts, straighten, and get a snack) at 7, or something.  THEN encourage her to play and create.  THEN ask her to read early to herself and have me read early to her.  THEN put her to bed at lights out time.  


I think that might work.



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#4 of 6 Old 10-17-2012, 08:14 PM
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Have you considered reading to her first then letting her read to herself? This is what I do with my dd and it works better for her than the other way because she needs time to relax on her own. The time after I read is for reading only unless it is a weekend. My dd is a couple years younger so this might change but for now I don't give in to pleading for more time and I have removed anything that makes light from her room on weeknights because she will sneak them to read for hours. There is no bedtime in weekends though so I feel that she does get unstructured time to follow her interests. We get up so early for my job that I would be completely fine with removing the light bulb nightly if I ever need to.
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#5 of 6 Old 10-21-2012, 12:41 PM
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Can't you just make sure she's in bed with the lights out? Are you on that floor of the house, too, when you're trying to get her in bed? If she gets up and turns the light back on, you go in and turn it off and tell her it's time to go to bed and she can finish working on that tomorrow. 


I have an 11 yr old creative night owl, too. I know I can't always make her sleep, but I can usually get her in the bed with the lights out by 10 or so.

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#6 of 6 Old 10-21-2012, 09:08 PM
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At some point  you just can't control what the kids do. You can control what *you* do.  Like others have said, change when you read to her, change when you leave the room, etc but what your DD chooses to do after 'bed time' is going to be her choice.  I can suggest until I'm blue in the face that DS 'goes to bed' by 10pm but I know there is no way he is going to sleep.  He is going to read, draw, nintendo, internet etc.  Removing electronics isn't going to solve the problem.


There are days that DS needs to be up early.  He learns to deal with being tired, cranky and crabby.  - Yes even on swim meet days!

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Seeking zen in 2014.  Working on journaling and finding peace this year.  Spending my free time taking J to swimteam

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