How can I get my 6 year old to fall asleep on her own? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 01-09-2015, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How can I get my 6 year old to fall asleep on her own?

My 6 year old DD is very sensitive and has had sleep issues from day 1.

We have a consistent bedtime routine - she gets herself ready for bed, then I read a few books to her and lay with her until she falls asleep, which can take 15 min (very rare) up to 45 minutes. The whole reading and laying routine typically takes at least an hour.

I also have an almost 3 year old who goes to bed fairly easily earlier, but I spend at least 45 min getting him bathed, ready for bed, reading, and then laying with him until he sleeps.

I'm expecting #3 in April and I can't spend up to 2 hours every night on bedtime when the baby comes, plus I'm so tired these days I either fall asleep with DD or go to sleep shortly after, and I feel like I'm missing out on much needed time with DH.

When we bring up the idea, she is very resistant and says she's not old enough. I think she is one of those kids who has a hard time turning her brain off and she has always had difficultly falling asleep, and she gets afraid of things quite easily as well.

Any suggestions on how we can get her falling asleep on her own?

We started last night and put on a lullaby CD for her and I told her she had to try, if she couldn't fall asleep she could come get me. She laid in bed alone for about 15 mins and then came and got me (this was a huge first step at least, she usually is reluctant to even try). I'm going to keep trying but would love other suggestions/advice.

Loving wife to DH and mama to DD (11/08) and DS (2/12) and expecting another little boy (4/15)
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#2 of 18 Old 01-09-2015, 11:48 AM
 
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Can you put her and 3yo in the same room and do their bedtime routine together? That would save time, and they'd have each other's company.

Here is what worked with my son at 6 when he was waking in the middle of the night and did not want to be alone:
http://articles.earthlingshandbook.o...o-parents-bed/

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#3 of 18 Old 01-10-2015, 06:14 AM
 
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I agree that giving her the skills to do this is where things need to head. The article posted by Envirobecca gives one idea, but there are others that would work specificallly for her. It will likely require some shifting and limit setting and increasing the expectation that she CAN do it without you lying there. Is she anxious temperamentally?

 
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#4 of 18 Old 01-10-2015, 05:46 PM
 
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My now 7 year old was very attached to co sleeping....I had no issues with it but wanted her to learn to fall asleep without being attached to my body and stay asleep....I refuse to do cio...
this is what I did over the course of several weeks....first I needed to get her off my body so I told her my arm hurt so she could not lay on it....this was big because like I said she wanted to be attached...once she was comfy just laying next to me I started laying with my back to her...that helped her a lot to be able to roll over and go to sleep on her own...

Then the biggie....I would put her in bed and tell her I would be in just as soon as I was finished with what I was doing...I was always in 100% view of her at the kitchen table on the laptop...this took several weeks to sit comfortable with her...a lot of times I ended going in and laying with her if she cried...like I said I don't sit well with cio....but as time went on she was falling asleep more as long as I was in view....

I will be honest...it wasn't easy in the beginning and we still cosleep....but now I don't have to be in bed at 7 for the night too....

It takes time ...good luck...
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#5 of 18 Old 01-11-2015, 10:00 AM
 
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Let her stay up later?

Does she have the opportunity for a lot of physical activity during the day? Have her exercise or run....maybe sign her up for soccer or gymnastics...

My 6YO still sleeps in our room most nights. We have an extra bed in there for overflow. I get up early, so most nights the whole family goes to bed at the same time (DH usually gets up early with me). It works well for us.


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#6 of 18 Old 01-12-2015, 01:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone...we are planning to move my 3 year old into the room with her - we cosleep with him but are hoping to transition him also before the baby comes. We actually just bought bunk beds but the frame doesn't come apart and they are still sitting outside our house as we have not figured out how to get them inside yet!!

Yes, she does have an anxious temperment - she slept with us until she was just over 4, she sleeps with me when DH travels, and she still often ends up in our bed in the middle of the night though these days she stays in her bed more than half the time.

I don't even mind her coming into my bed into the middle of the night, it's just the difficulty she has in falling asleep, even when I'm right there with her, that is frustrating.

I tried melatonin for a few days and it was a miracle (asleep in 5 minutes which has never happened in her entire life) but I was concerned about long term effects and also found that some nights it would cause her to wake up in the middle of the night.

I'm already concerned she is not getting enough sleep - she usually falls asleep between 9 and 10 and has to be up by 7. I would like her to sleep closer to 8 or 830 so she can get around 11 hrs. She is the kind of child that can easily stay up until 2 or 3 am even if she is tired, and seems to take a long time regardless of what kind of day she has had.

