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3 year old won't stay in bed


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#1 erindiv

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:20 PM

DD used to have a gate in her doorway to keep her in at night. Then I needed the gate elsewhere in my house, plus she took to standing at it and crying, so I took it away. It is now in my hallway near my bedroom to keep both kids out of my room.

All was well and good for several months. But now DD has started to refuse to go to sleep. We have the usual relaxing bedtime routine, she goes to bed willingly, says a cheerful goodnight, and I go to my room. There's usually a few minutes of quiet, then I hear her little voice calling me from the hallway. I take her back to bed. She cries that she doesn't want to go to sleep. She's thirsty. She needs the toilet. She wants to watch a DVD. She wants a book. She wants a bikkie.

I know she is well fed, tired and not thirsty. I tell her it's bedtime, go to sleep, goodnight. I leave the room. She cries. I tell her to be quiety, it's bedtime, go to sleep, goodnight. I return to my room. She gets up before I sit down again. This continues on and on, from her 7pm bedtime until well after 9, sometimes 10. Last week she was up until after midnight. She just wouldn't go to sleep.

I'm tearing my hair out. Usually she gets one nice goodnight and from then on if she gets up she gets a quiet scolding and sent back to bed. Tonight I tried saying nothing, just putting her back to bed and saying goodnight. She just screamed "Mummy! Stop it! Mummy!" every time I left the room. She is not scared. When she gets up she says she wants to play with my iPad, or play with my computer.

Tonight was the first time I counted how many times I had to put her back to bed.

7:00-7:30 - 33 times
7:30-8:00 - 20 times
8:00-8:20 - 12 times
8:20-8:30 - silent
8:30-9:00 - 10+ times (I stopped counting)

She is doing my head in. Nothing has changed in our household, nor at her father's household. She carries on so much that she wakes her brother, he ends up hysterical and won't go back to sleep so I'm dealing with two screaming kids.

I think she just wants to stay up and play, but I know she needs the sleep. If she stays up late she gets up early and is really cranky. If she goes to bed on time she sleeps well, gets up later and is a lot more cheerful.

HELP, please, I'm at my wit's end!

#2 Escapin

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:28 PM

Completely guessing here, but maybe it's partly because she's now old enough to understand time and really misses you when she's at her dad's house? Maybe she needs extra cuddles and to know that you're not going anywhere. Maybe she needs you to stay with her until she goes to sleep for a few days? Maybe she could read a book to herself after you leave the room? Sorry, all guesses! Hope you get it sorted out original.gif

I guess my main thought would be to try not to 'punish' her for not going to sleep, it's pretty much impossible to MAKE yourself go to sleep.

#3 belinda1976

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:35 PM

I would probably be inclined to just sit with her for a few minutes until she drifts off.  It's more than likely a phase and I've done it with my 2 at times.

Have you tried a sticker chart?  Maybe put one close to her bed so it's a reminder to behave.

Also does she have a night light - would she be afraid of the dark?



#4 liveworkplay

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:50 PM

QUOTE
I would probably be inclined to just sit with her for a few minutes until she drifts off. It's more than likely a phase and I've done it with my 2 at times.


This

#5 erindiv

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:53 PM

I have tried sitting with her. She just chats away continually and eventually ends up getting up and trying to make me leave the room, getting upset when I don't and we're back to square one.

I have given her a book (or several) to read in bed, but as soon as she realises she has to stay in bed to read them, she chucks a wobbly.

I leave the kitchen light on which keeps her room somewhat light.

I don't punish her but I will admit to getting pretty damn cranky after the first hour of running up and down the hallway. She has only just now gone to sleep for the night at 9:50. She used to be such a wonderful, trouble-free sleeper.

#6 Maple Leaf

Posted 22 January 2013 - 08:38 AM

She needs an incentive to stay in bed.

What's her currency? A certain new toy? I would definitely stoop to bribery for this one!

If she stays in bed for a week=gets the toy? And count down the days on the calendar? I don't know, it's a tough one.


#7 Mummaduke

Posted 22 January 2013 - 08:51 AM

My son does this too and I find a rewards chart with pictures (stick drawings) really helps.  So I draw pictures of him going to bed and sleeping all night and the a picture of a happy Mummy and whatever the reward is (trip to a play centre, new toy, pancakes for breakfast).  Then I draw 6 big squares for the 6 nights and get some nice big stickers of something she likes.  In the morning if she has gone to sleep without coming out of her room she gets to put a sticker in one of the big squares.  When all the squares are filled in she gets the reward.  If she comes out of her room, she gets one warning "Go back to bed darling, you don't want to miss out on a sticker tomorrow morning".
This is usually very successful in my house and always worth a shot I guess.

Otherwise there is the pop-in method where you put her to bed and say I will leave the door open and pop-in to check on you in one minute.  If you are in your bed then the door can stay open.  The first pop-in is after about 30 seconds so she's hopefully still in bed.  You keep repeating and putting a longer gap in the pop-in's.  Hopefully this reassures her that you are still around and will be checking on her so she doesn't need to keep coming to find you.  Ultimately the idea is that you will only need to pop-in after 5 minutes and then after that she will feel secure enough to go to sleep knowing you will be popping-in to check on her.

Good luck!

