Trouble getting 4yo to sleep - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 01-17-2011, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm posting this here because I think it may be a developmental thing and am curious if any kids the same age are doing this.  Mods, please feel free to move as needed.


For the past 2 weeks, ds has been impossible to get to sleep.  He's always has a hard time with bedtime but for about the past 8 months, we've had a pretty good routine going and I thought things were getting better.  (I know, I should know better, right?)  I normally lie with him about 5-10 min after I turn the lights out and he's been putting himself to sleep during that time.  I was just starting to leave the room right before he fell asleep and he would drift off by himself.


Now we're back to where we were a year ago - he won't let his body settle down and keeps fidgeting and kicking and talking.  I can't lie with him because he kicks me but he won't stay in his bedroom if I get up.  I thought at first that he really wasn't tired and was ready for a later bedtime (normal time is 7pm) and tried putting him to bed a little later.  Then I thought he was testing boundaries - he was mainly asking for one more story, one more song, one more glass of water - anything to put off bedtime.  But now he's started talking about the sharks that eat the fish in his dreams and the monsters in his room and I think he's having bad dreams and is scared to go to sleep and is keeping himself awake.  The problem is that he gets hyperactive when he gets tired and now he is an overtired, hyper, clingy, fidgety mess a lot of the time and bedtime is getting worse and worse.


To compound matters, he now has a new bunk bed.  He has been begging for one and I thought it might help things but it doesn't seem to be doing anything but making it harder for me to get in and out of his bed.  Plus, he wants to get rid of his diaper at night and wear underwear.  Which we tried for a week before I realized he was wetting the bed and not waking up and just sleeping in a cold wet bed all night.  I'm not sure what to do about that either but that's a separate problem right now.


I have no idea what to do.  As I write this out, I'm realizing all the new things he's doing now and how that's probably affecting his sleep.  He's a heavy sleeper once he falls asleep (which is good since ds2 is going through his own developmental spurt and keeps me up a lot of the night eyesroll.gif) but I can't spend three hours trying to get him to sleep every night.  It's not a pleasant time for any of us!


Any advice?  Commiseration?

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#2 of 2 Old 01-20-2011, 06:25 PM
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Well, you asked for advice OR commiseration....and I am only here to commiserate !  

My DD is 4 and is the worst sleeper and is terrible at falling asleep. We have gotten ourselves psyched up so many times to "try again" and be diligent with her bedtime routine but she makes it so difficult.  So then we give up basically (because neither of us want to spend 2 hrs trying to get her to sleep)...and let her just fall asleep in our bed as we read, or while we watch the football game, etc.  Then we bring her in her bed, and by midnight she is in our room with us anyway.  She has always been like this.  MY DS is 2 and is a dream compared to her. Thank God.  


I believe that if were really strict and committed about it, we could get her to sleep in there all night.  But of course, it's easier to take the path of least resistance.  She has also indicated she is scared in her room by herself and cries every time she gets up....I do believe she is having bad dreams.  She just simply would rather love to cuddle with us...and it isn't so bad ! :)  


Oddly, she has her  heart set on a "bunk" bed too that she saw at Ikea.  My MIL has even offered and planned to buy it. But I have told both of them that unless she is actuallly SLEEPING in her bed, she clearly doesn't need ANOTHER new bed in her room !  When I told my DD that, she said "ok, I like sleeping with you more...I"ll get that bed when I'm 5".  Ugh...I really thought that one might work !  


So, I am absolutely no help to you since I am the WORST example of teaching my kids to sleep independently !  


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