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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Wise Mamas!<br><br>
I am in a bit of a quandry and I am hoping that you can help. My 4 1/2 yo dd has always been a good sleeper even after she weaned at 29 months. Sleeping has never been an issue for her -- she seemed to love it! She falls asleep on the couch or in bed while I lay with her and she sleeps in a toddler bed next to ours. She is early to bed and early to rise. She is usually awake by 5am. My son on the other hand (27mo) is later to bed and late to rise. In additon to his later "schedule", I usually stay up after the kids go to sleep to get "my" time. Needless to say, at 5am I am not ready to wake up. So, my dd and I made a deal and she may watch television until I wake up. This has worked really well.<br>
Although, here comes the problem...she has recently started waking up in the middle of the night ready to get up for the day. She usually wakes up any where from 1am to 3am. She either wakes me up and tells me that she wants to stay up (in which I am not the model parent since I am a grumpy waker) or she just goes in and pops on the TV. I wake up in the middle of the night and the TV in the family room (our only TV) is on and she is missing from her bed. My dh occasionally sleeps in the guest room for a better night's sleep (no kicking from ds). The other night dd woke me up at 1am ready for the day, I sent her to dh and she fell right back asleep. In the morning, she said that she wants to start sleeping with dh every night. My dh loves the idea. Last night was the first night that she slept with him. I feel like this is such a regression! She was in her own toddler bed next to ours. I was working on getting her into her own room. Now, she is going to start co-sleeping again???? Any suggestions?<br>
Now back to the other issue...the wakefulness. She is waking up in the middle of the night, staying up with the TV, and then grumpy/whiny the rest of the day. Sometimes she will pass out around 5pm and sleep most of the night due to sheer exhaustion (hence the early rising) but that is not the regular situation. I tried unplugging the TV before I went to bed and she threw a temper tantrum in the middle of the night. This morning I woke up and she was sleeping on the couch. Who knows how early she woke up??? I know that she was awake when dh woke up at 4am. I am not sure what the real issue is...addiction to the television or some type of insomnia? A mainstream friend recommended that I set Hannah up in her own room with a television. That way she stays in bed and can have the TV on, hopefully enabling her more sleep. But dh and I always vowed that the kids would never have their own TVs. We feel as though it separates a family and enables the children to watch TV instead of doing constructive things like reading or imagination games. But I have to say that this is making me think twice. I want to do what is best for dd. I want to do what will give her the most sleep and also keep the rest of the family sleeping as well. Especially because we just found out that #3 is on the way and we would like to create good habits so that life will be easier during the transition. BTW, all this started long before we knew about #3. I need some wise mama help! Any suggestions?<br><br>
TIA!<br>
Love,<br>
Nicole
 

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In your shoes, I'd get rid of the TV. Put it somewhere totally inaccessible and really facilitate her sleep habits. If the TV is across town in someone's basement, you can't get to it at 4 a.m., so perhaps her tantrums will peter out when she realizes that they are quite useless. (You will have some very difficult nights ahead.) If you think she has insomnia, see a sleep specialist (ask around and find one who has the same values as you do), and help her with the problem. What good does it do her to be up half the night and cranky all day?<br><br>
That's what I would do. However, your question asked, "What is normal/acceptable?" I would say her sleep patterns are not normal, but only you can decide if they are acceptable.
 

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At a certain age in our society, perhaps girls shouldn't be sleeping with their fathers. Perhaps your dd is approaching that age (only you can make that decision for sure).<br><br>
Your dd is old enough to understand the following: (what I tell my dd--who is 6--when she wants to get up and she should be sleeping)--"You don't have to sleep, but you have to stay in your bed with the lights out."<br><br>
Keep reinforcing this and keep taking her back to her bed.<br><br>
PS. Certainly not to be rude or critical, but why is a child that age allowed to continue to watch TV in the middle of the night? Once you notice she's turned on the TV, why do you let her stay there in front of it? (If I'm understanding your post correctly.)<br><br>
Also, TV screens and computer screens emit certain electronic lights which the brain keeps "seeing" even when you close your eyes. So, TV or computer time close to bed time (or during bed time) is extra damaging to sleep.<br><br>
And a TV in her room is a BAD idea, for lots of reasons (increased obesity being one of those reasons.)
 

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Wow, lots of stuff going on...<br><br>
First off, I would not put a tv in her room, although I can understand the temptation. I think that would only excaserbate (sp?) the problem.<br><br>
What time does your dd go to bed? We had put my dd2 to bed around 7-7:30 for years. About 1.5 yrs ago (she was 4), she started waking up really early almost every night -somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30. This was just too early for me, even though she would just lay quietly in bed next to me, it still disrupted my sleep. (My older dd is a night owl so I would also stay up late to have some time for me and wasn't ready to get up that early). We started putting her to bed around 8:30, and that solved that problem. It took a little while for her to adjust, but now it is a more reasonable hour (between 7 and 8) and if we are still sleeping on weekends she watches tv till we get up.<br><br>
I don't think that is abnormal for her to want to sleep with her dad. My dd's will sleep with dh or me any chance they get (they are just about to turn 6 and 8), and we often play musical beds during the night. For about the last couple months, my almost 8 yr old has been sleeping either in our bed or on our floor next to our bed. If she gets in our bed, I usually vacate because I'm too squished. Not that we are normal! But I don't think it's that unusual.<br><br>
I don't know how to address the tv situation, but if it were me, it wouldn't be acceptable for my dd to be getting up in the night to watch tv. I would put the tv away and explain to her why and start putting her to bed a little later each night and see if you can get her on a better schedule. Waking up early in the morning is one thing, but waking up to start the day between 1 and 3 is quite another.<br><br>
Good luck and let us know what you decide and how it goes.
 

