4 year old views sleep as public enemy #1 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-20-2014, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My kid turned 4 and I can't believe the changes we have seen! (Well, some of them occurred in the month leading up to his birthday). He's an awesome kid, but is totally killing us with his lack of sleep. Suddenly it's taking him for freaking ever to fall asleep. Literally, hours some nights. When I have the energy I give up and take him for a car ride to get him to pass out, out of desperation. It's like he can't wind down physically and mentally. We have cut way back on screen time, and have improved his diet. He gets physical activity every day. He has the same sleep routine he has had for years. What gives?? I feel like I'm going crazy. And then I'm so low on patience by this time sometimes I raise my voice which obviously doesn't help anything, and then I feel guilty for that. I lay down with him, he just wants to talk. I get up, and he just lays there awake. I might go completely insane soon. It's taking a toll on everyone. Help!

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Old 01-22-2014, 09:37 PM
 
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Hugs to you mama! That totally sucks. I have no advice but going to give your question a little bump in case it was missed by a wise one;)
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Old 01-23-2014, 04:17 AM
 
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When does he fall asleep? When is his actual bedtime? Does he nap during the day? Is he tired when he wakes up in the morning?

 

My daughter recently had this problem because napping during the day resulted in not being able to fall asleep at night, and because she couldn't fall asleep at night, she had to nap during the day, and ended up not being sleepy at night... evil circle. I spent a weekend just keeping her busy all day and at night she fell asleep like a log, and she finally started to settle and fall into a good rythm.

 

Also, remembering myself as a child, I didn't need much sleep, and would get ready for bed, but often spent a few hours playing in my room before I got tired and actually went to sleep. Possibly, letting him set his own bedtime and not forcing him to sleep could make him more okay with it? If kids (or, anyone actually) get to decide something for themselves, they are more willing to go through with it.

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Old 01-23-2014, 07:22 AM
 
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My kids have sensory issues. They hate to sleep. Sleep is something that was invented by some cruel parent who wants to send his kids away. Nobody is tired. Ever. That's just a rumor. Even if they are so tired that they cannot walk straight anymore: They are not sleepy. NOPE. Never. 

 

so, that's the starting point. 

 

With my 5 year old son, having something that gives him some sensory input help, like a noise (there is this rainy noise machine online, he likes it) or relaxing music especially for kids, or a light (I am thinking about getting him a lamp that changes colors - I think that would work well, too). A weighted blanket helps. And now he has a dog who is supposed to become his ADHD dog, and she is allowed in his bed, so he cannot be fidgety while she is there, otherwise she'll leave.  I cannot make him sleep, and I will not, but the rule is: STAY IN BED.

 

My seven year old DD responds very well to melatonin, she gets a mini dose, like 0,5 - 1 mg, and she'll fall asleep in about 15 min. She only gets this on "hard" nights. She is an avid reader, so she slips through sometimes by just quietly be reading, and I find her like really, really late - smiling at me like a little pixie ;) 

 

My two year old is a challenge. She needs to be hold tightly to fall asleep, and if she is in a good mood, and not crying about how is reallly is NOT TIRED, she even requests it. I hold her to my chest in a bear hug. I guess, she has sensory issues, too ... 

 

I read once that a lot of kids get frightened or mentally overworked if there is no sensory input all of the sudden. I was thinking about an aquarium as well, I think that would be awesome, too, but we already have so many animals on our li'l homestead...


Trin with DH , DD(7)  and DS(5) ,  DD(2) ,
I am not regularly online at the moment due to the above ...
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Old 01-28-2014, 05:10 PM
 
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Perhaps I should feel silly but I really have no idea how long it takes my girls (6 and 4) to fall asleep.  :)  

 

We decided for our own sanity when #1 was little and transitioning to her own room to make room in the grownup bed for #2 that we'd use the same method my parents used for us.

 

Each child has their own light for their own bed.  (I found clip-on small desk lamps with bendy necks for each of them! hooray!  it took me forever and they're discontinued at our walmart now so I hope they never break them!)

 

After the usual bedtime routine, each munchkin get to lay in bed and read as many books as they like until they are ready to sleep.  I always remind them to turn off their lights when they go to sleep but i think sometimes it's used as a really bright night light.  Sometimes, especially the older one, will lay down and go straight to sleep.  Occasionally I've caught the younger one up until 1 or 2 in the morning still reading.  Typically I think they're asleep within about half an hour or so and usually the lights are off.  If not, I go in and turn them off before I go to bed.

 

It's a wonderful way to keep them in bed 99.9% of the time in the evening and it teaches them to listen to their sleepy clock in their bodies.  We have only ever in the past 4 years had something like 5-10 fights about bedtime.  They don't mind much most nights because they don't HAVE to go to sleep.