She has been very hesitant to even try to sleep on her own in the past, but for the past 4 nights we've insisted she at least try. - she did actually fall asleep on her own on sat which was amazing, at least she has had one successful night so she knows she can do it.

We recently started teaching her about money so we've picked a handful of things we are working on (like putting her clothes away and not leaving clothes all over the house and getting ready for bed by herself in a reasonable amount of time) and we give her stars when she does these things, then convert the stars to money, which she has to divide into spend, save, and give. We've told her falling asleep on her own earns her a super star, worth 3x as much as a regular star. We made a big deal when she got her super star after sat night, and she was clearly proud of herself. I think it's just going to be a slow process...

I always had a hard time sleeping as a kid. I was also very anxious and would lay awake at night worrying and thinking about all kinds of things and had nightmares. I slept with music on for years because it helped me turn my brain off. I also managed fine on less sleep than other kids, and gave up my naps at 18 months. I've also read that "gifted" children can have more problems sleeping. I don't really like that label and my DD shows signs of being extremely inquisitive and deep thinking (too early to tell if that = "gifted"), and I was labeled "gifted" as a child, so maybe some of this is genetic. Haha, these days I have no problem falling asleep I'm so tired from having young children that I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow!

Loving wife to DH and mama to DD (11/08) and DS (2/12) and expecting another little boy (4/15)
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#7 of 18 Old 01-12-2015, 07:35 AM
 
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My 6YO goes to sleep at 10 most nights and gets up at about 6:30. She gets a 20 minute nap at Kinder and sleeps in on the weekends. She won't sleep more than 10 hours...ever...

I know this is probably unpopular on MDC...be we let our kids read/play on their kindles when they can't sleep. It doesn't happen very often though.


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#8 of 18 Old 01-12-2015, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks KS Laura - I do think my daughter doesn't need as much sleep as the "books" say, and it's nice to hear of another 6 year old who gets about the same amount of sleep as my DD.

But sometimes it's clear she hasn't gotten enough sleep and she still won't sleep! Like today - all afternoon she was incredibly cranky and started crying many times over small things. It was clear she was exhausted. So I did my best to get her in bed on time (I try to have her in bed by 8 at the latest to start the books) and her books were done by 815 - she still didn't fall asleep until exactly 9 even though I knew she was so tired. It drives me crazy!

I had started encouraging her to read books on her own if she's not tired to try to minimize the amount of time I am actually laying with her, hoping that if she gets tired reading in bed she would only need me for 10-15 minutes. For some reason she is reluctant to read on her own, though she has agreed a few times it's not something she likes to do.

Loving wife to DH and mama to DD (11/08) and DS (2/12) and expecting another little boy (4/15)
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#9 of 18 Old 01-17-2015, 06:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedaisy View Post
My 6 year old DD is very sensitive and has had sleep issues from day 1.

We have a consistent bedtime routine - she gets herself ready for bed, then I read a few books to her and lay with her until she falls asleep, which can take 15 min (very rare) up to 45 minutes. The whole reading and laying routine typically takes at least an hour.

I also have an almost 3 year old who goes to bed fairly easily earlier, but I spend at least 45 min getting him bathed, ready for bed, reading, and then laying with him until he sleeps.

I'm expecting #3 in April and I can't spend up to 2 hours every night on bedtime when the baby comes, plus I'm so tired these days I either fall asleep with DD or go to sleep shortly after, and I feel like I'm missing out on much needed time with DH.

When we bring up the idea, she is very resistant and says she's not old enough. I think she is one of those kids who has a hard time turning her brain off and she has always had difficultly falling asleep, and she gets afraid of things quite easily as well.

Any suggestions on how we can get her falling asleep on her own?

We started last night and put on a lullaby CD for her and I told her she had to try, if she couldn't fall asleep she could come get me. She laid in bed alone for about 15 mins and then came and got me (this was a huge first step at least, she usually is reluctant to even try). I'm going to keep trying but would love other suggestions/advice.

I think once the baby is here and you get busy with the baby that your daughter will just learn to go to sleep on her own. They have a way of changing with the things that are changing around them. Right now she still has some control in it because nothing has changed around her. My kids are all 7 years apart in age and I co-slept with each of them. When I got pregnant with #2 my oldest stopped co-sleeping right before she was born and when I got pregnant with #3 my second child stopped co-sleeping right before I gave birth. It's like it just worked out anyway. Something finally clicks in their mind and hits home with them that they have to do it on their own at that point.