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I just wanted to say that I don't think there is anything wrong with her sleeping with her dad especially if it is the solution to this problem you are having. If she sleeps better and longer and is not getting up when she sleeps with him, then I would do it. Kids go back and forth between reaching for independance and seemingly "regressing" as they move through each stage of development. I would try not to be upset by this "regressive" behavior. Act like it is normal, let her do it and when she is ready she will move back to her own bed/room. Seems like she is just making sure everything is secure before she jumps into the next stage of childhood.<br><br>
I would not put a TV in her room. She is old enough to talk this problem out too. I would sit her down and explain how her getting up in the middle night affects everyone and tell her that watching TV was ok when she was sleeping until the morning, but it is not ok in the middle of the night. Ask her to come up with another idea. She may suprise you. Let us know how it is going.<br><br>
Another idea that might be an acceptable cosleeping arrangement would be to put the kids together in the same bed or on a full mattress on your floor. Just an idea
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you so much for your thoughtful and thought provoking responses! It was a moment of weakness that I even considered putting a TV in her room! There is noooooo way I would ever do that! To clarify, when I woke up in the middle of the night to find the TV on, every time (3 total) she was back asleep and I just put her back in bed. In regards to the temper tantrums, I was trying to avoid those only for the purpose of keeping the family sleeping. But I see now that I would be hurting here while trying to protect the other's sleep. Not okay!<br>
Well, while trying to resolve all this, one thing became clear...<br>
I got my panties all in a bunch and I think that all she needed was some extra love at night. She has been sleeping with dh at night. She has not gotten up in the middle of the night at all. In fact, this morning, she slept until almost 7am in the guest bed alone. I think that she may be going through a developmental growth spurt as well as feeling the need for some extra Daddy love since he has been working some extra hours lately and because of all the baby talk we have been doing.<br>
As a safety precaution, I have been unplugging the TV at night before I go to bed and dh plugs it in when he wakes up and watches TV. There have been no problems!<br>
Personally, knowing my husband and my daughter, I do not know of a time in thier lives when sleeping together would be inappropriate. But that is an individual decision for each family.<br><br>
Anyway, for the past several days, every thing has worked out!<br><br>
Thanks again and I appreciate your wisdom!<br><br>
Love,<br>
Nicole
 

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It looks like you got things figured out, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to add to the info.<br><br>
I have a 4-1/2 yo, who still sleeps right between me and dh (we can move her when she's asleep). She will not go to bed by herself... she sometimes falls asleep on the couch watching tv... but usually we have to lay down with her. She has always been high need girl. So, I think it's fine if she sleeps with dh until, well, I don't know how old, but at least 6-7.<br><br>
My daughter also loves tv (cartoons), but I have noticed that she uses it to help her stay awake. When I'm in charge of her bedtime, and she is having a hard time going to sleep, I have found that turning the tv to an adult show, or off entirely helps the situation. She protests a whole bunch, but somehow she can use watching tv just to keep her eyes open and awake. (my husband thinks the tv is supposed to put her to sleep, so we have a little situation with how much tv and when in our house right now; he even almost went out and bought her her own vcr and tv recently!).<br><br>
Little ones go through so many little development phases. Anything can interrupt their sleep. Just curious though; is anyone else in your family a very early riser? I've heard it is genetic.
 

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I'm so glad you got this all figured out.<br><br>
Just wanted to add that DD will be 5 in January and still co-sleeps w/DH & I at least part time. She usually falls asleep in our bed with me, then DH carries her to her bed when he comes to bed (per her request, this was a big step for her just the last couple months), and then comes in the middle of the night to sleep with us for the rest of the night. I'm totally fine with it and have spoken to many people with children older than this (4) still co-sleeping.<br><br>
I know DH would feel so happy to know DD wanted to cuddle with *him.* What a great solution for your family!<br><br>
Kay
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Things have worked out really well. I think that most of the problem was me! :) I was projecting my expectations onto her and i think that it was freaking her out a little bit. Things are going really well. She is sleeping with dh in the guest room and sleeping very well. Dh went out of town this weekend and I put her in her toddler bed and I woke up with the same problem as last time. I invited her into my bed and all was well. So, I just have to read her cues and quit trying to force my expectations onto her. She will sleep independantly when she is ready.<br>
The one suggestion that I am taking is to create a bedroom with a bed for her. Since at this point, sleeping with one of us or the toddler bed were her only options. So, soon she will have the option of her own bed but we will not force her to move.<br><br>
Thanks for checking back!<br><br>
Love,<br>
Nicole
 
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