 

It probably also helps that we don't have a strict "BEDTIME".  Part of that is because on our farm, sometimes all the grownups are outside putting escaped pigs away until 10 or 11 at night or during the summer, it's not even dark until 8-9pm.  We also don't request that those not going to school get up at a certain time.  (probably should though...)  If they're tired, they'll sleep.  If they've gotten enough sleep, they'll be up about the right time anyhow.  Not having a set bedtime allows us the flexibility to do what needs to be done on the farm or to have a late night visit to a distant friend's house knowing they'll be ok with falling asleep on the couches until it's time to go home.  It was the best choice ever for us to never ever say "SHH! you'll wake the baby!" because now they can sleep anywhere when they need to sleep.

 

It's a fuzzy system but it's flexible and it's what we've all come to agree on in our family. :)


Farming mama to DD1 (10/18/07), DD2 (10/3/09) who are always DS born 8.21.14 and wife to loving hubby (6/23/2007).
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:47 PM
 
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@doopamama: and no problems getting them out of bed in the morning? I do. Plus my kids totally freak out if overtired, so I prefer to have them asleep at a certain bedtime. 

 

My mom told me that I was a kid like yours :). I would fall aslepp around seven at night, and it didn't matter where I was, I would fall asleep on the couch or anywhere, no problems at all. Man, I wish I had kids like that ;) 


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Old 01-29-2014, 02:45 PM
 
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Not usually.  when I really need them out of bed like right this second it's usually pretty clear and then it's me throwing clothes at them, no arguments tolerated.

 

Typically though, the younger one is a morning person and will be up by about 7 or 8 on her own.  she still takes naps most days I think and it's a good thing too because she is a horrendously whiny and grumpy person if she doesn't!  and typically in the mornings shes just like her papa: cheery almost to the point of being obnoxious.  atleast that's how I feel because I usually end up being the last one in bed and first one up and am not much of a morning person...

 

The older one has to be out of bed by about 6:45am to catch the 7:10am bus for kindergarten (which doesn't start until 8:30).  She is definitely NOT a morning person but when I've got things running reasonably smoothly she's usually in bed between 9 and 10pm.  I usually aim for starting towards bed no later than 9pm, 8:30 if I can swing it and dinner and whatnot has been had.  and she doesn't nap typically after school so she might read a book, maybe two and then she is out at night.  very often she'll put down the first one without even finishing it!  I have more problems getting her to eat what I make for breakfast than actually getting out of bed most days.

 

I guess we never really made sleep something worth arguing over.  if they were tired: hey there's something reasonably soft.  I've even had my oldest decide during a wet and rainy farmers market morning that she was tired and borrow herself the park bench behind our booth.  If they were overtired, well then often it's an enforced sit here and read or otherwise be quiet and often the removal of stimulus will induce sleep by virtue of exhaustion.  If they weren't tired... go play!


Farming mama to DD1 (10/18/07), DD2 (10/3/09) who are always DS born 8.21.14 and wife to loving hubby (6/23/2007).
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:50 PM
 
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on the other hand, since we've been farming since we were pregnant with #2 and with vegetables and especially livestock, there is ALWAYS some emergency happening, we've never really had a set schedule that says we need to be eating breakfast by 7am in order for the day to function or something like that.  I have noticed that we all definitely benefit from having some sort of basic schedule that begins with breakfast first at some reasonable morning hour, followed by lunch before we get grumpy hungry around noon-1.  a rest time in the mid-afternoon and dinner between 6:30 and 8pm.  something with a reasonably regular eating schedule usually keeps us mostly on schedule with farmers markets and whatnot and not too tired to function and still making sure that all 400 some creatures on our farm got food today.  if everyone has been fed, people and creatures: it's a successful day. :)


Farming mama to DD1 (10/18/07), DD2 (10/3/09) who are always DS born 8.21.14 and wife to loving hubby (6/23/2007).
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Old 02-04-2014, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Such great responses! I have gotten some great ideas, thank you. He has a sound machine and has light coming in from the hallway. I have given him back massages a few nights, which seems to help where he is so wiggly. I wonder about the sensory thing. He hasn't napped since he was 2.5. Since he's been staying up later, he sleeps in later, which seems like it would be great, but I still don't think he's getting enough most nights. When he's tired I'll see behavioral changes and it's really just not fun for anyone, and he'll be yawning by 4pm, then get his second wind. He tells me in the morning how his sleep isn't great, or at night say how he's trying to sleep but just can't. :(  I know it frustrates him at times, too. 

 

I hesitate to give melatonin, only because the last time I tried it for myself I had terrible nightmares.  

(Yes, I have trouble falling asleep sometimes too! Imagine that. ;) )

 

We have been less strict about bedtime- I'm not against him staying up later or choosing his bedtime in theory, but in practice it's not working for us right now. Maybe when he's older. I think right now he needs to get back on a schedule. Not a super strict one, but a general one. May try the little light on to read alone idea.

 

Also- I LOVE the aquarium idea. How cool would that be?! He has a projector attached to the sound machine, and has fish that go around, but it seems to just keep him up instead. 

 

Thanks!

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