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#10 of 18 Old 01-17-2015, 06:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by KSLaura View Post
My 6YO goes to sleep at 10 most nights and gets up at about 6:30. She gets a 20 minute nap at Kinder and sleeps in on the weekends. She won't sleep more than 10 hours...ever...

I know this is probably unpopular on MDC...be we let our kids read/play on their kindles when they can't sleep. It doesn't happen very often though.

I will let my 5 yr old use her sister's iPod and play preschool games some nights before bed and she's ready to go to sleep after just a few minutes of playing. I just make sure she is bathed, in her jammies, lights turned low and she is in her bed already.

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46-year-old single (divorced), self-employed working, home schooling, mommy to:

19 y-o
12 y-o (private school)
5 y-o (home schooled)
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#11 of 18 Old 01-17-2015, 08:15 AM
 
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Maybe a beefed up ritual around tucking in, putting 'magic dust' around the bed, having a special story about sleep, music. For one of my daughters having one of those princess bed hangie things around them really increased their interest in being in their own bed and feeling 'special.'


Like this, only you can find them for way cheaper than this:

Amazon Amazon

 

Last edited by lauren; 01-17-2015 at 08:17 AM. Reason: adding link
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#12 of 18 Old 01-22-2015, 04:32 PM
 
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We had this problem until I discovered guided meditations. A simple Google or YouTube search will lead you to a lot of children's sleep meditations. We found one on YouTube that is 50 minutes long, I play it through a Bluetooth speaker in his room. It lulls him to sleep in less than 20 minutes, and because it guides him through loving, positive imagery he doesn't worry or get scared because he's calmly distracted by the meditation.
Just google "Children's sleep meditations"
Good luck!
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#13 of 18 Old Yesterday, 03:03 PM
 
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I'm not knocking use of technology for children, but I'd be wary of using devices with children close to bedtime or for when they can't sleep unless I took precautions to reduce blue light emissions. There is mounting evidence that the blue light from devices disrupts hormones, especially production of melatonin, which helps regulate circadian rhythms.

There are programs that will automatically reduce blue light on a computer screen at night. Also you can try to get the child to don orange glasses that block blue light (quite cheap on Amazon.com).

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#14 of 18 Old Today, 06:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamakah View Post
We had this problem until I discovered guided meditations. A simple Google or YouTube search will lead you to a lot of children's sleep meditations. We found one on YouTube that is 50 minutes long, I play it through a Bluetooth speaker in his room. It lulls him to sleep in less than 20 minutes, and because it guides him through loving, positive imagery he doesn't worry or get scared because he's calmly distracted by the meditation.
Just google "Children's sleep meditations"
Good luck!
Yes! YOu made me think about Jim Weiss tapes. All of my children went through a stage where these really helped them. They are such interesting stories but told in a calm, soothing voice. They would ask for Jim at bedtime all the time.

Here is a link to his most popular one:


Amazon Amazon

 
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#15 of 18 Old Today, 09:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by t2009 View Post
I'm not knocking use of technology for children, but I'd be wary of using devices with children close to bedtime or for when they can't sleep unless I took precautions to reduce blue light emissions. There is mounting evidence that the blue light from devices disrupts hormones, especially production of melatonin, which helps regulate circadian rhythms.

There are programs that will automatically reduce blue light on a computer screen at night. Also you can try to get the child to don orange glasses that block blue light (quite cheap on Amazon.com).
We play it through a bluetooth speaker...meaning the screen isn't in the room. It's what I suggested in my post.
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#16 of 18 Old Today, 10:20 AM
 
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Sorry, @mamakah , I wrote quickly & wasn't specific--I was replying to a couple posts up-thread where the posters suggested reading/playing on the devices. I think it's very clever to play the program via Bluetooth!

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#17 of 18 Old Today, 10:47 AM
 
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Sorry, @mamakah , I wrote quickly & wasn't specific--I was replying to a couple posts up-thread where the posters suggested reading/playing on the devices. I think it's very clever to play the program via Bluetooth!
Ah, no worries. I hadn't read all the responses so I assumed it was addressing my post! My bad.
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#18 of 18 Old Today, 11:42 AM
 
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Our 5 year old will go through phases of struggling with sleep, and we firmly and lovingly tell her that she needs to go to sleep on her own, that her parents need their sleep (if its night) or that we need our special time to reconnect as adults. Bedtime is 6:30pm in our house. We also made bedtime very simple (no bath). I try to firmly, confidently and warmly project that this is the time to sleep now, it is important for her and for us, and she is old enough now to do it. However, I think it is important to actually believe it too, and not just say it. If you secretly believe she is not ready for it, it will be less likely to happen.
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