#8 zogee

Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:23 PM

You poor thing sad.gif we went through hell with my dd doing that. We used a gate too for a time but she ended up using anything she could find in her room to try and climb over it and it was unsafe. Plus she just stood at it and wailed. For ages. She'd also wake in the night eg 3/4 am and start playing in her room or come and continually disturb us mad.gif asking to be tucked in etc. We actually got a referral to a paed, then a sleep specialist. Initially we thought maybe she had sleep apnoea -she snored heavily and has enlarged tonsils- but she doesn't. It was pretty much all behavioural.
What worked for us was a firm routine, (eg: ONE story, TWO songs, toilet then stroke her back for 1 min then sleep time) using 3 mg melatonin tablets and staying at her doorway until she has drifted off to sleep. She's usually asleep within 5-10 mins.
Honestly her behaviour was so awful in the daytime when she was sleep deprived, it was a major contributing factor to my PND. I really feel for you, especially if you're a sole parent ( if I read that right?) she's now much much better and I don't dread night time any more. Hopefully you have a good GP and you can start with them. If its a medical issue (adenoids, sleep apnoea) or behavioural there is help out there! Hope that helps hheart.gif

#9 RealityBites

Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:27 PM

She's three. Close her bedroom door.

#10 erindiv

Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:32 AM

QUOTE (RealityBites @ 24/01/2013, 03:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
She's three. Close her bedroom door.


She just opens it.

#11 emwill

Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:09 AM

My 3 year old has only started staying in his bed just this week when I introduced a star chart original.gif The star chart was enough incentive for him to stay in bed. Another thing that really helps to to keep the room dark, no night lights, hall or kitchen lights, or even the glow of a light on a radio etc, Your room should be as dark as possible (you should not be able to see your hand in front of your face).  When light hits your eyes, it disrupts production of the hormone melatonin.  Studies have shown that even a small amount of light can cause a decrease in melatonin levels which can affect sleep, especially in children.

#12 erindiv

Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:12 AM

I live in an estate and there are street lights everywhere so unfortunately can't keep it pitch black. I have to leave a light on in the kitchen so she can find her way to the toilet at night.

I have tried a rewards system but when she gets up and wanders around she doesn't care about losing priveliges, even when I explain to her in the morning that she isn't getting her reward because she didn't stay in bed - she chucks a tantrum.

She has been a bit better this week as I have been exhausting her during the day but this isn't always possible.

#13 emwill

Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:20 AM

What about a blackout blind (or even a blanket over the curtain) for her room window and a torch the bathroom at night??

#14 blondie82

Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:26 PM

Hi OP,
I've just searched this section trying to find a solution to the exact same problem with my 3 year old DD - have you tried anything new as yet?

We have a pretty firm night routine with dinner, bath, bottle of milk in bed with one story and 2 songs sung. I then leave the room but she will inevitable get up and go and play in the playroom or she will climb into her sisters cot (they share a room). I have tried threatening with not doing something she wants (I.e. Going on a play dates, bithrday party's etc) but this seems to only work once then she's out of bed within the next 5 minutes and has a meltdown! She will stay in bed if I stay in the room with her but I really don't want to do this for fear of setting a rod for my own back IYKWIM.....



#15 Yomumma

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:30 AM

I don't think a reward system where a child has to wait a week for their reward is going to work for all three year olds..(Wouldn't for mine either).
My DS won't go to sleep without me either, I have to lay down next to him and pretend to go to sleep myself to get him down! Then I sneak out when he is asleep or more often than not I fall asleep with him then wake up later on and go to my own bed!!!

#16 podg

Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:02 AM

I pop in. Even a few seconds after I leave, and lots of praise for 'pretending to go to sleep'. It took a lot of popping in to start, and coaching as to how to pretend to go to sleep... but at 5 one visit is usually all it takes, and often we don't get to that visit.

She used to want to know what I was popping out to do. So I would invent something, or clean my teeth on the next room, or put away a couple of dishes. So she could hear me doing what I said I would, and be 'pretending' for a short time while I did it.

It worked to keep her in a sleeping type position for long enough to relax.

I would also start by staying with her, coaching as to how to get into a sleeping position, then work up to pop ins.

Good luck.

#17 mumandboys

Posted 01 February 2013 - 07:07 AM

I have this problem with all my kids, although nowhere near as extreme as what you are going through!

I come and check on them every 5 minutes, and praise them if they've stayed in bed.  Usually on the third check, they're asleep.

With my little two, I threaten to close the door if they won't stay in bed (mean, I know, but it works - they do not like the door being closed).

#18 BubblyGal

Posted 01 February 2013 - 07:30 AM

My parents faced this exact issue when I was about 3. They way the ended up having to deal with it is a well told family story...
My getting out of bed got so bad that one night Dad just picked me, put me back in bed, closed the door and held it closed while I screamed the house down. Apparently Mum was on the otherwise of the door crying because I was so upset, but Dad held the door until I eventually fell asleep.
Outcome - I never got out of my bed again.
Perhaps a little cruel at the time but it certainly didn't hurt me long term!
If you've tried everything else....

#19 podg

Posted 01 February 2013 - 07:41 AM

QUOTE (BubblyGal @ 01/02/2013, 07:30 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My parents faced this exact issue when I was about 3. They way the ended up having to deal with it is a well told family story...
My getting out of bed got so bad that one night Dad just picked me, put me back in bed, closed the door and held it closed while I screamed the house down. Apparently Mum was on the otherwise of the door crying because I was so upset, but Dad held the door until I eventually fell asleep.
Outcome - I never got out of my bed again.
Perhaps a little cruel at the time but it certainly didn't hurt me long term!
If you've tried everything else....


We tried that and 2 hours later she was finally asleep.
It was the same the next night and the next, and didn't cure the problem. Kids want to be connected mostly.




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